The man behind the name 'Garden City'

John Gipner made Niles "The Garden City"

"Old John is dead … at the ripe old age of ninety-five…but the fame he brought to Niles lives on … and will for some time we suspect."

The preceding transcript was a portion of a news item carried by WNDU-TV when John Gipner died at his 921 North St. home at 1:45 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, 1957, after being ill for about a year. The words were also used in a special edition of the Niles Daily Star in 1961 celebrating its role in the city.

John Gipner was the kind of man everyone wanted to know.

The Star article described him as one who looked "as if he had just stepped out of a book of German fairy tales." Fairly short, with a long, white flowing beard and tiny spectacles, Gipner was born in Germany on June 24, 1861 and came to Michigan in the 1890s.

Click here for the full article on the Niles Daily Star website

Published April 18th, 2009