Also: "Klehm Nursery".
Established 1862 by John Adam Klehm, who moved from Germany to Arlington Heights, Illinois in 1852. Of his sons, Charles Klehm was a charter member of the American Peony Society in 1903. He planted the first peony fields in 1916. In 1946, the Company was renamed Charles Klehm & Son, when Charles' son Carl G. Klehm joined as a partner. In the 1960s, the nursery moved from Arlington Heights to South Barrington, Illinois. The Arlington property was sold in 1984. Until 2004 Carl's son Roy G. Klehm managed the operations. In the winter of 1999/2000, the field s in Champaign were closed and all peonies moved to Klehm's Song Sparrow Perennial Farm
in Wisconsin, operated by Roy and his wife Sarah.
[From the "Chicago Tribune", June 14, 1992:] Perfecting the Peony
[From the "Chicago Tribune", December 10, 1998:] Lois Klehm
[From "BIOH: Biographies in Ornamental Horticulture", by Laurence C. Hatch, 2006-11:] Klehm, John and Carl - German-born nurseryman (later Charles Klehm and Son Nursery, Illinois, est. 1852), working at first with evergreen. They later took up Paeonia after admiring Crousse's fine cultivars at the Chicago World Fair (1899). They became America's largest cut flower producer of peonies, having 200 acres for cut flowers and root production at one point. They took up breeding in the 1950s, offering a fine double pink called 'Emma Klehm', named for Carl Klehm's wife. Carl continued the work with the Estate Series of Paeonia, the first of that genus to earn US Plant Patents. These were colorful, floriferous, durable, garden-worthy, and strong-stemmed clones in general, useful also for cut flowers, true to their early breeding goals.
[From "Chicago Gardens: The Early History", by Cathy Jean Maloney, 2008, Appendix 3:] "John Adam Klehm (1834-1916) moved to Buffalo, New York, in 1851 as a teenager with his brother and widowed mother from Germany. Moving to Arlington Heights, he bought an acre of land on the corner of present-day Miner and Davis streets. He worked as a bricklayer until he took a job grafting cherry trees, which he found to be much more profitable than the brick business. In 1862, he started a nursery business and orchard on 9 acres of land he'd originally bought to grow potatoes. This nursery expanded to 147 acres and was in use for about 50 years; ultimately it was sold to developers of the Scarsdale subdivision. Klehm's three sons, Charles, George, and Henry, all entered the family business upon reaching the age of twelve. With the second generation of nurserymen, the Klehm family started to diversify. Charles Klehm started his own 50-acre apple orchard on land ultimately sold to become the Arlington Park racetrack. Other nurseries and orchards soon followed, including a seven-hundred-acre farm in Barrimngton and land in Rockford. Charles became a specialist in peonies, a hallmark of the Klehm family today."
[From "The Chicago Tribune", October 30, 1973:] "The estate of Carl G Klehm, head of the Charles Klehm & Son Nursery, 2 E Algonquin Rd., Arlington Heights, was estimated at #21 million yesterday as a petition for letters of administration was filed in Probate Court. Atty. Frederick Capetta, representing Continental Illinois Bank & Trust Co., and Klehm's widow, Lois, named co-executors under the will, made the estimate and said nearly all the assets are land, most of it used by the nursery.
The widow, according to the will, is to receive personal property and she and their three sons, Carl Jr., Roy, and Arnold, and their daughter, Mrs. Kathleen Marinangel are willed different parcels of the land. Klehm died Oct. 22 at age 57."
Charles Klehm and Son Nursery:
1978: 14N771 Sutton Road, Barrington, Illinois