Wisconsin Historical Society In the early twentieth century, it was a risky undertaking to dream of a greenhouse and flower business in a northern logging and lumbering town like Rhinelander. Peter Philipp not only dreamed about it, he successfully built one of Rhinelander’s oldest downtown businesses. Forth Floral on North Brown Street is a mainstay of downtown Rhinelander and one of the area’s oldest family-owned businesses. It has been providing plants and flowers to Northwoods residents for over a century and has a distinguished history. Peter Philipp, the founder of what is today Forth Floral, was born in the small nation of Luxembourg in 1869, which was only two years after the small country had secured its independence from French and German control. The lands between France and Germany, even then, were known for flower cultivation, and as a young man Philipp apprenticed as a florist. He married Lena, and together the couple immigrated to the United States. They worked their way to Wisconsin and initially settled in Wausau, but in 1898 Peter and Lena moved north to make Rhinelander their permanent home. Their daughter Julia was born there in 1899. Three of Philipp’s four brothers also came to America. Mike Philipp made Wausau his home, while James and John Philipp settled in Milwaukee. One brother, Joe Philipp, remained behind in Luxembourg. In 1900, Peter and Lena opened Rhinelander’s first small flower shop and greenhouse. It was called Phillips Greenhouse. This was a risky undertaking as turn-of-the-century Rhinelander was still very much a logging and lumbering community, and rough woodsmen of that time were not exactly known for purchasing bouquets of flowers. The early years of the business were difficult, to say the least. A devastating fire severely damaged the original greenhouse, and in 1911 Peter Philipp attempted to […]