John D. Spreckels, son of Claus and Anna D. Spreckels, has for a number of years co-operated with his famous father in the various enterprises with which the Spreckels name is identified, and his individual interests, especially those concerned with the Pacific steamship traffic, show that he has inherited all the financial and organizing ability of his father and is fully capable of assuming the responsibilities and carrying out the business policies which the senior Spreckels inaugurated.

Mr. J. D. Spreckels was born in Charleston, South Carolina, August 16, 1853. He was educated in Oakland College, California, and in the Polytechnic Institute of Hanover, Germany. On leaving school he at once entered business with his father, but in addition to the business interests which have been noted in the above sketch of his father, he has developed enterprises of his own. In 1880 he organized the J. D. Spreckels and Brothers, a company with two millions dollars capital, whose purpose was to establish a trade line between the United States and the Hawaiian Islands. They began with one sailing vessel, the Rosario; now they control two large fleets of sail and steam ships. This firm also engaged extensively in sugar refining, and became agents for leading houses. Much of the credit for the development of the trade and the promotion of the commercial interests between the United States and Hawaii is due to this firm.

In 1881 Mr. Spreckels founded the Oceanic Steamship Company, which at first chartered vessels, but now owns and operates a first-class line of mail and passenger steamers between San Francisco and Hawaii. In 1885 this company's operations were extended by the Pacific Mail Company's going out of the Australian trade, and now this company is the only one flying the American flag on a regular line between San Francisco, Honolulu and Australia, and New Zealand. Mr. Spreckels has been president of the company from the first, and in this connection has done much for the commercial interests of San Francisco.

In 1887 the Spreckels Brothers Commercial Company established in San Diego the largest coal depots, warehouses and wharves anywhere along the coast, the coal capacity being fifteen thousand tons. Mr. Spreckels holds much of the stock in the Coronado Beach and Hotel Company, which has one of the finest properties of the kind in the world. He is the owner of the street railway and ferry system of San Diego, and is connected with many other enterprises. He is president and active manager of the Olympia Salt Water Company, which has placed a system of water mains under the city, conveying salt water from the pumping station on the beach to the Lurline Baths in the heart of the city; in the building numerous small baths are maintained and an immense swimming tank is kept filled with salt water.

He is president of the Beaver Hill Coal Company, supplying coal to San Francisco from the mines in Oregon; was one of the founders and builders and now a director of the San Francisco and San Joaquin Valley Railroad, which is one of the most important enterprises undertaken for the local development of California; is manager of the extensive real estate holdings of the Spreckels family in San Francisco, comprising some of the finest office and business buildings in the United States; is owner and publisher of the San Francisco Call, one of the most successful and profitable newspaper properties in the west; is president of the Western Sugar Refining Company; president of the Western Beet Sugar Company; president of the Pajaro Valley Railroad Company and the Coronado Beach Company; is also interested in the Hutchinson Sugar Plantations Company and the Hakalan Plantation Company of Hawaii; and many other concerns.

Mr. Spreckels is an earnest Republican, and for a number of years has been one of the most influential in the councils of the party in this state. He has been chairman of the state central committee, and in 1896 was delegate at large to the national convention and California member to the national committee. He has often been mentioned for the office of governor or United States senator, but has never sought such distinction, and his desires all tend toward private life and caring for his business interests.

Mr. Spreckels married, in 1877, Miss Lillie Sieben, of Hoboken, New Jersey. They have four children: Grace, Lillie, John D., Jr., and Claus.

Return to Biographies Index

Return to California AHGP home page

Return to Sacramento County AHGP home page