Here’s looking south and a little east to the Queen City Florist Co.’s verdant nursery at the southwest corner of Union Street and 13th Avenue. The Florist’s names were John and Sophia Holze. Most likely they are standing at the gate, bottom-center, posing for the unnamed photographer. (We speculate on whom the photographer might be in the “then” caption.)
The couple – John, 36 and Sophia, 21 – had a June 22 wedding in Seattle 1898. John was thirty-six and Sophia twenty, which was John’s age when he first immigrated to the U.S.A. in 1883. It is, I think, probable that the German couple’s nuptials were conducted in German. Sophia’s parents emigrated from Germany, although she was born and raised in Wilson, Kansas, a railroad town with its own enclave of Pennsylvania Dutch, and so also a German-speaking community. The mid-west was then well stocked with them. (Leaning on the analogy and evidence of the Dorpats and my mother’s family, the Christiansens, all my mid-western grandparents spoke German and/or Danish more comfortably than English.)
In 1909, about seven years after they opened their nursery, the Holze’s ran a classified in The Times seeking “Girl for General Housework; two in family; German preferred, 1223 E. Union.” In the 1910 federal census, Emily L. Taylor is listed as living with the Holze’s, but at age 57, the “cook and servant” Emily was hardly a girl. Herman Andrews, the 63-year-od “laborer, gardener,” also living with them, was also born in Germany. Keeping track of the Germans on Union Street, the “wage worker” Ernestine Mohr, age 62, and listed in the 1920 federal census, was born in Germany and naturalized here. Like the widower Andrews, Mohr was a widow.
In 1912 the Holze’s added a store to their nursery: a “nicely fitted glass structure.” The Florist’s Review for Nov. 14, 1912 reported, “The company has the satisfaction of knowing that the place is now thoroughly up-to-date. The stock is all looking first-class … and everything is in condition for a large business.” And as it grew the couple and their flora did well. In 1905, soon after they moved into their Union Street quarters, John served as assistant secretary for the Seattle Florist Association’s flower show, which, the Times reported, was not only an artistic success, but paid for itself.” It was Seattle’s first big flower show, and The Times concluded that it went a long ways towards proving something “not to be so … the flippant saying that the men and women of Seattle are so busy making money that they have no time for the finer things.” Meanwhile Sophia did the accounting.
For their first adventure after retiring the Union Street enterprise in 1927, the German-American couple vacationed in Germany. Sophia was 49 and John an appropriate 65. They stayed involved. From the 1929 Northwest Florist Association Show they won first prize for Maroon Carnations.
ACROSS THIRTEENTH AVENUE
WEB EXTRAS – Anything to add, lads? Yup Jean. Thirty-four featured links from the neighborhood loosely conceived, and whatever they hold of other links. Surely many of these will be familiar to our most dedicated readers, who I imagine accept my mother’s wisdom – which we repeat again and again – that “Repetition is the Mother of All Learning.”