Biography of George Birkenhauer
Tulare County, CA Biographies





GEORGE BIRKENHAUER.
No doubt the people of Visalia, California, will remember for years to come the late George Birkenhauer, who for thirty four years was an active participant in the industrial, civic and fraternal life of the city. He was born in the state of New York, January 21, 1861, but while still a young man went to Lockhaven, Pennsylvania. Having graduated in a school of pharmacy, he began his business career as a clerk in a drug store. His uncle in Lockhaven was engaged in the manufacture of cigars and after a time George gave up the drug business to learn the trade of cigar maker with his uncle. He became an expert in this occupation and when he was about twenty seven years old he decided to try his fortune on the Pacific coast.

On August 1, 1888, Mr. Birkenhauer arrived in Visalia and, liking the appearance of the town, settled down to become a permanent resident. With a rather limited capital he opened a cigar factory in the Palace Hotel annex on Court street. As this was the first cigar factory in Visalia, and one of the first in the San Joaquin valley, it attracted no little amount of attention. Being a good workman and a thorough judge of tobacco, Mr. Birkenhauer's cigars quickly found a market and the demand for them grew as their quality became known to smokers. The result was that he prospered and invested some of his earnings in a ranch on the Tulare road. After some years he disposed of his cigar factory and devoted all his time to fruit growing on his ranch, where he had one of the most productive orchards in the county.

Mr. Birkenhauer, from the time he came to Visalia in the summer of 1888 until his death on June 17, 1922, manifested a consistent interest in the affairs of Tulare county and his adopted city. As a democrat he was influential in the councils of his party, rejoiced with other democrats over a victory at the polls, but was never seriously cast down when his party ticket was defeated. While not an office seeker, he was three times elected to the Visalia city council, and was at one time a member of the board of supervisors of Tulare county. It is worthy of note that in his candidacy for supervisor he ran on an independent ticket and was triumphantly elected over two opponents. No better evidence of his personal popularity and the esteem in which he was held by his fellow citizens is necessary. As supervisor he always tried to apply the same principles to county affairs that he had applied and proved in his private business. Progressive and public spirited, he believed in public improvements that would be of general benefit to the community, but he also believed that the county should receive value to the amount of 100 cents for each dollar of the public fund expended in making such improvements.

In the fraternal organizations of Visalia few men were better known than George Birkenhauer. He was a thirty second degree Mason in the Scottish Rite and about a year before his death, when sixty years of age, he was made a member of Islam Temple, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, of San Francisco. As one of the charter members of the Visalia Lodge, Fraternal Order of Eagles, he was one of the organizers of the Lodge and its first presiding officer. He also belonged to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Visalia Lodge No. 1298, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.

On December 14, 1879, in Flemington, Pennsylvania, Mr. Birkenhauer and Miss Jessie Slenker, a native of Pennsylvania, were married. Mrs. Birkenhauer accompanied her husband to California and is still living in Visalia, where she is active in the work of women's clubs and civic orders. She recently headed a subscription list with one thousand dollars for the erection of a new Masonic temple as a memorial to her late husband. She owns seventy two and one half acres of prunes, peaches and plums, and the ranch is being handled by William Brown.

From:
History of Tulare County, California
By: Kathleen Edwards Small
and
Kings County, California
By: J. Larry Smith
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago 1926


Privacy Policy for OnlineBiographies

NAVIGATION

Tulare County
Biographies

California
Biographies

Online
Biographies

New York
Histories

New York
Biographies

Maine
Histories

Pennsylvania
Histories

Pennsylvania
Biographies

For all your genealogy needs visit Linkpendium

Family Tree Maker 2012