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Los Angeles County









BILGER, FRANK WILLIAM, Secretary, Treasurer and Manager, Oakland Paving Co., and of the Blake & Bilger Co., Oakland, Cal., was born at Willow Springs, Oregon, August 2, 1868, the son of William F. Bilger and Pauline (Hauser) Bilger.  He is of German descent on both sides of the house and seems to have inherited his quarry-operating and road-building proclivities from his paternal grandfather, who was Burgomaster in Trossingen, Germany, and for many years operated stone quarries and was active in constructive work in various parts of the Empire.

            Mr. Bilger was married in Oakland, December 19, 1894, to Miss Carrie S. Siebe, daughter of George Siebe, for many years an official of the San Francisco Customs House.  Their children are Anson S., Marion A., William F. and Frank W. Bilger, Jr.

            Mental and physical alertness, ambition to get ahead and avidity for any kind of work that came to hand have been the dynamos that have supplied the live wire that Mr. Bilger has proved himself to be.  His actual schooling was of the intermittent kind.  Coming from Jacksonville, Oregon, in May 1875, he attended the grammar school in San Leandro, Alameda County, until 1883, and for the next two years tried to qualify as a farmer on his father’s ranch at Vacaville, Solano County.  Tiring of this uncongenial monotony, he secured employment, in 1885, in Bowman’s Drug Store, Oakland, as errand boy, window washer and about everything else he was asked to be.  During this strenuous apprenticeship he entered the Department of Pharmacy of the University of California, from which he was graduated in 1889, with the degree of Ph. G.  His ambition to add an M. D. to this designation, however, was sidetracked by opportunity, for which he was ever on the watch.  Pending his intended matriculation in the Cooper Medical College he became a collector for the Oakland Paving Company, liked the work, remained and was promoted to bookkeeper.  On the death of one of the owners he was elected a trustee of the company, and later was made secretary and treasurer.

            In 1905, Mr. Bilger, with Mr. Anson S. Blake, organized the Blake & Bilger Company, contractors for all kinds of work connected with the paving business.  He has focused his commercial energies on these concerns, and together with his associates has developed them to large proportions.  A superfluity of energy, however, will generally find an outlet in more than one channel—a fact which Mr. Bilger has well exemplified.  For years he was a director of the Oakland Chamber of Commerce, in which capacity he became a close observer and a student of organization work.  Largely through his intelligent efforts the membership of the chamber was greatly increased, and in 1906, on the consolidation with the Board of Trade, he was made its first vice president.  The next year he was chosen president of the body.

            Immediately after the fire of 1906 Mr. Bilger became very active in the relief work.  Dropping his private business he co-operated with the business men of San Francisco and was one of the most ardent of all the Good Samaritans in that beneficent field.

            In 1907 Mr. Bilger organized the Harbor Bank and was its first president, acting at the same time as director of the Oakland Bank of Commerce.  Beyond all this he has been a very live Republican, for six years chairman of the City Central Committee, manager of Mayor Mott’s campaign in 1905 and state campaign manager for Alden Anderson, candidate for Governor in 1910.  His prominence and success in fraternal circles have been equally marked.  He organized the Alameda County Shriners’ Club, for four years held together the disintegrating elements, and in April, 1910, had the Imperial Council, in session at New Orleans, grant the charter for Aahmes Temple, Oakland’s new shrine.  He was elected the first Illustrious Potentate of the temple and still retains the office.  He is a member of the Yerba Buena Lodge, F. & A. M.; of the Oakland Chapter, No. 36, R. A. M.; Oakland Commandery, K. T.; Oakland Consistory, A. A. R. S.; Woodmen of the World, and an Elk.

            He belongs also to the Nile, the Deutscher and the Athenian Clubs of Oakland, and is the tenth life member of the Society of American Magicians, an order whose chief object is the prevention of exposure of the tricks by which public entertainers in this field earn their living and whose efforts have done a great deal toward keeping the mysteries of the art among the fascinations of the stage.



Transcribed by Joyce Rugeroni.

Source: Press Reference Library, Western Edition Notables of the West, Vol. I,  Page 449, International News Service, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Atlanta.  1913.

© 2010 Joyce Rugeroni.