While working a Research Library shift I took a telephone inquiry about this question. Initially poking around the library’s vertical and family files, I found nothing. Bobby, a reference librarian at the Monroe County Public Library, steered me to their “highways and roads” vertical files and I found a page copied from the Monroe County Family Heritage 1987 book, detailing Theodore (Pete) Ellis’s life.
From 1921 Pete’s parents, Robert and Nora, operated greenhouses in the 1200 block of E 2nd St, with nine buildings plus the family home, all of which were destroyed by fire in 1935. They also established a retail flower shop at 304 E 5th St.
Pete owned the Ellis Greenhouses on two acres at 3001 E 3rd St from 1936 to 1963, the year of his death. They were located in the area of the present Williamsburg Village shopping mall. The Family Heritage book contains the following details about the business:
[It] consisted of two greenhouses (150 ft by 48 ft), three smaller greenhouses, a workroom with a walk-in cooler, office and a boiler shed. A used locomotive boiler, stoker fired, supplied coal heat. In the 1950’s an oil-fired furnace with automatic controls, was added. Later, plastic houses and outside concrete beds were built.
The greenhouse business was discontinued in 1965. As the area north of 3rd St was developed, new streets were built, including Pete Ellis Drive, which first appears in city directories in 1970. The family’s Ellis Floral Shop was moved to 416 S Washington St, but was sold to new owners in 2012, ending 91 years’ participation in the business by four generations of Ellis’s.
Post Submitted by Lee Ehman (Research Library Volunteer)
1. Monroe County Historical Soceity Book Committee. Monroe County, Indiana Family Heritage 1987. Bloomington, IN: Monroe County Historical Society, 1987.