Dale Bergquist was born June 2, 1918 in Shickley, Nebraska. He was the oldest of three sons. As a boy he began growing poppies-a passion that inspired him to start his own nursery business as a teenager. After his service in the U.S. Army during WWII--receiving the Bronze Star for his bravery and meritorious service--Dale decided to pack his bags and move to California for its entrepreneurial opportunities and a vision to create a better life for himself and his family.
The entrepreneurial spirit of the Bergquist family can be traced back to the 1870's, when many early Swedish emigrant settlers came to Bryant Township (later named Shickley), Nebraska. Among them was the Bergquist grandparents in hopes to better their lives. The small farming community of Shickley, with a population of 429 in 1910, gradually saw opportunistic changes brought about by the railroad tracks that was built across town. Businesses began to spring up and people started to move into town below the tracks. The Bergquist family jumped on this opportunity and went from farming into running a retail general store among other side businesses. Shickley history books recalls Charles Bergquist among the first to establish a garage with the advent of automobiles.
The driven spirit seen in Shickley, Nebraska all those years ago was the same spirit seen in Canoga Park in 1946. There were some similarities between the towns of Shickley and Canoga Park in the early years. Both were mostly agricultural land and were small developing communities that thrived off of railroad tracks that ran through town. Canoga Park differed slightly because California was the land of opportunity at this point in time. The Los Angeles Aqueduct brought new life to dry agricultural land in the San Fernando Valley. Real estate developers were building new tracks of homes as new industries developed and demand for housing grew.