Augusta, GA (WJBF)- Thursday is the first day of the Masters Tournament. What better time than the start of the Masters Tournament, to explore the Augusta National’s rich history.
You may have driven down Berckmans Road many times but do you know anything about the family for which is it named?
The Berckmans bought Fruitland Nurseries in 1858.
Prosper Berckmans was a well known horticulturalist in his time. He became known as “The Father of Peaches” because he produced over 300 different types of Peaches.
The Berckmans and Augusta are much of the reason Georgia is now known as “The Peach State”.
“They were into creating some unusual but interesting plants. The family itself and what they were doing was actually front page news in the agricultural world. Both on a local but national and international level. So they were, they had product that wasn’t being done here before and may not have been growing here at all,” said Nancy Glaser, the Executive Director at the Augusta Museum of History.
Glaser said the land, already called Fruitland Nurseries was sold to the Berckmans by Dennis Redmond. The building now known as the Augusta National Golf club is widely thought to be where the Berckmans family live. But Glaser says that was their business and they had a Victorian House next door where they lived.
They became internationally known for the large variety and the uniqueness of plants they developed. The company distributed catalogs all over the world where people could order plants and seed to be shipped.
The family sold Fruitland Nurseries in 1925 to a developer, who planned to turn the property into a Winter resort. That never happened and he sold it to the Augusta National Golf Club in 1931.
Two of Prosper Berckman’s sons were brought in to help design the landscape at the Augusta National.
Fruitland Nurseries influence on gardening in Augusta is much of the reason for the nickname “The Garden City.”
The work the family put into their business and the land it was on contributed to the renowned beauty of the Augusta National today.
Photojournalist: Mark Gaskins