Page 320.321 - Henry Smith. No name perhaps claims a more honored place on the roll of those who have been influential in making Michigan floriculture what it is today than does that of Henry Smith, president of the Henry Smith Floral Company, of Grand Rapids. He has been identified with the herbaceous and floral work in Kent county for more than half a century, and has been largely instrumental in developing the widespread appreciation of this enterprise in the community. His gardens, nurseries and greenhouses, which are located near the western limits of the city of Grand Rapids, are the scene of horticultural and floral beauty, and is one of the most picturesque and best known places of its kind in the state of Michigan. Besides the companyís well equipped greenhouses on Bridge road, northwest, they also maintain an office and salesroom at 52 Monroe avenue, northwest, and are recognized as the leading florists in Kent county. Mr. Smith was born in Kent county in 1857, and is the only child of the late George and Sarah (Escott) Smith, pioneers of Kent county. His educational advantages were those afforded by the public schools of Grand Rapids, in which he continued his studies until his fatherís death, in 1874, when he quit school to assist his widowed mother in the operation of the farm, on which is now located the Henry Smith Floral Companyís greenhouses and nurseries. The flower-growing enterprise was founded by Mr. Smith and his mother, and during the later years of his motherís life he virtually had charge of the business. After his motherís death in 1910, he became sole proprietor and under his able management the business continued to grow rapidly. In 1921 the Henry Smith Floral Company was incorporated to properly handle the steadily growing trade. Henry Smith was made president of the corporation and has since served in this capacity. The other officers of the corporation are Frances L. Robinson, vice-president; William T. Sanders, secretary, and Josiah W. Brown, treasurer. The concern takes precedence over all other enterprises of its kind in Kent county, both in prolonged period of operation and in the scope and importance of business controlled and its status has long been one of prominence in connection with the representative activities of the country. For many years Mr. Smithís time and energy have been devoted to the building up of this great enterprise, and its present prosperity may be attributed in no small degree to his able management and untiring efforts. His career has been one of secure and consecutive progress, and in all his dealings his course has been marked by inflexible integrity and honor. Besides his connection with this corporation he is also interested in numerous other enterprises and his progressive spirit is evident in many ways. He is a stockholder in the American Box Board Company, the Browning Hotel Company, the Rowe Hotel Company and various other concerns. He also finds time and opportunity to give effective co-operation in movements for the social and material betterment of the community, and has ever stood as an exponent of the best type of civic loyalty and progressiveness. His efforts are not confined to lines resulting in individual benefit, but are evident in those fields where general interests and public welfare are involved, and during the many years of his residence here he has wielded definite and benignant influence, both as a citizen and as a man of splendid business ability. He is a member of the Grand Rapids Association of Commerce and of the Second Street Methodist Episcopal Church and the Young Menís Christian Association, and is prominent in both business and social circles.
Transcriber: Nancy Myers
Created: 12 March 2003