Lehigh Valley Rose Society, Active, Enthusiastic Group, Formed in 1947
When I started the process of forming the Lehigh Valley Rose Society in April of this year, I quickly discovered that there used to be a Lehigh Valley Rose Society. Originally, I only found an article from 1984 talking about a rose show and I could not find anything else.
Recently, I purchased a membership to "Newspapers.com" which has a lot of functionality in terms of being able to search for archived newspaper articles. I was so excited to find an article last night that talked about the formation of the original Lehigh Valley Rose Society and it gave me a date! October 17, 1947. I'm uploading an image of the article here, but I've also typed it up to make it easier to read.
The following text is from The Morning Call, Sunday, May 20, 1956 (Page 39):
"Lehigh Valley Rose Society Active, Enthusiastic Group, Formed in 1947"
"Plans are progressing for the fifth annual rose show of the Lehigh Valley Rose Society scheduled to be held at the Americus Hotel, Allentown, on Friday, June 1.
The society itself will observe its ninth anniversary on Oct. 17, and was organized by a small group of amateur rose growers at a meeting in the home of Emile P. Sissung, 1201 S. 10th St.
Then and there, this small band of rose lovers organized the Lehigh Valley Rose Society by electing the following officers: President, Atty. Robert L. Stuart; vice president, Paul N. Bachman, Northampton; secretary and treasurer, Emile P. Sissung. These men, all members of the American Rose Society, who had been growing roses for a number of years and whose gardens were show places, centered their efforts in building up the membership and exchanging ideas and information for the betterment of all amateur rose growers. Various speakers addressed the small group. Pruning demonstrations were also staged in their gardens.
In addition to the officers selected at this first meeting, among the first members were Mrs. Lloyd Anthony, Ray E. Banks, Lester Bechtel, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Fritsch, Atty. Charles G. Helwig, Mrs. Herman Meckstroth, John A. Schroeder, Elmer D. Schuler, all of Allentown; Elmer C. Bratt, H. E. Clark, Bethlehem; Mr. and Mrs. Albert O. Mohr, and Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Ebert, Coopersburg, Rev. Paul Rahn, Northampton, and Charles F. Moyer, Slatington.
Atty. Stuart, who had guided the organization through its early stages, asked to be relieved of his office as president because of other pressing duties, and Atty. Roy A. Raebuck, a new recruit in the Rose Society, was elected to the presidency in 1952.
In the spring of 1952, the Society planned to stage a Rose Show and on June 6 the first show was set on the first floor of the Pennsylvania Power & Light Company building, Allentown.
The show caught on from the start. The influx of exhibits was so great that the committee was swamped and found it difficult to cope with the situation. Willing exhibitors joined in to get the roses placed in their proper classes. It is a known fact that members of the Society who had prize roses to enter, never had a chance to display them, because of the rush of other exhibitors and the great amount of work involved to get them placed before judging time. The committee in charge of the show consisted of Atty. Raebuck, Atty. Stuart, Mrs. John Soveka, Emile P. Sissung and Robert P. Fritsch.
Through this Rose Show, and the publicity the Society received, the membership increased and there were more willing hands to help share the burdens of the second Rose Show on June 3, 1953, held on the first floor of the Lehigh Valley Division of the United Gas Improvement Co., Allentown. Atty. Raebuck again headed the committee.
Because of his intense interest in the Lehigh Valley Rose Society, and roses in general, he has been the general chairman of the committee for all subsequent rose shows, and largely through his efforts the Rose Shows have been a decided success.
The third Rose Show was again staged on the first floor of the Gas Company office building on June 10, 1954. This, too, was a grand success with over 450 exhibits. The men exhibitors stole the show.
The following year, on June 3, 1955, the Rose Show was moved to the lobby of the Americus Hotel, Allentown. There were more than 500 entries. The exhibits entered by the men rose growers were again outstanding. More stress was laid on the Rose Arrangement Class at this show, and it proved to be a big attraction.
For this year’s show, additional room for the proper placing of exhibits and Rose Arrangement classes will be provided, since a greater number of exhibits and arrangements are expected at this fifth annual affair.
Exhibitors need not be members of the Society and there is no fee required to place exhibits or arrangements. The Society, however, invites all rose growers to become members, for they realize that in numbers only can this interesting and fascinating hobby be carried on.
Next Sunday, the Society will sponsor a rose grooming and conditioning demonstration at the Banks Rose Nursery, 1035 N. Tacoma St., Allentown, at 2:30 PM. The proper method of preparing rose blooms so they will be in their best form to exhibit at the show will be explained. The public is invited.
To the late Robert P. Fritsch, who passed away suddenly last fall and who had been elected to the presidency in January, 1954, must go a lot of credit for bringing the Rose Society to its present membership and prominence in the community. In his honor, and as a memorial to him, the Society will this year for the first time, award a trophy to the exhibitor who has the best rose in the show, officially designated as “Queen of the Show.”
This trophy as well as the other trophies to be awarded, remain the property of the Lehigh Valley Rose Society, but may be retained by the winners until the next show, when they must be returned to the Society.
A plaque, donated by Mr. and Mrs. A. P. Guerrero, Riegelsville, members and boosters of the Society, will be awarded to the winner of the Robert P. Fritsch Memorial Trophy. This plaque becomes the sole property of the winner.
For the first time this year, trophies will also be awarded in the Arrangement Classes. For the best arrangement in the show, the Clarence G. Harman Challenge Trophy will be awarded. Other trophies to be awarded in the Arrangement Classes may be retained by the winners.
Additional trophies to be awarded are, The Robert L. Stuart Challenge Trophy, for the six best exhibition blooms of different varieties of Hybrid teas and the Mariton Challenge Trophy for the three best medium or dark red teas. The former trophy was presented to the Rose Society by fellow members of the Lehigh Valley Bar Association in recognition of Atty. Stuart’s continued interest and devotion to the Rose Society, and as its first president.
The Mariton Challenge Trophy was donated by Mr. and Mrs. A. P. Guerrero, to instill interest in the Rose Society and as a means of spurring other amateur rose growers to put forth their best efforts to produce bigger and better roses. The Harman Challenge Trophy, was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Harman, because of their great love of roses and flowers in general.
Some of the first members of the Rose Society still retain their membership and take an active interest and lend their support toward furthering their hobby. Their rose gardens are among the show places in the city.
It is interesting to note, that Mrs. Robert P. Fritsch, relieved the late Mr. Sissung of some of his duties early in 1951, when his health began to fail. She served as treasurer until the spring of 1953, when, at the passing of Mr. Sissung, she was elected secretary and Arthur Ebert, Coopersburg, took over the treasurer’s duties. They still retain the same offices. The remaining officers at this time, are, President, Elvin E. Raub; vice president, Anthony Pesola, Bethlehem.
Schedules for displaying roses and arrangements at the next show, which will be held in the lobby of the Americus Hotel, Allentown, on June 1 next, are being mailed to all patrons, members, and last year’s exhibitors. Others may procure them by contacting the secretary.
Atty. Raebuck again is chairman of the general committee. He will be assisted by Mrs. Horace Houghton, Bethlehem, chairman of the Rose Arrangement Classes and Albert O. Mohr, Coopersburg, who heads the schedule committee."
I am still looking for the date the original Lehigh Valley Rose Society ceased operations. The last "present tense" article I found was from 1997, so the original LVRS lasted for at least FIFTY years!