Fruit Industry – George H. Whiting Orchard

George H. Whiting

George H. Whiting

Fruit Industry of the Bayfield Peninsula

Excerpt by Harvey Nourse

Bayfield County Press – Friday, April 22, 1910 

Harvey Nourse was a keynote speaker at a gathering of Ashland businessman in the week prior to this edition of the Press being published. Here he states some interesting facts;

“Of course there were a few trees planted in Bayfield by the early settler and some of them have been bearing fruit for nearly 50 years. It was the fruit produced upon these old trees that demonstrated to the horticulturists the possibilities of fruit growing on the peninsula. But even with such authority as just mentioned very little was done until about five years ago when George H. Whiting, of Yankton, South Dakota visited our section.

Mr. Whiting is one of the largest nurserymen in the west and it was my pleasure to show him what fruit we had growing near Bayfield at that time. I never will forget his expression of surprise as we visited one place after another, and he often remarked to his companion that no living man could have made him believe what he had seen that date. It took Mr. Whiting but one day to make up his mind that he wanted to grow some fruit on the peninsula and he now has about 40 acres set to trees and will continue setting as rapidly as the ground can be prepared.

One after another followed Mr. Whiting and trees were shipped to our town in large quantities and last year they arrived in railroad car lots. About 40,000 apple and 25,000 cherry trees have been planted on about 400 acres planted to apples and 15 acres to cherries and plums. A few pear trees have also been planted. These trees have not been planted long enough to produce any quantity of fruit but from what trees have been planted previous years in the numerous gardens in town we are able to form some estimate of what our orchards will do and it’s not unreasonable to expect 10 acres of cherries planted five years to pay the grower $3000.


George H. Whiting’s Big Orchard near Bayfield

W.H. Holmes- Editor-Journalist

Ashland News in the Bayfield Progress – September 28, 1911

George H. Whiting of Yankton, South Dakota who owns the largest nursery in South Dakota is in Washburn and vicinity.  Mr. Whiting owns a tract of land along the bay shore between Bayfield and Washburn, where Pike’s quarry is located., which he bought three or four years ago with the intention of establishing a large orchard at that point.  He now has about 50 acres set out to fruit and is gradually increasing the fruit average from year to year. 

Mr. Whiting is a very prominent man in South Dakota, having been a member of the legislature there, but he is very enthusiastic about the fruit possibilities of this region, and he states that he does not know of any section of the country where fruit can be raised to better advantage than around Chequamegon Bay. The Omaha Railroad runs through Mr. Whiting’s 1200 acres and at the rate that lands in the region are advancing in price, in two or three years more this particular tract of 1200 acres will be and exceptionally valuable piece of property.  

This history brief was written by Robert J. Nelson. Generously sharing our local history through his research and writing.