BERNARD P. WAGNER
president of the Wagner Park Conservatories Company, and vice president of the Wagner Manufacturing Company, both very important enterprises of Shelby county, is one of the solid, reliable and representative men of this section of Ohio and belongs to a prominent family of the state. He was born at Sidney, O., February 1, 1865. and is a son of Mathias and Anna M. (Rauth) Wagner. Considering the world-wide fame that the name of Wagner has brought to Sidney, it is interesting to know that Mr. Wagner was not only born here but secured his educational training here also, attending both the public and parochial schools, and proving an apt and attentive student. His entrance into business life was when he assisted in the organization
of the well remembered department store known as the Wagner Arcade, which was located in the building which is now occupied by the Wagner Hotel. He was interested in the establishing of the factories of the Wagner Manufacturing Company, of which he has been vice president since the company was incorporated, and from that time until 1900, when he was instrumental in founding the Wagner Park Conservatories, he devoted all his time and attention to the manufacturing business. This is the most extensive manufacturing plant at Sidney and its wares find a market in every part of the civilized world. The products are aluminum cooking utensils and employment is given to more than 300 workmen. The Wagner Park Conservatories at Sidney were
started in 1900, the main mover in this great enterprise being Bernard P. Wagner, whose natural gifts as a landscape gardener and whose inherent love of flowers had been marked from boyhood. When the present company was incorporated, with a capital of $100,000. The following officers were selected: B. P. Wagner, president and treasurer; W. H. Wagner, vice president; and H. L. Brown, secretary, and these officers, with M. M., L. R. and J. F. Wagner and A. M. Brown, make up the board of directors. In the newly erected office building particular attention has been given to the admission of light for drafting room purposes and to the conveniences and comforts which modern business men enjoy in their surroundings. The
greenhouses have 15,000 square feet of space under glass and a modern hot water system of heating is employed. In these greenhouses are found palms, roses of all varieties and other tender plants, not only grown but in many cases originated here. The growing fields are over 100 acres in extent and here flowers, shrubs and trees of all varieties are cultivated for the market, in the busy season seventy-five men being required to attend to the cultivation and shipment of these. The landscape department of the business is a very important feature and the taste and skill of landscape experts from this company have not only many times been employed in laying out the beautiful grounds for some of Sidney's handsomest residences, but persons in every state of the Union have also profited by the service of these experts. A visitor to the park will immediately become interested in one of the recent additions to its attractions, the arboretum, where every species of shrub and tree that can be grown in this locality will be grown for display. Evergreens and plants, flowers and shrubs from all countries, France, Germany, Holland and
Japan. There has already been planted over 300 varieties of evergreen, 600 varieties of shrubs and 250 varieties of trees. This arboretum extends the width of the grounds and doubles back,
following the west park boundaries. Another unusual and interesting feature is the Isle of Nippon gardens. Mr. Wagner's own idea was followed out in the formation of an artificial lake containing islands, and the building of a real Japanese garden, in which Nippon flowers, many having been imported direct from Japan, are grown. Should a native of that far off, beautiful land visit this park and stand before the typical Japanese gate built of logs and catch a glimpse of the placid lake within, and surrounded with winding walks and rustic bridges, he could not fail to express pleasure and wonder at the faithful reproduction that has been made. To Bernard P. Wagner the credit must be given for the inception and subsequent development of this remarkable business. Mr. Wagner married Miss Jennie Freschard, of Owensville, O., and they have three children: Jerome, Bernard and Elizabeth. They have a beautiful home, their handsome brick residence being located on North Walnut avenue, on an eminence overlooking Sidney, Mr. Wagner completing its construction in 1895 and placing it in the center of a well kept park. Its outside attractions harmonize with its inside adornments for Mr. Wagner and family are people of culture and artistic tastes and their surroundings give evidence of the same. Perhaps no private collection of paintings in this part of Ohio have more value than those Mr. Wagner has hung on his walls and not only enjoys himself but, with justifiable pride, exhibits to other lovers of real art. Artists of world-wide fame have painted the following pictures which he considers the choice of his collection: "Dutch Bargain" by Jane M. Dealy; "The Little Housekeeper" by Ridgeway Knight; "The Canyon Trail" by H. F. Farney, the great artistic portrayer of Indian life; "Highland Sheep" by William Watson; and "Loch Lomond" by Alfred De Breanski. While his private interests are so absorbing, including the enterprises above partially described, and in addition having large real estate holdings at Sidney, where he has erected at least 100 handsome residences, Mr. Wagner still finds time to perform all duties of good citizenship, taking a particular pride in the good name of his native place. He is not, however, a politician in the real sense of the word. He was reared in the faith of the Roman Catholic church, and is a valued member of the Catholic organization, the Knights of Columbus. To some degree, also, Mr. Wagner is engaged in literary work, having contributed to magazines and published a book entitled "Landscape Gardening for Amateurs," which is found in many a home where flowers are loved and successfully cultivated. He has given his name to a certain method of landscape gardening which has become a standard and may be thus briefly described. The Wagner method means the treatment of the selected land in a pictorial way with large effects; flower borders and masses, shrubs and plants being introduced in such a way as to add to the repose and simplicity of the whole, harmony of color being especially studied, unsightly outlooks being obliterated, vistas being formed and illusions being manufactured by art.