William G. Scarlett and Company
The Eccentric Scarlett Family and the Seed Trade
In 1894, George D. Scarlett founded the William G. Scarlett Seed Company. Born in Baltimore in 1873, George D. Scarlett was a true entrepreneur who chased the American dream. At twenty-one, George Scarlett began working in the seed industry by “importing seeds from various parts of the world and exporting dried apples." Under the management of George Scarlett, the company expanded its inventory; selling grass, grain, and bird seeds. A Baltimore Sun article stated that “his [George Scarlett’s] business mushroomed principally through his own efforts and at one time was the largest east of the Mississippi River." Although the William G. Scarlett Seed Company expanded opening branches in other cities, Baltimore remained the company headquarters.
The Scarlett Seed Company remained in the family as George D. Scarlett passed over the company reins to his sons Raymond G. Scarlett and William G. Scarlett. As eccentric as his father, Raymond Scarlett was not only the company president, but also a badminton champion. An adamant badminton enthusiast, Raymond Scarlett founded the junior national badminton championship tournament. William George Scarlett succeeded his brother Raymond in running the company. Following in the unique footsteps of his father and brother, in addition to managing the family business, William Scarlett joined the Army Counter Intelligence Corps, also known as the CIC, during WWII.
In the 1980s, the city developed the original Scarlett Seed Company building into retail space, office space, and condominiums. Today, the Scarlett Seed Company Property is now known as Scarlett Place, paying tribute to the bird-seed businessmen.