San Francisco County
GORDON S. CHAMBERLIN
Among the contractors of San Francisco who have had intimate contact with the development of the city was the late Gordon S. Chamberlin, member of the reputable firm of McClure & Chamberlin, and whose activities in his field comprised a most substantial contribution to the welfare of this community.
Mr. Chamberlin was born in the state of Wisconsin on January 1, 1882. His early education was obtained in Minnesota, and was continued in Everett, Washington, to which place his parents had moved. Having completed his own studies, he engaged in teaching school for a period, and then took up the lumber business for an interval. Coming to San Francisco, he was in the insurance business until he had prepared for, and passed, the examination for the United States railway mail service. In this capacity he was active for a number of years, his route having extended from San Francisco and Los Angeles to El Paso, Texas, and return. Mr. Chamberlin was of thrifty and ambitious character, and he was desirous of embarking in an enterprise of his own. Prior to his marriage he associated himself with H. N. McClure, and together they established a contracting and grading business in San Francisco which was destined to be a marked success. They became connected with many important building projects in this city, and their services were widely sought on the basis of their proved satisfaction and strictly honorable dealings with their patrons. Mr. Chamberlin was inspired by real public spirit, and his labors toward the improvement of his adopted city were thoroughly sincere. He was also president and a director of the Industrial Land Development Company, and was a director of the City Industrial Land Company. On June 13, 1931, the brilliant career of this worthy citizen was closed by the inscrutable hand of fate, when his life was crushed out under a truck on the site of the war memorial excavation. His passing was a matter of deep regret in the city where his ability and worth of character were widely known.
On May 22, 1908, in San Francisco, Mr. Chamberlin took as his wife Miss Edna McClure, a daughter of Henry N. and Amy (Hodges) McClure, and descendant of one of the pioneer families of California. To their union were born a daughter and two sons, namely: Amy, Robert and Gordon, Jr. Miss Amy Chamberlin, since her father’s death, has carried on in admirable fashion his business affairs in the contracting company. The above named sons are aged respectively fifteen and ten years (1931). The Chamberlin family residence is situated at 168 Hermann street in San Francisco.
Mr. Chamberlin was a man of extraordinary intelligence, and possessed a keen interest in scientific subjects. Especially in geology was he concerned, and he had started a collection of various quartz samples and other geological specimens. His enjoyment in this worth-while diversion has descended to his daughter, Miss Amy Chamberlin, who maintains the growth of this collection. In Masonry, in which fraternity he attained the thirty-second degree, Mr. Chamberlin was a beloved figure. He belonged to Pacific Lodge No. 136, California Consistory No. 5, and Islam Temple of the Mystic Shrine. He did not seek the limelight of public office, but he was unfailingly attentive to his duties as a citizen of San Francisco, and his fine character and personality will long endure in the memories of those who knew him.
Transcribed by: Jeanne Sturgis Taylor.
Source: Byington, Lewis Francis, “History of San Francisco 3 Vols”, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1931. Vol. 3 Pages 182-184.
© 2008 Jeanne Sturgis Taylor.