The Hawks Nursery Company was founded in 1875 by Charles Hawks, Sr. and Theodore Ferguson as an agency business selling plant stock (largely fruit trees, shade trees and shrubs) to farmers and area residents, as well as to people in the newly forming cities of the Midwest. By the late 1800’s, there were over 200 Hawks sales representatives who traveled the country by horse and buggy or rail, in order to visit their customers once or twice each year.
The depression years of the 1930’s forced Hawks to look to other sources of business than just the growing and shipping of stock. Thus, the addition of ornamental landscaping services helped the firm to grow financially. Through the 1940’s and 1950’s, many acres of land were sold, as the work in the contracting division continued to grow. In the 1950’s John Orton and Jim Bennett joined the company, bringing new ideas and ushering in a new era at Hawks.
In 1993, Joseph Kresl, a prominent area landscape architect, purchased Hawks and proceeded to implement major changes in the day-to-day operations of the business and the range of services offered. Today Hawks is the areas leading landscape design, construction and maintenance firm in the Milwaukee area.