Members at Large
Organize a New Club
Gardening From Heart
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
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