Friday, January 25, 2008

Bohemian Club

From: Charles W. Jenner

The Bohemian Club was formed in San Francisco in 1872, composed of newspaper writers and artists (they possibly imagined themselves as "bohemians"??). It was a San Francisco Club. Later, businessmen join club. I don't really imagine the Big Four as being original bohemian clubbers. I doubt that they were considered San Francisco Businessmen. Camping trips led to the establishment of Bohemian Grove. Non-San Fransciscans were invited to the camp as guests. Probably right – the Big Four were too busy running a railroad.

—Charlie Jenner

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

9 Comments:

Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Online info regarding the Club:

Rails Around the Bohemian Grove. By David F. Myrick. San Francisco: Bohemian Club (Printed by L. and A. Kennedy), 1973. 39p.

(1) Full text free access online.

(2) Notes: "This special edition has been prepared for presentation to the members of the Bohemian Club at the 1973 summer encampment."

—Paul Garwig

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

1/25/2008 9:27 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: kylewyatt@aol.com

Note the forward by Ben Biaggini – who at the time was the President of Southern Pacific.

—Kyle Wyatt

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

1/25/2008 9:28 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: Charles W. Jenner

... By 1973, the Southern Pacific headquarters was well established as a San Francisco "icon." The S.P. executives were certainly considered San Francisco businessmen eligible for the "Club." But how about the Big Four? Were they considered San Franciscans when the Club was being developed or even after? I have no idea. How did the Hotel Mark Hopkins come about? Crocker Bank? How did the Big Four fit into San Francisco society after their success in railroad building? Once again this year, the Big Four were passed over for admission to the "California Hall of Fame," the pet project of the California Governor's wife. Building the Transcontinental Railroad which opened up California to the rest of the country is not enough to qualify. They are still being discriminated against. Billie Jean King, a tennis player, is in the California Hall of Fame – one of the first members picked by "Mrs. Arnie" [California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's wife, Maria Shriver].

—Charlie Jenner, Los Alamitos

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

1/25/2008 9:29 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: Charles W. Jenner

... I also see that in 1885, a Mr. Redding was named President of the Bohemian Club. He was a Southern Pacific Railroad attorney. Was he in the Club as an attorney, or as a railroader??

—Charlie Jenner, Los Alamitos

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

1/25/2008 9:30 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: kylewyatt@aol.com

I don't specifically know about Bohemian Club membership.

Of course, during most of the time is wasn't technically the Big "Four". The name "Big Four" is a 20th century name – they referred to themselves as "The Associates."

During the 1860s I'd add attorney EB Crocker, Charlie's elder brother. He stepped out in late 1869 after suffering a stroke (he survived), and went on to create the collection that became the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento.

Mark Hopkins died in 1878, having never moved in to his mansion then under construction, althogh his wife used it. The present hotel is on the site of the mansion, I believe. Somehow he doesn't seem the Bohemian type.

Charles Crocker died in 1888 – a big presence in San Francisco. He had plenty of kids (as did EB Crocker). His younger son, William H. Crocker, was interested in being a banker so Charlie founded the Crocker Bank and hired an experienced banker to teach WH the ropes. WH Crocker remained a major presence in San Francisco until his death in 1937 or so, having on the side helped found the Sierra Railway with his brother-in-law, Prince Andre Poniatowski, and promoter TS Bullock. Crocker and Poniatowski were also involved in early electric power, with WH on the board of Pacific Gas & Electric (among many other boards he served on, including the Yosemite Valley RR). The Crocker family finally sold the bank to Wells Fargo in the mid 1980s, after having sold the Sierra RR in 1980.

Leland Stanford died in 1893. He served as a US Senator from California from 1885 until his death. He and his wife, Jane, founded Stanford University as a memorial to their uoung son who died.

Both Crocker and Stanford seem likely possible Bohemians.

Collis P Huntington died in 1900. He spend most of his time in New York, so was probably rather less active in San Francisco circles. His nephew, Henry Huntington, might have been a Bohemian in the 1890s while he was in San Francisco, before moving to Southern California around 1901.

—Kyle

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

1/25/2008 9:30 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: Wendell Huffman

Kyle's account of the Crocker brothers (Charles and Edwin) of Central Pacific fame inspires me to relate something of the much more obscure Benjamin R. Crocker (1827-1900), "teamster" to the CP during its construction and the railroad's purchasing officer. Occasionally in contemporary references it was said quite directly that he was in no way related to the Crocker brothers, but I think there is more to that story.

In two different places it was told how during the dark and lean months of the Central Pacific's early construction, when the company was dead broke, he saved the company by giving it all of his money. Hopkins himself apparently went to B.R. Crocker in the middle of the night with hat in hand. Crocker, it is said, opened his safe and offerend all he had to Hopkins. Hopkins asked if he wanted a note, and Crocker said "no": If you succeed you will pay me back; if you fail the note would be worthless anyway (paraphrase).

Some research discloses that B.R. Crocker was in fact a seventh cousin (if I remember the number correctly) to Charles and E.B. Crocker, but I suspect a closer relationship between the mothers. Charles and E.B.'s family moved to Indiana from New England, as did B.R.'s family. In Bancroft's account of the life of Charles Crocker, he recounts that when Charles left home he went to live with the family of a clergyman. I suspect this to have been B.R.'s father Peter Crocker, a failry famous minister in Indiana. I believe that B.R. and Charles Crocker crossed the plains to California in the same wagon train.

Another Crocker kin who was involved with the Central Pacific was one John B. Wright (1851-1903). Wright was superintendent of the Sacramento & Placerville, and from 1882 to 1902 was superintendent of the Sacramento division of the CP. I have never been able to resolve the exact relationship between him and the Crockers. An obituary made him a nephew to the Crockers through his mother, though in fact, Charles and E.B.'s mother – not a sister – was a Wright. Still, the Crocker's were a large family and very involved with the railroad.

Since I have been asked the question by various researchers, I should mention that I am not to my knowledge related to C.H. Huffman, who was partner with Charles F. Crocker in the Crocker-Huffman Land and Water Company of Merced, California.

—Wendell Huffman

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

1/26/2008 9:19 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: Charles W. Jenner
Subject: Huntington

... Vern Waight mentions Henry Huntington, who was Colis P. Huntington's nephew. Henry Huntington was from New York State, but was first and foremost a Southern Californian. ... Henry Huntington is immortalized in Southern California by two cities named for him: Huntington Park and Huntington Beach – both of which were served by his electric lines.* Also, the long, wide, curving Huntington Drive through San Marino which once paralleled the Pacific Electric Glendora Line. And, of course, the beautiful Huntington Gardens, Library and Art Museum, which are "musts" for any visitor to [Los Angeles].

Henry was the "father" of Pacific Electric, but few realize that he sold his share of P.E. to Southern Pacific in 1910, and was out of the interurban railway business. Henry did take over the Los Angeles Railway at that time (1910) in a deal with Southern Pacific known as "The Great Merger." Henry kept the urban LARy streetcar system and spent time with real estate interests, art and other cultural interests. The "Glory Days" of the Big Red Cars were under Southern Pacific ownership. This did result in a gradual shift to freight-only lines and more buses on the highway instead of rail passenger service. By 1930, P.E. was on a downhill course just like other S.P. electric lines. ...

*Stephen Ambrose mistakenly credits the names of these two towns to Colis P. Huntington.

—Charlie Jenner, Los Alamitos

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

1/27/2008 6:02 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: kylewyatt@aol.com

When CP Huntington died in 1900, his nephew Henry E. Huntington expected to succeed his uncle as SP President. When the Eastern bankers who controlled the SP Board of Directors passed him over and selected someone else (from outside the SP system), Henry was very miffed. This created the opening for EH Harriman (with help of intermediary Edwin Hawley, a friend of Henry's and later President of the MKT and other companies – after Hawley died in 1912, Henry Huntington ended up with Hawleys private car). Harriman was able to purchase the Huntington family holdings of SP stock, and subsequently also most of the stock of the other Associates heirs – the Stanfords, Crockers, and Hopkins/Searles (Hopkins' wife remarried a "gold-digger"). Thus it came as a great surprise to the Eastern bankers when Harriman emerged with a controlling block of SP stock, and control of the Board. (Side note – Harriman purchased most of the SP stock through the UP subsidiary Oregon Short Line)

Meanwhile, Henry Huntington took his money from the SP stock sale and left San Francisco, moving to Los Angeles (where he had already been dabbling in electric railways). In addition to his SP interests, Huntington also (separately) sold his interests in the San Francisco streetcar system he had put together in the 1890s (one of a succession of Market Street Railroad companies) which was then reorganized as United Railways of San Francisco. So it is out of HE Huntington's loss of the SP Presidency that he went south to ultimately form the Pacific Electric. (Years later, he sold the PE system to SP – well after Harriman had died and the UP left the scene under Supreme Court order – and Julius Kruttschnitt, whom Huntington had worked with under his uncle, was President of SP.)

Another sidelight. When Henry Huntington moved south, his wife declined to leave the social scene in San Francisco for the provincial hinterlands of Los Angeles. They divorced. Henry subsequently married CP Huntington's widow, Arabella (CP's second wife, and much younger than CP). One should probably view this marriage of Henry and Arabella as a "dynastic union." CP Huntington had split his estate between Henry and Arabella. The marriage reunified the estate, and the financial power it represented.

—Kyle

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

1/27/2008 6:03 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: Charles W. Jenner

... Henry Huntington ... was the subject of many newspaper articles and cartoons. ...

One more reminder of Henry Huntington still exists in downtown Los Angeles – the massive nine story "Huntington Building" built in 1905, which housed the offices and terminal of the Pacific Electric Railway. Even into the 1950's, this was still a busy terminal with red cars and buses leaving and arriving from various sites in Southern California. For years, this was the largest building West of the Mississippi River, and was later known as the Pacific Electric Building. I recently went on a tour of new housing in downtown L.A. One part of the tour was the "P.E. Lofts" in the still impressive Pacific Electric Building. Seemed like a maze of rabbit warrens in the old building, but they are being turned into modern living quarters. ...

—Charlie Jenner, Los Alamitos

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

1/28/2008 2:38 PM  

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