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Plumas County

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CARL GRANT HANKEL

 

 

            Carl G. Hankel, the owner and manager of the Quincy Hotel, at Quincy, Plumas County, is one of the most capable and successful hotel men in the Sacramento Valley, and all who have come in contact with him regard him as in every way adapted to the business in which he is engaged.  He was born in Abilene, Dickinson County, Kansas, on the 14th of April, 1872, and is a son of the late Herman Frederick and Marie (Hartman) Hankel.  His father was born in Schwartzberg, Germany, and came to the United States at the age of eighteen years, settling at Madison, Wisconsin, where he was married.  His wife was a native of Graubünden, Switzerland, of the Von Hartman aristocracy, and she came to this country with her parents, who settled at Madison, Wisconsin, where her father engaged in farming.  Sometime after his marriage Mr. Hankel and his family migrated to Kansas, accompanied by two of Mrs. Hankel’s brothers, traveling overland with ox teams and covered wagons.  They settled twenty miles southeast of Abilene, Kansas, where Mr. Hankel took up and improved a homestead.  One of Mrs. Hankel’s brothers, who had been in this country a number of years, was a veteran of the Civil War, in one of the battles of which he had a leg shot off.  Mr. Hankel farmed his homestead of one hundred and sixty acres, as well as another farm of three hundred and twenty acres, at first using oxen instead of horses.  They lived through the great grasshopper period, during which it became necessary for Mr. Hankel to journey to Junction City, Kansas, to obtain corn for food, his own supply of food having become exhausted.  After some years the family sold their interests at Abilene and came to California, by railroad emigrant train, which journey required fourteen and a half days to Oakland.  They settled in San Jose.  From San Jose Mr. Hankel took his family to Shasta County, where he homesteaded land, cleared the ground and had it all planted.  Within two months an extraordinary heat wave struck that locality and there was no means of irrigating the land, the vegetation all withered and died.  Consequently Mr. Hankel sold his interests in that locality in 1886 and went to Santa Rosa.  Mr. Hankel was a well educated man, and a trained horticulturist, florist and nurseryman.  His father had been a learned German botanist and horticulturalist, and his library, a valuable collection of botanical and horticultural works, became the property of his son Herman, and the latter brought it with him to Santa Rosa.  At that place he met Luther Burbank, since widely known as the “plant wizard,” and entered his employ.  The two worked in cooperation, Mr. Hankel bringing his learning and experience to Burbank and rendering him valuable assistance in the propagation of new plant varieties.  He was especially useful to Burbank in the creation of beautiful color effects in flowers through chemical action, as well as in the use of mechanical appliances in shading and sheltering plants.  They became very close friends and, while the credit for the wonderful results produced here went to Mr. Burbank, it was largely Hankel’s knowledge and work which brought about the results.  It was really Mr. Hankel who produced the thornless blackberry.  Mr. and Mrs. Hankel became the parents of five children, namely:  Christian, who died in Kansas, at the age of one year; Herman Frederick, Jr., who was for forty years a peace officer at Santa Rosa, and died July 7, 1930; Carl Grant, of this review; Arzella, the widow of Theodore Goodman, of San Francisco; and John Ulrich, of San Francisco.

            When thirteen years of age, Carl G. Hankel went to work on the Hart farm in Sonoma County, California, and was also employed on other farms in that county, receiving a wage of fifteen dollars a month, board and room, for which he worked from daylight until dark.  Later he went to work in the Burger meat market in Santa Rosa, where he was employed for one year, and then determined to become an expert meat cutter.  He worked for two years for the meat firm of Hirth Brothers in Santa Rosa, after which he went to Noonan & Towey as their meat cutter, being at that time but eighteen years of age.  He quit that job in order to go to San Francisco and learn the meat business more thoroughly, entering the employ of Mark Strauss, on Market Street, in one of the oldest and best known meat markets of San Francisco.  He next went to the Fred Becker Washington market in Oakland, where he remained for some time.  Quitting that place, he came to Woodland, Yolo County, and for two and a half years worked for Chalmers Brothers, after which he went to Santa Barbara and entered the employ of the Sherman & Eland Company.  He worked there until the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, when he enlisted at Santa Rosa in company E., Eighth Regiment California Volunteer Infantry.  He was in training at Camp Sutter, near Oakland, and was later stationed at Fort Point, where he was honorably discharged at the close of the war.  He then returned to the meat business and went to work for Hobson Brothers, at Ventura, with whom he remained for over a year, after which he returned to the Chalmers Brothers at Woodland.

            While at Woodland, Mr. Hankel was married to Miss Georgia Brown, of Davisville, California, and they together purchased the lease of the Burns Hotel at Woodland, which they ran successfully for three years.  They were then divorced, Mrs. Hankel continuing the operation of the hotel.  Mr. Hankel went to Arizona for the purpose of taking over the Hotel Ondorf at Douglas, but there he met his former employer, E. A. Tovrea, and was persuaded to work for him in the meat business at Bisbee, Arizona.  He worked there during the ensuing five years, without even a vacation, and then became interested in copper mines and stock, in which he made money.  On one occasion he made eighteen thousand dollars in a single day on the rise of the value of stocks, and ended his experience in that game forty thousand dollars ahead.

            While in Bisbee Mr. Hankel was married to Miss Cleo Ackerman, and to them was born a daughter, Zola Vivian, now the wife of Fred J. Koegi, a native of Kansas, who is in charge of the art department of the Santa Fe Railroad for New Mexico.  Mr. Hankel divorced his second wife at Reno, Nevada, and about ten years ago was married to Mrs. Blanche Ryan, nee Marshall, of Henrietta, Texas.  She comes from a noted American family, prominent members of which were Chief Justice John Marshall of the United States Supreme Court and the late Vice President Thomas Marshall of Indiana.

            After the panic of 1907 Mr. Hankel left Douglas, Arizona, and went to San Francisco, and later to Reno, Nevada, where he entered the employ of the Edward W. Brown Company, wholesale grocers, becoming a traveling salesman, in which work he was very successful.  He followed that line until 1924, when he resigned his position and went to Susanville, Lassen County, California, to take over the Susanville Country Club, formerly the home of the millionaire miners of Nevada.  While running that club, the Quincy Hotel, at Quincy, Plumas County, was about to be built, and he became connected with the Quincy Hotel Company, Inc.  They entered into negotiations whereby Mr. Hankel acquired a ten-year lease of the hotel, which was built after his own plans and ideas.  The house was furnished at his expense and was opened to the public in 1925.  It proved a profitable enterprise and in 1928 Mr. Hankel bought the property outright and is now the sole owner.  The hotel has fifty rooms and the building is supplied with running water, steam heat, electric lights, twin beds, with the best mattresses, and every convenience demanded by the traveling public.  Mrs. Hankel has charge of the dining room and is well qualified for that responsibility, the table being supplied with everything desirable that the market affords, well cooked and attractively served.  Cleanliness and sanitation are carefully looked after and everything possible is done for the comfort and enjoyment of the hotel guests.  Mr. Hankel has also built a commodious dance hall and has erected a twelve-room rooming house across the way from the hotel, with which it is operated.  The hotel and equipment represent an investment of one hundred and eighteen thousand dollars and Mr. Hankel is constantly making further improvements.  He was also very active in promoting the construction of the nine-hole golf course, owned by the Quincy Golf Club, near the hotel, on sixty-five acres of well situated land.

            Mr. Hankel is very fond of hunting and fishing, which are to be had in this vicinity.  He is an art connoisseur and the reception hall and the office of the hotel, as well as many guest rooms, are adorned with beautiful paintings and pictures, while the hotel lobby is adorned with the heads of deer and other game, which is found in abundance in the vicinity of Quincy.  The hotel is surrounded by beautiful lawns and gardens.  Two tame, pet fawns romp in the hotel yard, while a young buck and a young doe, of the spotted deer variety, tame and pretty as a picture, are playful and great favorites of the children who come to the hotel as guests.  Mr. Hankel is the owner of one hundred and ten acres of mountainous timber land lying immediately west of the hotel and here skiing and tobogganing are enjoyed in the wintertime.  He has still further plans for a swimming pool and other recreational facilities.  The prices of meals and luncheons in the dining room of the hotel are very reasonable—in fact, no higher than any other good eating house.  The Quincy Hotel caters to the tourist and commercial trade and is meeting with large patronage from all parts of the country.  Motion picture stars from Hollywood come here to enjoy the cool, salubrious mountain air, for it is comfortable here in midsummer, when it is uncomfortably hot in the cities of the interior.  

            Mr. Hankel is a Republican in his political views and, though a very busy man, takes a commendable interest in public affairs.  He is a member of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks at Bisbee, Arizona, with which he has been identified in good standing for twenty-six years.  He also belongs to the Woodmen of the World.  Mrs. Hankel attends the Community Church and is very popular throughout the range of her acquaintance.  Mr. Hankel has shown himself a man of clearheaded judgment and in the management of the Quincy Hotel has exercised business qualities of the highest order.  He is cordial and friendly in manner and his efforts to make the hotel a real home for its guests have been greatly appreciated by those who have patronized it.

 

 

Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.

Source: Wooldridge, J.W.Major History of Sacramento Valley California, Vol. 3 Pages 338 - 344. Pioneer Historical Publishing Co. Chicago 1931.

© 2010  Gerald Iaquinta.

 

 

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