Luther Burbank was born on March 7th, 1849. Amazingly, he had only an elementary school education. Despite this lack of formal training, he developed over 800 strains of fruits and vegetables.
The Burbank Potato was probably the most famous of these. It was resistant to the potato blight that had devastated Ireland. Because plants were not patentable until 1930, Burbank sold the rights to his miraculous potato for $150.
He used this money to move to Santa Rosa where he made his home for over 50 years. Most of his breakthroughs occurred in the 4 acre garden adjacent to his house. His contribution to California Wine Country history was also significant. He introduced many new crosses and advanced the science of viticulture.
In 1896, Burbank was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. In 1960, Burbank’s home was registered as an historic national landmark. The grounds underwent through a major restoration in 1992. Admission is currently free to the public.