Keeping the bright spots of the works bright is Jim Ganley’s job. Jim is the works gardener and his handiwork is in evidence everywhere. Flower gardens, lawns and shrubbery come under this expert eye and hand and as a result the works has one of the fairest names of any among the company’s plants. Spotted here and there are bits of flower gardens and lawn on plots of ground not occupied by buildings or equipment of some sort and during the week, Mr. Ganley may be found any day, tending his charges with tender care and skill developed by a lifetime of gardening.

Be it known that Mr. Ganley is no ordinary gardener. No indeed! For 20 years and more he traveled for the famous house of Manning Brothers of Boston supervising the planning of innumerable large estates. Some of these big jobs included the estate of T.M. Davis at Newport, R.I., covering eight acres and where Mr. Ganley remained three years. The estate of George Von Meyer, Secretary of the Navy under Theodore Roosevelt, and countless others came under his careful planning.

A native of County Sligo, Ireland, Mr. Ganley learned his trade on one of the old time Irish estates.

Later he went to Scotland and in 1890, May 28 to be exact, he sailed for the United States. Landing in Boston, June 8, he went to work at Tufts College where he cared for the gardens of many professors. It was then he made contact with Manning Brothers and spent 30 years with them. In 1913 he came to Berkshire County, settling in Richmond and in that year entered the works. He quit his gardening for a time and worked in the Fan Motor Department. After a time came the call again through an invitation from a special committee appointed to beautify the grounds. So it was then Mr. Ganley took up his gardening tools and started in to make the works more than just a manufacturing plant.

First plantings were near the foundry and since then garden spots have sprung up all over the works. There’s the lawn and shrubbery just north of Building 16, the lawn and flower bed just west of Building 18 near the B & A tracks, the tulip bed near the works laboratory, the shrubs near the scrap and salvage department and so on.

Mr. Ganley’s hobby is rose growing. At his home, 108 Brown Street, he has a climbing American Beauty rose bush which covers an arbor 12 feet square. Mr. Ganley loves his job and while he could, without doubt command high prices for the work he does, he prefers the simple life.

This Story in History is selected from the archives by Jeannie Maschino, The Berkshire Eagle.

Community News Editor / Librarian

Jeannie Maschino is community news editor and librarian for The Berkshire Eagle. She has worked for the newspaper in various capacities since 1982 and joined the newsroom in 1989.