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CHRONOLOGY: Luther Burbank's Life

posted Jan 11, 2012, 12:32 PM by Western Sonoma County Historical Society   [ updated Jan 16, 2012, 6:12 PM ]

March 7, 1849: Born in Lancaster, Massachusetts to Olive Ross Burbank, the third wife of Samuel Burbank.

1864‑1867: Attended Lancaster Academy

December 1868: Death of Samuel Burbank

1869: Moved to Groton Junction (now Ayer Junction) with his mother, his sister Emma, and his younger brother, Alfred.

187l: Bought seventeen acres at Lunenberg, Massachusetts, and commenced market farming.

1873‑1874: Built the Burbank potato

October 1875: Sold all Burbank potatoes with the exception of ten tubers for $150; left by train for California; arrived in Santa Rosa and joined his brother, Alfred, who had been working as a carpenter.

Late Fall 1875: Visited his brothers, George and David, at Tomales

December 1875: Walked to Petaluma where he found work in the W.H. Pepper Nursery.

Spring 1876: Returned to Santa Rosa where he worked as a carpenter and as an evening nurseryman on a rented plot on Tupper Street just east of the garden.

Summer 1877: Olive and Emma Burbank arrived in Santa Rosa, where Olive Burbank bought four acres and a house at Tupper and E Streets for $2,000. Burbank moved in and began his nursery career.

March 1881: Burbank agreed to provide Warren Dutton with 20,000 prune trees by the fall planting season and rented five acres south of Santa Rosa Creek to plant almond seedlings necessary in the project. Project succeeds, truly starting his career as Plant Wizard.

August 1881: Burbank bought 2.8 acres of Olive's property for $800.

March 1894: Burbank bought two lots in George Woods' Addition for $300.

April 1884: Lost a bid for a City Council seat
1884: Began experimenting with plums.

September 13, 1884: Burbank bought the four acres in Freeman's Addition on which the house and garden stand for $2,000.

1884‑1885: Moved into the frame house where he lived until late fall 1906; Olive Burbank and Emma Burbank moved in with him

June 1885: Burbank purchased the balance of Olive Burbank's Tupper and E Street property for $1,200.

December 1885: Burbank bought eighteen acres west of Sebastopol and established the Experiment Farm.

April 1888: Burbank sold portions of his nursery and stock to R.W. Bell, but retained the Sebastopol farm and the olive and nut trees.

September-November 1888: Burbank returned in triumph to Massachusetts and visited Washington, DC.

Sept. 23, 1890: Burbank married Helen Coleman in Denver, CO.

1892: Elected as a Republican to the Library Board

June 1893: Publication of New Creations in Fruits and Flowers

1896: Divorced Helen Coleman Burbank

1901: Appearance of the Shasta Daisy

1904: Award of $10,000 per annum grant from Carnegie Foundation

1904: Visit of Hugo de Vries, Professor of Botany in the University of Amsterdam

April 1906: Earthquake damaged the house but not the greenhouse.

1906: Training of the Human Plant appears in The Century Magazine

Late Fall 1906: Burbank moved into his new house at Tupper and Santa Rosa Streets.

1907: Publication of book The Training of the Human Plant

March 7, 1907: Dedication of Luther Burbank School in Santa Rosa

1909: Death of Olive Burbank, Termination of Carnegie Grant

1915: Visit during Pan‑Pacific Exposition of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Harvey Firestone

Dec. 21, 1916: Married Elizabeth Waters in San Francisco.

1923: Santa Rosa celebrated Burbank's Golden Jubilee.

January 1926: Burbank's address in San Francisco on religion

March 24, 1926: Suffered heart attack in Santa Rosa

April 11, 1926: Burbank died shortly after midnight and is buried beneath the Cedar of Lebanon near the old house.

April 14, 1926: A crowd 5,000 attended services in Doyle Park.

1927: Elizabeth Burbank moved into the renovated house where she lived until her death in June, 1977.