|Name||Crocker, William Henry|
William Henry was one the children of Charles B. and Mary Ann Crocker who eventually settled on the Peninsula. He followed his father into the family businesses and continued to prosper. Charles B. Crocker was part of the "Big Four" of railroad fame. The Crocker Land Company was an offshoot of the railroad, and the Crocker name has been associated in real estate, banking and finance since the 1880s.
William Henry married Ethel Sperry from Stockton. She was a Sperry of the flour millionaire family. Their union produced children who continued to marry into wealthy local families. William H. Crocker's "New Place" in Burlingame, as he called his 500-acre estate, was built when he decided to make the Peninsula his principle family residence after the 1906 Earthquake. Up until then, he had maintained a house on San Francisco's Nob Hill, and used his Burlingame estate, "The Oaks," as a country getaway. He hired his cousin, Lewis P. Hobart, to design a grander home. The 12 bedroom, 10 bath place required a staff of 65 to run. The house itself took 20 servants, and the other 45 cared for the grounds. Crocker maintained dairy cows and orchards to supply the kitchen, so he was able to have the property assessed as a family farm for tax purposes.
Many notable people were entertained at New Place. A Japanese diplomatic mission, the Prince and Princess of Sweden, Winston Churchill, and assorted politicians and actors were among the guests at various times. W. H. Headed the Republican Party in California for many years.
Of course, a man in such a position was called upon to serve in other fields. He was on the boards of several companies, including the Pacific States Telephone and Telegraph Company, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, Pacific Gas and Electric, and Empire Mines and Investment Company, to name just a few. He also was president of Crocker Investment Company and Crocker Securities Company.
Crocker also served in more philanthropic circles. He was regent of the University of California and president of the Community Chest of San Francisco. He served on hospital boards, was president of the California Academy of Science and many other benevolent organizations.
Crocker was a commuter. He rode his horse from New Place to the Burlingame Station to catch the train to the City. Along the way he would toss coins to the children. A car to take the horse home after his ride would follow him. You have to love old William Henry for using public transportation.
|Places of residence||
|Father||Charles B. Crocker|