Roethke Floral Co.
Greenhouses & Poetry
"I ran behind him every day
He walked our greenhouse land."
- Theodore Roethke, American Pulitzer Prize winning poet
Theodore Roethke's father and uncle operated the William Roethke Floral Company, which opened in 1874. At its peak, in the early twentieth century, the company had a massive greenhouse complex on Gratiot Ave. and three retail stores -- two in Saginaw and one in Bay City.
The Roethke family owned about 25 acres of property on the southwest corner of Gratiot and Larch. At its peak the greenhouse complex covered 250,000 sq. ft.
Thanks to the greenhouses the Roethkes could grow a wide variety of flowers. During the coldest of Saginaw's winter months, they advertised carnations, roses, sweet peas, violets, lilacs, and much more.
The greenhouses closed in 1936, and scrap parts were advertised for sale by 1937. The property was sold and subdivided in 1939.