The Story of Thieman's Greenhouse
By Merlyn Amidei - with many thanks to Doris (Thieman) Duckworth
Thieman's Greenhouse, located on North Missouri Highway 63 across from the Missouri Department of Transportation in Macon, was built by Bert Thieman in 1934. He had worked at his parent's greenhouse in Moberly, Missouri, and he also had two brothers and a sister involved in the flower business. The greenhouse opened on March 29th and according to the records, a total of $7.10 was sold that day. That included a $3.50 funeral spray for the Miller Family, ordered by Elmer Gieselman, a well-known Macon businessman.
Bert's living quarters for himself, his wife Pauline and their children Corky and Doris were right there in the greenhouse and flower shop. Doris says the kitchen was a separate room at one end of the basement. On the upper floor was a large icebox which contained cut flowers. The ice was obtained from the Macon Creamery. Behind the icebox was the workbench where the bouquets, corsages and funeral sprays were arranged. Behind that was the family living room, and on the floor above the bedroom was a walk-in closet and bathroom.
After the birth of their third child, Barbara (Butch) in 1936, an additional bedroom with a basement was built onto the east side of the living room. The new basement was used as the coal room. However, if the icebox was full and the furnace was not in use, cut flowers would be stored there.
Thieman's Greenhouse was known not only for bedding plants, house plants and cut flowers, but many vegetable plants were also raised and sold for Macon gardens. Some were sold at the greenhouse while others were sold through the grocery stores. A large family garden was planted west of the greenhouse building and rows of gladiolus and dahlia grew next to the highway.
At first they rented the vacant lot to the south of the greenhouse, but later they purchased it. It served as their pasture and was home to a cow, some chickens and two hogs named 'Pork' and 'Beans'. Long after the Thieman family moved to their new house on Jackson, Pauline kept the chickens around for many more years.
In 1940 they purchased the property adjoining the greenhouse property immediately to the west from Lena Smith. At that time it was 1022 Jackson Street and is still known by the family as Ten Twenty Two. Billy and Diana Bealmer now own that house.
Washing pots was a summer chore most Thieman cousins had in common. Except the ones sold with plants, the red clay pots used in the greenhouse had to be washed to be used again. The pots were kept soaking in a large tub of water that was warmed only by the sun. Pieces of burlap bag served as their washing cloths. The cousins do not remember that as a very pleasant chore, especially when the water was cold.
In 1948 Thieman bought the Macon Golf Course and the property to its north from Theodore Gary. The golf course was then renamed Thieman Field. In 1959, Thieman sold the golf course to the Macon Country Club - who still operates it today - but kept what Gary called 'the fish lake property' and they built a small cabin there. It burned down but was rebuilt. The original log cabin that was used as the golf club house was also moved to the same area. Thieman continued to enjoy fishing, tending his flowers, doing woodworking and making many things of rock. Many of those items can still be found on the grounds.
Bert Thieman died in 1980, Pauline died in 1983, and Corky passed away in 1990. The greenhouse had been sold in 1964 to Billy and Marge Binder and is now owned by Charley and Marge Stow. The southeast corner of the pasture is where Doris and her husband Buddy Duckworth built their home in 1952. The garage on the property was constructed with the wood from the old Central School when it was torn down. Barbara has lived in Alabama for many years but returns every year for the family reunion. The 'fish lake property' is also still in the family and enjoyed by all the Thiemans.