Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bodger & Sons Seed Company

Bodger & Sons Seed Company
John Bodger circa 1930’s
 By Richard Cortez
Wednesday, 14 September, 2011
In 1916 El Monte had the biggest seed company in the United States. It was called Bodger & Sons Seed Company and located on Tyler Avenue. The main building still stands today and is now an electronics distributor. John Bodger arrived in California from England in 1890 and settled in Gardena, California, where he started the seed company. The Bodger family had been in the seed business for many years in England and John Bodger continued on in California. John Bodger lived in Pasadena and was getting tired of the drive to Gardena, so he came to El Monte and bought some land, well, a lot of land to be exact. The land he bought in El Monte was north of his main building and as far south to where Legg Lake is today. There were fields where the El Monte High School stands today, and included the Tony Arceo Park, the senior center and El Monte Historical Museum.
The Bodger Seed Company on Tyler 1920’s


Behind his warehouse was a huge field where he would grow zinnia’s and market a special zinnia he called Dahlia-Flowered Zinnia which won a Gold Medal from Britain’s Royal Horticultural Society. As the popularity of Bodger's seed business grew, seed companies would come to his farm to learn his growing techniques.
Bodger truck circa 1940

During World War II John created a huge US flag on his field using his red, white and blue flowers to reproduce the flag. In the mid 1930’s John Bodger leased the land on Tyler for a new high school and civic center for $1.00 a year. The Bodger Seed Company closed down their company after being in business for 100 years.

5 comments:

  1. The "El Monte Flores" street gang centered in El Monte got it's name from the Bodger flower fields many years ago.

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  2. I can not see the pictures, can you upload them again?

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  3. My mother's family lived on the Bodger property in the early 1930's as my grandfather was employed as a flower tender. Years after my mother married my dad, we moved to Cogswell Road in 1961, ironically, a few blocks away, where I was raised and where my mom resides today.

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  4. I worked for Bodger seeds in El Monte for over 10 years working in the warehouse working in shipping and receiving and being a gardener myself, I learned a lot and had beautiful gardens and brought flowers to work.

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  5. It is my understanding Bodger seed company moved operations to the mid-West for a more favorable tax climate. Had no idea they ceased operation entirely.

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