Wilmore Dahlia Gardens 'Dahlmore'

Address: 7600 W. 38th Ave., Wheat Ridge, 80033

William Wallace Wilmore was born in Laurel, Maryland, in 1861. The family moved to Colorado in 1873 and lived in Valverde, gardening and selling their produce in the city. Seven years later they moved to Wheat Ridge on West 26th Avenue. In 1883, W.W., as he was known, had the responsibility of taking over the vegetable wagon route and marketing the produce. He had developed a "very creditable flower garden" in their front yard and added cut flowers as a sideline to his vegetable business. Folklore says he was Denver's first flower peddler. In 1884, W.W. went on his own and purchased 10 acres on Wadsworth Boulevard and Prospect Avenue (West 38th). He built a frame, two-room house and in 1886 married Josephine Ely whom he had met at the Wheat Ridge Lyceum. In 1892 they built s seven room, two-story home with a wrought iron arched gateway that proclaimed DAHLMORE, W.W.'s specialty. At the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, W.W. staged a dahlia exhibit that was awarded first prize. At this time Wilmore first published his Dahlia Catalogue, the first in the United States. In 1907, W.W. wrote and copyrighted THE DAHLIA MANUAL. The first printing of 1500 copies and the second edition of 2500 were "dispersed rapidly." The business expanded in 1924 and became W.W. Wilmore Nurseries. In 1926, his sons, Scott and Charles, became partners. Scott eventually became the sole owner and in 1957 hired Steve Driftmier as general manager. Driftmier purchased the $1 million business in 1972. In 1986, the 100th anniversary was duly observed and the Driftmiers gave the city of Wheat Ridge a $3,000 check and established the W.W. Wilmore Centennial Garden on the City Hall grounds. In 1989 the nursery closed and the business was transferred to the Wilmore Garden Center in Littleton, Colorado.
Quad Map/Date: Arvada, 1965 (1980)
Sec/Town/Range: S23, T3S, R69W
Elevation: 5450
Source: Wilmore, "History of W.W. Wilmore Nursery; Wilmore, "Wheat Ridge as I knew it in 1880," pp. 3-5; Wheat Ridge Historical Commission, "Histor y of Pioneer Wheat Ridge and Biographical Sketches".
Last Modified: Wed, August 17 1994

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