1870 - 1938

J. Franklin Meehan

John Franklin Meehan was born in Pennsylvania. In 1896, he and two brothers, Thomas B. Meehan and S. Mendelson Meehan, joined their father's business, forming Thomas Meehan and Sons, a successful nursery and landscape-gardening operation with facilities in Germantown and Ambler, Pennsylvania, not far from Philadelphia. When their father, Thomas Meehan, died in 1901, the three sons continued the business, which enjoyed a strong reputation and eventually became one of the largest and most significant nurseries in the nation. Rather than focusing on European varieties, the nurseries specialized in North American trees and shrubs and were the first in the United States to do so. Among the firm's important projects were plans for a garden at the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park, New York, and the English Garden at the Cummer Museum of Art in Jacksonville, Florida. In 1907, Meehan and several friends opened a golf club called Edge Hill Country Club, a nine-hole golf course which Meehan designed and built on land that he owned. He eventually specialized in golf course design, working on several courses in Pennsylvania, Upstate New York, and Florida. The Forest Hills Country Club in Tampa, Florida, designed by Meehan in 1925, is today called the Babe Zaharias Golf Course. In 1916, the Thomas Meehan and Sons was dissolved and the assets were divided among the three sons. J. Franklin Meehan continued to operate the Germantown location of the business. An avid sportsman, he was a member of the Pennsylvania State Sportsman's Association and the Pennsylvania Forestry Association. Meehan died in Pennsylvania and is buried there in Boehms Cemetery, just north of Germantown.