Charles Frederick Irish Sr. - Arborist

418 Bratenahl Road
Charles Irish Sr.
Charles F. Irish Sr.

Charles Irish, with his home and office at 418 East 105th Street (Bratenahl Road), started the Charles F. Irish Company as a professional tree expert in 1912.  His brother Marmaduke (M. J.) was treasurer, and his father, William E., was secretary.  He first became acquainted with trees when he did chores for farmers in the East 105th Street area.

Charles Irish became the first Village Arborist on January 1, 1921, and held the office until 1960. His monument is everywhere in Bratenahl Village, and it was through his efforts that the Village Park was rearranged in 1935.

His long service as an arborist included caring for Bratenahl's famous cathedral elms. He planted trees at Shaker Square, the Cleveland Museum of Art, Severance Hall, Nela Park, and hundreds of private estates.

Mr. Irish was a nationally recognized authority in his field. His knowledge of the Dutch Elm disease and Oak Wilt disease was without equal.

The high regard in which the Cleveland Garden Center held Mr. Irish as a friend, citizen, and arborist was defined in a tribute when presented with a plaque on Arbor Day, 1959.  A specimen of the Irish Norway maple was planted in the Fine Arts Garden to recognize the community’s appreciation for his service to the tree care profession.

Irish was one of the founders and former president of the National Arborist Association and headed the National Shade Tree Conference and about every shade tree society in existence.

His habit of keeping an eye peeled for diseased trees led in 1930 to the unhappiest discovery of his career when he spotted a sickly American elm in the Chagrin Valley. He sent a sample to the Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station for analysis. The report came back as Dutch Elm disease, the first case to be found on American soil. The plague had spread undiagnosed from the East Coast. Not even Charles Irish could beat the disease. The fight for the queen of the shade trees was hopeless.

Charles Edwin Irish was born in England on September 2, 1891, to William and Alice Irish. His family moved to the old Glenville area when he was about five years old. Charles attended Bratenahl School and Glenville High School, where he was a noted baseball pitcher. After graduating from high school, he attended Ohio State University to learn how to be an orchardist but soon decided that shade trees were a better business than orchards.

Charles left Ohio State and volunteered for service with the U.S. Army in 1917. He was a member of the 112th Engineers, 37th Division of the Ohio National Guard during World War I, and saw action in four major battles.

Returning from the war, he attended the Imperial College of Science and Technology in England for about nine months. He returned home to resume his arborist business which he had started as a young man.

Charles married Lois L Minnick in 1924. They had three sons: Edwin, Charles Jr., and Richard.

Mr. Irish was a 32nd degree Mason and held memberships in dozens of horticultural agencies and park executive associations.

Charles died of a heart attack on November 20, 1960. His son, Charles Jr., continued to operate the firm. Lois died on February 5, 1983, and buried alongside Charles at Lake View Cemetery.