John A. Salzer Seed Company
La Crosse, Wisconsin
A timeline of the life of seedsman,
John A. Salzer and the company he created in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
1823 - John Adam Salzer was born in Dettingen, Württemberg,
Germany on December 28, 1823 to
John G. Salzer, a nurseryman and fruit-raiser.
[1, 10, 11]
1846 - Immigrated to the United
1849 - Married Wilhelmina
1866 - John Salzer the pastor
of the German speaking Methodist Church in La Crosse. He
served in this position until 1869. The early pastors of this
church also served the Chipmunk Coulee church, as it was part of the
La Crosse Mission.
It was reported that he delighted in
these jaunts into the country where he could see the fields of grain
and fruit trees. Many fields were planted with seeds purchased from
1868 - The "John A. Salzer Seed
Company" in La Crosse, Wisconsin is established.
1884 - "The collection of
plants owned by Mr. Salzer is estimated at $20,000 value and the
transactions of the house, which reach all over the United States,
will amount to over $40,000 per annum. This is the largest house of
the kind in the Northwest, outside of Chicago, and Mr. Salzer also
owns seed farms where he grows seeds for his large seed trade in St.
Vincent, Minnesota, and Bath and Groton, Dakota, also has control of
a small seed farm for growing celery, lettuce and beet seeds near
Sacramento, California. Handsome and complete catalogues of plants
and seeds have been prepared by Mr. Salzer, which can be obtained
upon application, German or English edition as desired. Since 1881
the business has been largely increased owing to the liberal use of
printer's ink. The high estimation in which this house is held has
been secured by the enterprise and liberality of the proprietor and
the superior excellence of the plants and seeds sold by him as well
as the skill and exquisite taste displayed in the arrangement of cut
flowers in various novel and unique designs."
1884 - In this year, he
purchased a family cottage in Minnesota that he named "Ferndale."
He and his family may have camped at that site in Minnesota for some
years before he purchased Ferndale as a summer camping ground and
retreat. Many guests also came to visit and the primitive cabin was
improved upon each year. [Note: Ferndale was destroyed in 1957 due
to the expansion of U.S. Highway 61.
1886 - The company is
1892 - On January 22, John A.
Salzer dies at 68 years and 25 days and is interned at the Oak Grove
Cemetery in La Crosse, Wisconsin, Section: 25 Lot: 727.
1892 - Henry Salzer, son of
John, takes over the management of the seed company and runs it
until his death in 1917.
1919 - First service of what
was to become the La Crosse Municipal Airport began on November 29,
on leased land that was was once a Salzer Seed Company cornfield.
Service was abandoned in 1922 but resumed in 1928 at which time the
city council voted to purchase the land.
1920 - As early as 1920, they
claimed that they were recognized as the largest mail-order seed
house in America. 
1922 - The company is printing
and distributing 1,000,000 catalogs per year.
1945 - The family sold the
1958 - The company is closed.
Wheel' (PI 645075)
of Perfection' (PI 44982)
Hometown History: La Crosse’s Salzer Seed Co. was once known
La Crosse Public Library
Salzer Family. Salzer Summer Home Scrapbooks, 1897-1898
Print Ad, 1920
Footsteps of La Crosse: A Journey Through Time & Architecture
"Die Nordwest Deutsche Konferens der
BischöflichenMethodistenkirche," Charles City, Iowa, 1913
Chipmunk Coulee Pioneers and their Early German Methodist Church
A History of La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1900-1950, Stanley N. Miller
La Crosse, Her Trade, Commerce and Industries: 1883-1884, pgs
of La Crosse County, Wisconsin", 1881, p. 789
Autobiography, John A. Salzer, 1869
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