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en's Garden Clubs  
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A PROUD HISTORY OF SERVICE
TO AMERICA'S GARDENS

In 1927 an engineer, named Leo W. Nack, entered and won an annual garden contest sponsored by a Chicago newspaper.  The resulting publicity made his 45 x 60 foot garden a center of attraction and many gardeners came to see and admire his garden.  He observed that many of the admirers were men who seemed to have a keen interest in gardening and as a result of this interest he led the formation of a Men's Garden Club on March 15, 1928.  So far as we know, this was the first Men's Garden Club and Mr. Nack was the first Club President.

Word about the Chicago's Men's Garden Club filtered through the Midwest and by late winter of 1930, three more clubs had been formed in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, Des Moines, Iowa, and Aurora, Illinois.

On September 25, 1932 a convention was called to organize the Men's Garden Clubs of America.  Bill B. Lathrop of Aurora, a moving force for the formation of a national organization, was the temporary chairman. Harold J. Parnham of Des Moines was the temporary secretary.  Also attending were John Gustafson, Arthur Brownwell, James K. Burdett and Oakley V. Morgan from Chicago.  Ernest Koenemann and Don White came from Ft. Wayne and Robert S. Gerrick and Alfred Hottes represented Des Moines, Iowa.

The next day, September 26, 1932, the Men's Garden Clubs of America was born.  The first national president was Alfred C. Hottes.  Bill Lathrop was the first secretary and James K. Burdett was the first treasurer.  Gustafson, Koenemann, Morgan and Parnham were the first directors.

In 1933 and 1934 national conventions were held in Chicago.  In 1935 Ft. Wayne hosted the event and in 1936 the members met in Cleveland.

Through the balance of the Depression years the organization grew at a rate of up to 10 clubs each year.  When the World War II years came along growth became irregular.  At the end of the war, a new interest was signaled when eleven new clubs were chartered.

Annual conventions continued and by 1960 twenty-seven clubs were added.  The interest continued to grow with gardeners actively dedicated to increasing productivity of their home gardens, improving the beauty of their communities and enhancing their environment through gardening.

To reflect the growing diversity of gardening and of our members the Men's Garden Clubs of America became The Gardeners of America/Men's Garden Clubs of America in 1992.  TGOA/MGCA welcomes and urges both men and women - everyone who loves gardening - to join.

Today one finds TGOA/MGCA all across America - in large cities, suburban areas, and in towns of every size - wherever there are gardeners.

From the seed planted by Leo W, Nack in 1928 TGOA/MGCA has grown to one of the finest gardening organizations in America.  The permanent headquarters, locate in Johnston, Iowa, is a fine tribute to those who did so much and gave The Gardeners of America/Men's Garden Clubs of America , the blueprint to the future of good gardening.

No other organization promotes home gardening on the scale that The Gardeners of America/Men's Garden Clubs of America does.  We're propagating good gardeners and good gardening ideas.
                                      We invite you to join us!

Note: Above History from the 2001 TGOA/MGCA information pamphlet.

 


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