|Name||Crocker, Charles Templeton|
Charles Templeton Crocker, grandson of the railroad magnate, was not very interested in the family businesses. As a man about town, some may have seen him as a rich playboy, but there really was much more to him than that.
He was orphaned in 1897 with the death of his father. His mother had died ten years before. His maternal grandmother, Adeline Easton, had reared him and his two sisters. He graduated from Yale and went on to become a member of all the social clubs one would expect a Crocker to join. He especially enjoyed writing, acting and producing plays that were performed by the exclusive Bohemian Club at their all male retreats among the redwoods. It is said he excelled in the female impersonation parts. Published copies of his plays are still available, along with an opera he wrote which was produced in Monte Carlo and San Francisco.
In 1911, Templeton married Helene Irwin, daughter of William C. Irwin, of the C&H Sugar fortune. This was an alliance of families, something of a tradition among the early Crockers. Templeton had Uplands II built as a gift for his bride. The 35,000 square foot mansion, designed by Willis Polk, wasn't completed until 1917. The couple had no children, and divorced in 1928. He never remarried, and it is rumored he preferred the company of young men.
Templeton was active in the Burlingame County Club, and served on the Tennis Committee when it established the first regulations for use of the facilities in 1916. Rule five allowed ladies to reserve the courts on weekdays. Crocker is credited with saving the California Historical Society in 1922 through his generous financial support. Later his contribution of his Californiana collection helped form the basis for their Research Library.
Of course, he was a yachtsman. One of his boats, the Zaca, was commissioned and launched in Sausalito. The actress Marie Dressler christened it for him. It was a beautiful two masted schooner that was painted black. His interest in sailing may not have involved much hands on activity, however. Is has been said that he always had a captain and crew and an engineer to take care of things. But he went on the trips and paid the bills.
This leads to what is his most enduring legacy. Crocker loved to explore, and he took the Zaca on research expeditions in the Pacific during the 1930s. Two of these trips were for the American Museum of Natural History and they have in their tape archive his films documenting preliminary medical, ethnological and natural history surveys of the Solomon Islands. A study of the Galapagos Islands will include reports from the Templeton Crocker expedition of 1932 for the Academy of Sciences of California. He collected insects, fish, shells, fossils, birds and plants for their collection. Their archives include his notes, papers and manuscripts, including ships logs for 1932-1939.
Last, but not least for the people of Templeton, California, his name lives on in the town that was established in 1886 near San Luis Obispo. It was originally to be named Crocker, and was owned by the West Coast Land Company, part of the railroad conglomerate. The name was changed to Templeton when his father declined to have it named after himself and opted to name it after his young son.
|Occupation||Bon Vivant, Thespian, Philanthropist|
|Places of residence||
|Father||Charles Frederick Crocker|