|Birth: ||Nov. 29, 1896|
|Death: ||Oct. 19, 1993|
Aquaculture Industry Pioneer. Greenberg was the first person to successfully open and operate a tropical fish farm and aquatic plant nursery in the state of Florida. It became a $60 million aquaculture industry. He raised tropical fish in dirt ponds and aquatic plants in concrete vats and from that an industry was born. Mr. Greenberg came into the world in 1896 aboard a British ship in the Black Sea and was registered as a U.S. citizen at the American Consulate in Odes'ka, Ukraine. He was raised in a family of avid gardeners, and his father was a fish farmer. He attended public school in Chicago, Illinois. When World War I broke out, Mr. Greenberg dropped out of college and enlisted in the Navy. After the war he became a traveling salesman and it was this endeavor that led him to the state of Florida. With Florida's mild climate and abundant water, Mr. Greenberg figured it would be the perfect place to raise fish and plants for the burgeoning aquarium industry. He went hunting around Tampa for property and discovered just the spot to start a tropical fish farm which was 80 acres with 11 crystal-clear, free-flowing springs to serve as his water source and it is now known Eureka Springs. By 1930, Mr. Greenberg had opened Everglades Aquatic Nurseries at Eureka Springs and was digging fishponds by hand until he saved up enough money to purchase a mule to help him dig the ponds. He built greenhouses with concrete tanks to house both plants and fish. In his outdoor ponds, he raised blue, black, red, and gold platies; green and gold swordtails; paradise fish; rosy barbs; and black mollies, among others. His indoor tanks included Buenos Aires tetras, Siamese fighting fish, and dwarf and thick-lipped gouramis. Traveling around the world made it possible for Mr. Greenberg to add to his collection with some beautiful and unusual aquatic plants to propagate and sell such as: Amazon swords, Madagascar lace plants, Eel plants, and many species of Cryptocoryne. Mr. Greenberg introduced many new varieties of aquatic plants to the aquarium, including hybrids he developed on his own farm. In addition, he developed new more efficient shipping procedures for aquaculture products. His collection of rare fish and plants drew botanists and ichthyologists from around the country; they found the nursery to be an ideal laboratory. Mr. Greenberg even built a special guest house on the property to accommodate the scientists during extended visits. Although he never married or had children, his employees became his family and when he retired he gave his business and a large portion of his property to five of his most valued employees, fish and plant specialists that had been working along side him for decades. He donated another portion of his land, 31 acres including the 11 springs, to Hillsborough County for a public park and botanical garden. Over the years he had filled the area with exotic plants, creating a beautiful, rainforest-like garden for his own enjoyment. Today, Eureka Springs Park remains a haven for unusual flora. It boasts the largest public collection of ferns in the state, rare varieties of bromeliads and orchids, an extensive trail system, and a 1,700-foot boardwalk. Mr. Greenberg passed away leaving no descendents but an entire industry to remember him and a county to be thankful for his generous donation and also to remember his pioneering creativity, his extraordinary drive to succeed, and his generous philanthropy. He mentored many young aquaculturists and not only gave them wise advice but also gave them the fish and plants necessary to get their own start in the business. Mr. Greenberg was the first person inducted into the Florida Tropical Fish Farms Association Hall of Fame, and many plant varieties are named for him.
Eureka Springs Park
Maintained by: HISTORY
Originally Created by: Jim Weiss
Record added: Jun 16, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 27591343