These gardens, displayed in the 1934 Chicago "A Century of Progress" World's Fair, gave Krider Nurseries nationwide prominence. After showcasing an immaculately designed garden as a promotion at the fair, Krider Nurseries brought parts of the exhibit back to this 2.4 acre plot of land. Closely resembling the original design, these gardens have been restored for future generations to enjoy. The display at the World's Fair costs approximately $10,000, but the investment yielded a 250,000 name mailing list of visitors to the Fair promotion. Using this list, Krider Nurseries grew into a worldwide mail-order business.
Founded as a two acre farm in 1896 by Vernon H. Krider, the nursery grew by 1926 into a 420 acre operation headquartered across the street from these gardens. For decades, Krider Nurseries was the largest industry in Middlebury, employing over 100 people. The offices, packing house, greenhouses, and salesroom (all built in 1923) are shown in the picture above at left, along with the original entryway to the gardens where you are now standing. The picture above to the right shows the World's Fair garden in the foreground, and some of the nursery's growing fields.
In 1924 Clarence Wesdorp, a nurseryman born and educated in Boskoop, Holland (world center of ornamental horticulture), was hired as plant propagator and general superintendent of the nurseries. Under the direction of founder Vernon H. Krider, his son Kenneth Krider, and Clarence Wesdorp, Krider Nurseries became one of the most diversified nurseries in the country. On the nursery's 420 acres, one-half million evergreens, shrubs, and trees, and over 100,000 hardy phlox were propagated annually. 165,000 rose bushes were contract-grown each year for Krider's wholesale and retail sales.
Among the items offered in the Krider Nurseries' "Glories of the Garden" catalog was "Festival", Krider's own patented thornless rose, which was the first of its kind in the nation and sold exclusively by Krider Nurseries.
This picture display was given in memory of Clarence Wesdorp by his wife Catherine, and children Cecilia Zubler, Karen Wesdorp, and Henri Wesdorp.