Tuesday, September 26, 2000

Delhi history comes to life in video

By Rebecca Billman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        DELHI TOWNSHIP — Around the turn of the last century, Delhi billed itself as the “Floral Paradise of America.” Its truck farmers rose before dawn to load wagons with carnations, snapdragons and daisies, heading down Delhi Pike.

        They were bound for the Sixth Street market or the Jabez Elliott Flower Market, the only public market in the country that sold cut flowers exclusively.

        The brightly colored flowers were nurtured in glass and steel greenhouses that covered hundreds of acres in Delhi and Green townships.

        Their story is told in a new video, Under Glass: The Greenhouses of Western Hills,prepared by the Delhi Historical Society. A premiere will be held tonight in the Rapid Run Middle School auditorium.

        The 14 1/2-minute video combines historical footage of farmers and their families with interviews of third- and fourth-generation growers. They tell of the area's flower-growing history, from its beginning around 1870 to present.

        It's a story of hard work, family tradition and change. As the area became suburban, the number of greenhouses dwindled. The industry itself changed as flowers began to be imported from outside the country. Just more than a handful of florists are left here, and few grow for the cut-flower market.

        There are many lessons to be learned from the story of the flower growers — including local history and economics. The society has prepared a teacher's guide to accompany the video.

        “We had over 50 (flower growers) at one time. We're down to less than 10,” said Doris Zeiser, development director for the Delhi Historical Society. “We thought the children should know what happened to the industry.”

        The 150-page manual was written by Karen Regina, a history educator from Covedale, with help from local teachers. Lesson plans involve history, economics, science, social studies and language.

        The video was produced and narrated by Dan Hurley, historian and founder of Applied History Associates.
       head PREMIERE

        The premiere of Under Glass: The Greenhouses of Western Hills is at 7:30 p.m. today at Rapid Run Middle School auditorium, 6345 Rapid Run Road in Delhi Township.

        It is free and open to the public.

        The video is $10, and the teachers' guide is $15. Both will be available at the premiere or from the Delhi Historical Society headquarters at 468 Anderson Ferry Road in Delhi Township, noon to 3 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

        For information, call 451-4313.


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