Our Heritage

Five Generations of Nurserymen
  • 1865

    The Onarga Nursery Company was founded in 1865 by Robert Blaine Cultra upon his return from the Civil War. He walked on foot through the rural areas and the fledgling communities selling strawberry plants, raspberry plants, and fruit trees. In the tradition of Johnny Appleseed, he tried to trod every dusty path and byway for nearly twenty years. Each year the business grew a little larger and his reputation as a good nurseryman increased.

  • 1895

    The two sons of Robert Blaine Cultra, Archie J. and Harry Blaine, entered into the business. The company began to grow so rapidly that horses and buggies were added to facilitate the covering of a larger area.

  • 1912

    Robert Blaine Cultra died and was interred in the Onarga Cemetery. The business was carried on by his two sons.

  • 1921

    A wholesale nursery was started in Rives, Tennessee in partnership with a third brother Edwin Cultra. This was first called North Star Nursery, and later the name was changed to the "Morning Star Nursery."

  • 1926

    Harry Blaine Cultra retired from active partnership due to poor health.

  • 1934

    In June, a fire totally destroyed the office and the storage building. The Onarga Nursery Company was at this time the third largest nursery in the United States. It was at this time that Harry Blaine Cultra sold his interest in the business to Archie J. Cultra. A long and valuable partnership had been dissolved.

  • 1945

    Archie J.Cultra retired because of failing health. After fifty years of faithful service, his heart and soul were still with the nursery business. R.R. Cultra, eldest son of A.J. Cultra, now managed the nursery.

  • 1947

    Archie J. Cultra died on August 7, 1947, and thus departed one of the nation's greatest nurserymen. Along with his brother, Harry B., he made a strawberry patch into one of the nation's leading wholesale nurseries. The business now went to the two sons of Archie J., R.R. Cultra and Duane B. Cultra.

  • 1952

    R.R. Cultra sold his interest to Duane B. Cultra, making him majority stock holder and President of the company. A third son, H. W. Cultra, continued on as a landscaping representative.

  • 1963

    In 1963, H. W. Cultra resigned his position as landscaping representative, selling his nursery shares to Duane B. Cultra, in order to devote full time to other business interests.

  • 1971

    Shane and P. Terence Cultra entered the business with their father, this making the fourth generation to actively participate in the Onarga Nursery Company.

  • 1975

    P. Terence Cultra left Onarga Nursery Company to pursue other horticultural interests.

  • 1978

    Specimen Shade Tree Nursery was purchased in Parma, Michigan.

  • 1987

    Country Arbors Nursery was established in Urbana, Illinois.

  • 1992

    P. Terence Cultra purchased Country Arbors Nursery from his brother Shane Cultra.

  • 1994

    Donna M. Cultra joined her husband P. Terence Cultra in Country Arbors Nursery and assumes the role of Secretary-Treasurer of Country Arbors Nursery.

  • 1995

    T. Shane Cultra joined his father P. Terence Cultra, thus becoming a fifth generation nurseryman.

  • 1998

    T. Shane Cultra assumed responsibility for the management of the Retail Division.

  • 2004

    The Development of a Wholesale Division was begun which will specialize in the production of container and field product.

  • 2004

    Josef C. Cultra joined his father P. Terence Cultra, brother T. Shane Cultra and Donna M. Cultra in Country Arbors Nursery, thus becoming the second fifth generation nurseryman in the business.

  • 2005

    T. Shane Cultra assumed the responsibility of Chief Operating Officer for Country Arbors Nursery. His father, P. Terence Cultra continues on as President/CEO.

  • 2009

    Land is purchased in Onarga Illinois to open Cultra Nurseries. A growing operation to supply material for Country Arbors in Urbana.

  • 2016

    Elizabeth Cultra, daughter of Shane Cultra, works part-time at Country Arbors making her the 6th generation to participate in the nursery.