Gardener Creates Novel Treetop Menagerie
That’s an impressive bit of work, particularly for a guy who was then 63 years old!
I found this bit of info on Mr. Prucha via usgennet.org; it looks as both his sons have since passed away (and Mr. Pruch himself died just a few years after this article), but there may be a grandson, Walter Jr., still living? I hope he knew about his grandpa’s brief claim to fame!
Vincent Joseph Prucha, son of Joseph and Tina (Volenec) Prucha, was born in Bohemia, Chechoslovakia (sic), August 14, 1871. His father who was born at Kutna Hora, Bohemia, November 11, 1844, is a cabinet maker. His mother, who was born in Chechozlovakia (sic), died there in 1873.
From his earliest years Vincent Prucha spent most of his time in his father’s cabinet factory, and was taught the trade. At the age of 17 he came to America, and upon arriving in New York learned the cigar business. In 1893 he opened a cigar factory with his uncle, Louis Prucha, at Perry, Oklahoma, and on July 1, 1894 opened a factory at Crete, which he still operates.
He was married to Francis Sedlacek at Wilber, Nebraska, May 21, 1896. Mrs. Prucha was born at Crete, December 15, 1872. They have two sons, Otto, born February 19, 1897, who is associated with the Addressograph Company at Denver; and Walter, born July 10, 1900, who married Nellia Morris. He is a machinist with the Union Pacific Railroad at Omaha.
Mr. Prucha is an outstanding citizen of Crete, where he is active in civic and community affairs. His main hobby is the training and trimming of trees, and rock garden work. He is an excellent landscape artist, and his home at Crete, Nebraska, is filled with beautiful examples of his art, particularly evergreen trees which he has trained and shaped in the forms of animals, birds, etc. His home is on one of Nebraska’s main highways, and those traveling past it, throughout the Middle West, pause to admire it. Residence: Crete.
This sort of sculpture from plants is known as “topiary”, a word I had to look up in the dictionary when I first encountered it in the computer game Zork.
From what I can tell and what I am told from my neighbor Mrs. Rice the trees were very nice. She told me he had different area for different things. One area had a cage with a concrete bear in it and one area had a pond with a mermaid. It is sad that over the years everything has been torn out. When we bought the house in 2008 there was nothing left but a tall tree in the back yard. If you look hard enough you can tell where things were in the yard though. The last of the trees and pond were taken out when somebody built a duplex on the empty lot next door. Now instead of it having nice trees and ponds it is a party house for Doane students.
Cody Meredith » Thanks for that Cody. Here are some pictures showing the “menagerie” in relation to the house in a 1947 Life magazine.
I just purchased that life magazine and I am trying to find the modern mechanix with the article in it.
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