SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
James Lick California School of Mechanical Arts
Wilmerding School of Industrial Arts
Lux School of Industrial Training for Women
Sources: L W L Life,
Published by the Students of the Lick Wilmerding & Lux Schools, San
Volume XIII, Number 1, June 1927
Volume XIII, Number 2, December 1927
Volume XIV, Number 1, June 1928
Volume XIV, Number 2, December 1928
Volume XVI, Number 1, June 1930
Volume XVII, Number 2, December 1931
This is the first of a series of articles that will appear in successive issues of the Life, reviewig historical events and setting forth some heretofore unpublished information regarding the founding of the Lick and Wilmerding and Lux Schools. Not only should these narratives be of interest to students and graduates of the schools, but they will also be the means of getting into permanent, printed form important information that has come to my knowledge during the thirty years since the supervision of the Lick School was entrushed to me and private correspondence that has been placed in my hands from time to time by early trustees of the schools and others, now deceased.
On September 21, 1875, James LICK executed his now famous deed of trust by which he conveyed to certain trustees a large amount of property for various purposes of public benefit, of which the California School of Mechanical Arts was one. The clause with reference to the school prescribed the name for it and its character, names as its first trustees Dr. J.B.D. STILLMAN, Horace DAVIS, A.S. HALLIDIE, John Oscar ELDRIDGE, John O. EARL and Hon. Lorenzo SAWYER, and required them to organize as a corporation. This board of trustees was for the school only and was entirely apart from the trustees to whom the settlement of James LICK's estate was entrusted.
The execution of that portion relating to the schools was delayed by prolonged litigation, to determine whether the school should receive interest on its endowment from the time when the estate had money with which to pay it. The case was appealed to the supreme court several times, and was finally decided adversely to the school. The school was forced to accept the sum of $540,000, as provided in the deed of trust, and the residuary letagees - the California Academy of Sciences and the Society of California Pioneers - received the interst on that amount for a period of about fifteen years.
For these reasons it was not until January 3, 1895, that the buildings were completed and the school established. Meanwhile the old constitution of California was replaced by a new one, in 1879, and under the new constitution the trustees of the school found it necessary to abandon the proceedings for incorporating the school, which they had formulated soon after Mr. LICK's death, and make a fresh start. Some of the correspondence between the individual trustees in connection with this re-incorporation of the school is now in our possession, and included in it is a letter revealing the name of the person who suggested to James Lick the idea of founding a school of mechanical arts. This letter will be printed in the next article of this series.
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THE BEGINING OF THE LICK
This is the second in a series of articles that will appear in successive issues of the Life on the history of the Lick, Wilmerding and Lux Schools. The previous article referred to the trust deed by which James LICK have most of his possessions for various public benefactions, including the school for which he prescribed the name "The California School of Mechanical Arts." The original of this deed was lost in the conflagration of April, 1906, but fortunately the school has in its possesion a document bearing Mr. LICK's signature under date of Sept. 18, 1848.
Among Mr. LICK's friends
and business associates were many of the prominent men of the community,
and some of them were consulted by him in the planning of his bequests.
The two men who appear to have prompted him to found the school were Dr.
J.D.B. STILLMAN, who was named as a member of its first board of trustees,
and Mr. David J. STAPLES, President of the Fireman's Fund Insurance Company.
In the course of a conversation with me, about thirty years ago, Mr. STAPLES
stated that he suggested to Mr. LICK the founding of a school of this kind,
but the wording of the following letter from Dr. STILLMAN to Hon,. Lorenzo
D. SAWYER, who was also one of the trustees named by Mr. LICK, indicates
that Mr. STAPLES may have acted on Dr. STILLMAN's suggestion.
|Monte Vista Vineyard,
Lugonia, San Bernardino Co., Cal.
Apr. 20, 1885Hon. Lorenzo D. Sawyer,
Your letter came to hand too late for me to reach you before you left for Oregon. I see by the papers that you are again in the city. I had no intention to resign the Lick trust on the School of Mechanical Arts until the institution was organized. I was too deeply interested in the project, having been the projector through Mr. Staples. I want to have a hand in its organization - so that it shall not conflict with Gov. Stanford's plans and yet fill the conditions of its foundation . . .
(Signed) J.D.B. Stillman
When my official connection with the school began, June 1, 1894, the trustees had already acquired as a site for it the block of land bounded by Fifteenth and Sixteenth Sts., Utah St. and San Bruno Ave. This site was chosen because the trustees felt that the school would be most likely to retain its industrial character if located in an industrial district. Furthermore, since most of its pupils would come from across the bay and from the peninsula area, as well as from San Francisco, a location in the eastern portion of the city would best serve the future metropolitan area of the entire Bay region.
In the month of June, 1894, the course of study was formulated and plans for the buildings were completed. Construction began early in July and proceeded rapidly. The buildings were dedicated Monday, Jan. 7, 1895, pupils were enrolled during that week, and instruction began Jan. 14, with an enrollment of 106 boys and 30 girls. The fundamental plan of instruction, though quite different from anything that had been undertaken up to that time, proved to be in line with the trend of industrial and vocational education, and has been retained by us ever since. Certain features of it will have to be discarded when we change to the status of a junior college, but a substantial portion can be retained.
The first important change in the work of the Lick School was brought about by the founding of the Wilmerding School, but before passing on to that subject we must make record of the important part played by Mr. Horace DAVIS, who was one of the original trustees and served as President of the Board until the time of his death, June 12, 1916. Coming to California in 1852, three years after his graduation from Harvard College, he soon found a prominent place in the industrial, financial, civic and educational affairs of the City and State. He establsihed the Golden Gate Flour Mills; was one of the founders of the first savings bank in California (the Clay Street Bank, as it was called); was a charter member and the first librarian of the Mercantile Library - the oldest in the State; was one of the founders of the first Unitarian Church, a member of the famous Vigilance Committee, and among the organizers of the Red Cross Society during the Civil War; in 1852 he was a member of Congress and in 1888 became President of the University of California. Although a man of classical education and scholastic attainments, he was a firm believer in the new education that would impart culture and useful knowledge at one and the same time. No man could have been better fitted to safeguard the progress of the school during its initial years. Next to the Founder, his name deserves to he honored and remembered by us.
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THE FOUNDING OF THE WILMERDING
This is the third of a series of articles having to do with the founding of the Lick, Wilmerding and Lux Schools. The previous ones have referred to the Lick School. While Mr. LICK was one of the best known characters among the early Californians, Mr. WILMERDING's name, on the contrary, seldom appeared in print. In business circles he was known as J.C. WILMERDING, and few of his associates knew that the "J.C." stood for Jillis Clute. By his intimate friends he was called Clute WILMERDING. As these names would indicate, he came from stock that included the early Dutch Settlers of New York.
He was born in Moscow, Livingston County, New York, on April 28, 1833, and was educated at Temple Hill Academy, Genesco, N.Y. During the excitement following the discovery of gold in California two of his cousins decided to sail for the new El Dorado, and Clute obtained his father's consent to accompany them as a partner. They chartered the schooner Samuel M. Fox and sailed from New York on March 21, 1849, reaching San Francisco on September 21, 1849.
They put up their tent on the beach at a spot about where the Bank of California now stands - California and Sansome streets. The enterprise was not successful and Clute found himself far from home without any money. He then went to the mines, but was too youing to do more than make a scant living there. Being ashamed to go back to New York a failure, he returned to San Francisco with a determination to work and save enough money to repay the five thousand dollars which his father had advanced to him. This he succeeded in doing, taking the father's receipts for the full amount, with interest.
In addition to the amount which he had paid his father, he had saved a few thousand dollars and intended to go back to the mines and start a store. He missed the boat, which was to have taken him to Sacramento, and as there was but one boat a week, he was going back from the wharf to his lodging wondering what he would do next, when he changed to meet Mr. Calvin FARGO, whom he knw slightly and who offered him a position as a salesman. Although it was on this chance meeting that the foundation of his fortune was laid, there is no doubt that the subsequent superstructure of his success as a merchant and a financier was the product of his own efforts. Into Mr. FARGO's business he brought those same sutdy and sterling qualities by which he had overcome adversity and redeemed his obligations to his father. Within a few years he was given an interest in the business, and after Mr. FARGO's retirement Mr. WILMERDING became the senior party and principal owner.
A considerable measure of his success was due, also, to his pleasing personality. Without an exception those of his acquaintance whom I have met have made mention of his genial and sympathetic nature as an outstanding characteristic. To his amiability, no doubt, can be traced the interest taken in the early work of the school by his intimate friends, and more recently by the last survivor of them, Richard Varick DEY, who bequeathed to us $200,000 as a token of his affection for Mr. WILMERDING.
Mr. WILMERDING died at San Francisco on February 20 1894, leaving to the Regents of the University of California the sum of $400,000 with which "To establish and maintain a school, to be called 'The Wilmerding School of Industrial Arts,' to teach boys trades, fitting them to make a living with their hands, with little study and plenty of work". He had thought of placing the funds in the hands of the trustees of the Lick School, and had conferred with Horace DAVIS, President of the Lick Board, in the matter, to make sure that it could be legally administered by them, but knowing that his strength was failing fast and fearing to delay the signing of his will, he named the Regents of the University as trustees. There is a law in California which provides that a bequest for such a purpose cannot be carried out unless the will containing it was executed at least thirty days before the death of the person making the will. Mr. WILMERDING, knowing of this law, and being anxious that nothing should prevent his wish from being carried out, placed in the hands of Mr. Thomas J. LAMB (his private secretary) and Mr. William ALVORD, both of whom were named as executors in the will, bonds of the value of $400,000 and told them, if anything should happen to him within thirty days from the making of his will, those bonds were to be given to the Regents, to endow the school.
His determination to establish a school of this kind was prompted by the bitter experience that followed his arrival in California. Having left home at the age of sixteen, he had no opportunity to acquire a trade, and the need of one was sorely impressed on him whenever he recalled the helpless condition in which he found himself when his youthful business venture failed. So he always took a lively interest in boys - though he never had any of his own, having remained a bachelor. Perhaps his early hardships in California, coming on him so suddenly, made him look with greater fondness on the scenes and pleasures of his interrupted boyhood. At all events, whether walking on the street or driving along in his carriage, he would frequently stop to watch groups of boys at play, or to converse with them about their prospects, and sometimes give them good advice - or something more substantial, if needed.
What a marvelous school it would be, if every boy in it would imbibe some of the spirit of the Founder!
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This is the fourth in a series of articles relating to the founding of the Lick and Wilmerding and Lux Schools. Mr. and Mrs. LUX, as well as James LICK and Mr. WiLMERDING, were prominently identified with the romantic period of California history. During that period and long afterwards the names of Henry MILLER and Charles LUX were magic words to excite visions of countless herds of cattle and vast domains of land. It used to be said that MILLER and LUX cattle could be driven from one end of California to the other and rest each night on land owned by that firm. As the colorful scenes of those days - of rancherias, vaqueros and cattle trails - mellow with age and recede into the background, the Lux School comes into the foreground to recall the names and perpetuate the memory of this group of enterprising pioneers, whose lives and personalities so vividly protray the passing of California from Spanish possession to American occupation.
Charles LUX was born in Alsace, December 27, 1823, and died in San Francisco, March 16, 1887. The maiden name of Mrs. LUX was Miranda Wilmarth SHELDON. She was born at Cranston, Rhode Island, December 23, 1825. In 1846 she was married to Jesse POTTER, and in 1848 they came to California. Mr. POTTER met with an accidental death in San Francisco Bay in 1854, and on February 10, 1857, his widow married Charles LUX. She died in San Francisco, September 30, 1894 - a woman of simple tastes and modest demeanor, having the poise and refinement befitting the Victorian age in which she lived.
Few, if any, of her friends and relatives had knowledge of her intention to bequeath a portion of her estate for the founding of a school, and many have asked what influenced her to do so. The most reasonable explanation is found in the deep interest that she had always taken in philanthropic work with children. For many years she had been a director of the San Francisco Protestant Orphanage, was a generous patron of the kindergartens, and a co-worker with Sarah B. COOPER, the mother of the kindergarten movement in California. In 1892 Mrs. COOPER prepared, and printed in the thirteenth annual report of the Golden Gate Kindergarten, a convincing argument in favor of the new "manual training" movement and the promotion of industrial education in general. Mrs. LUX, being an official of the Kindergarten, was familiar with this report, which was one of the ablest contributions to the literature of industrial education that had appeared up to that time, and she may have collaborated with Mrs. COOPER in its preparation. The similarity of the wording of this report and of the will of Mrs. LUX is sufficiently apparent to indicate that the school was the outcome of her many years of devotion to the welfare of children, to her association with Mrs. COOPER and to her thoughtful study of the educational needs of the nation.
It was a fortunate circumstance that Thomas B. BISHOP, the legal adviser of Mrs. LUX and a trustee of the school, was also an advocate of industrial education. Aside from a large law practice, Mr. BISHOP was interested in both agriculture and mining - not the placer mining of '49, but the later and less scenic quartz mining of the Bonanza days and the "mother-lode." He found time, also, to take a lively interest in educational affairs, particularly those in which Mrs. LUX and Mrs. COOPER were concerned. In 1888 he became a member of the first board of trustees of the Cogswell Polytechnic College, one of a group of endowed institutions that were established in a few cities of the United States for the purpose of demonstrating the soundness of the "manual training" idea, by which was meant education through the correlated activity of the mind and hand - or, better, the mind and any or all of the five senses, rather than from the printed page alone. Quite natually most of the advocates of this theory also argued from the utilitarian or bread-winning aspect, claiming that culture and useful knowledge could be best imparted in unison. It was the utilitarian viewpoint that Mrs .LUX emphasized in her will, and it is with this in mind that the work of the school must ever be carried on.
Two other members of the first Lux Board, Louis SLOSS and Charles HOLBROOK, were men who had achieved success in the early days of California, but in quite opposite ways, Mr. SLOSS through the adventurous business of fishing, trading and fur sealing in the Alaska region, and Mr. HOLBROOK in the more prosaic occupation of wholesale trade in Sacramento and San Francisco. Both of them were public spirited to a high degree, and through their kindly natures they too had become patrons of the kindergarten movement, and therefore, in the eyes of Mrs. LUX, desirable as trustees of the school.
The only surviving member of the Board as orignally named by the Founder is Mr. George Clark SARGENT, who is also its executive secretary and legal adviser. On him devolved a most important part in the actual establishment of the school. Although not of the generation of the California Argonauts, he fits into the last scene of the drama in which all of the founders of the Lick and Wilmerding and Lux Schools filled their respective roles. His boyhood days were spent on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, over which the most difficult portion of the first transcontinental railroad was constructed - that portion where technical skill overcame mountain grades and human ingenuity conquered snow with snowsheds. Knowing only the long and hazardous journey in prairie schooners, it was difficult for the people "back east" to believe that a railroad of such great length could be built in the face of so many seemingly insurmountable obstacles. It was United States Senator A.A. SARGENT, father of our trustee, who convinced them that it could be done, and won for the project the support of the United States Government. Its completion and successful operation not only linked east and west, but also definitely marked the transition of California from the pastoral days of the pioneers to its present position of commercial and agricultural prominence and growing industrial importance.
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The first of this series of historical articles regarding the founding of the Lick, Wilmerding and Lux Schools appeared in the issue of December 1922. The five issues from June 1927 to June 1939, inclusive contained biographies of the Founders and of the original trustees. As these pioneers passed on, one by one, other men and women took their places, assuming responsibilities and giving freely of their time, without thought of remuneration or reward of any kind. It is fitting now that we should recall the names of these men and women and extend to them the same recongnition that we have accorded to their predecessors.
The first of this group was John H. BOALT, who became identified with the Lick Board in 1886 and continued until shortly before the construction of the school buildings began, in 1894. During this interval the only business which the Board could transact pertained to litigation for the purpose of determining the amount of money the school was entitled to receive from Mr. LICK's estate. Mr. BOALT being the only practicing lawyer on the Board, his share of the work and responsibility must have been very great. The school was fortunate to have had in this emergency a man of his high standing in the legal profession. Distinction has been conferred on him by giving his name to a building in which the law department is housed on the campus of the University of California, but the service that he rendered to us has passed almost unnoticed. Whenever his name was mentioned, as it was very frequently during his lifetime and for a number of years afterwards, anything said regarding his ability as a lawyer seemed invariably to invoke words of praise for his integrity as a man and for the fine qualities of his personality.
Next to Judge BOALT, in the order of succession, came Rev. Horatio STEBBINS, a man of large proportions physically as well as intellectually. He came to California as the successor of the famous Thomas Starr KING, pastor of the first Unitarian church of this city, whose ability as a public speaker and untiring labors were largely instumental in holding California to the Union cause during the Civil War. When Starr KING's patriotic efforts overcame his strength and brought him to an untimely end, Dr. STEBBINS, with a similar gift of eloquence and greater physical endurance, promptly became a conspicuous figure in the community. He served on the Lick Board from 1887 to 1900, and at the same time was a member of the Board of Regents of the University of California. When advancing age made it necessary for him to retire from the ministry, he surrendered his various offices here and returned to New England, the land of his forefathers.
In July 1894, when construction of the buildings of the Lick School began, James SPIERS, President of the Fulton Iron Works, became a member of the Board, succeeding Judge BOALT. On his shoulders fell the responsibility of seeing that I made no mistakes in choosing the right equipment for the shops and in following approved methods of teaching the trades given in them. A more competent counsellor for that purpose could not have been found or imagined. The Fulton Iron Works was a large and comprehensive concern, and Mr. SPIERS knew every detail of every shop in it. He had learned his trade in Scotland, where "intelligent mechanical skill" in the metal trades and industries was bred into men of those days with a thoroughness unsurpassed anywhere. I was then a young man of twenty-seven, called upon to erect buildings, purchase equipment, formulate a curriculum, and select a teaching staff, for the establishment of a school differing in many ways from any school that ever was before. I had previosly held the principalship of the Cogswell Polyttechnic College, but there I took charge of an institution already established and with which I was familiar, having been a teacher there for four years under capable and experienced heads; here it was a job from the ground up, with a fourth dimension. But, here also was Mr. SPIERS with his store of mechanical knowledge, his wealth of business experience and his sound judgement. He was never too busy to see me, never failed to help me out of my difficulties, and never let me leave without some word of encouragement.
To have enjoyed the confidence of five men such as those who constituted the Lick Board when the school began its work - John O. EARL, the elderly, kind-hearted man who wept when he saw a crippled boy being carried from one room to another by his classmates; Horace DAVIS, scholar, successful man of affairs, and empire-builder; Horatio STEBBINS, intellectual leader of men; Andrew S. HALLIDIE, man of unswerving integrity and purpose; James SPIERS, benevolent and as human as Robert Burns, the poet whom he loved to quote - and to have sat with them during their deliberations, were privileges to be prized and an inspuiration for which I have ever been profoundly thankful.
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LICK AND LUX TRUSTEES
- THE FIRST SUCCESSION
From time to time successive issues of the L.W.L. Life have contained articles regarding the founding of these schools, including biographies of the Founders and of the men and women who were chosen by the Founders to inaugurate the work of the schools and launch them on their destinies. It would now seem appropriate to recall the names of those who, one by one, succeeded the original trustees and guided the schools through a second epoch, until they themselves passed on to the long journey and higher rewards. Thir individual biographies have already been published, in recognition of the services rendered by them, but this seires of articles would be incomplete without a grouping of their names to mark the period midway between the establishment of the schools and the reorganization through which they are now passing.
The year 1900 witnessed the passing of two members of the Lick Board - the kindly, lovable John O. EARL and the sturdy Andrew S. HALLIDIE - and the resignation of Dr. Horatio STEBBINS. Their successors ranked foremost among the energetic, public-spirited citizens of San Francisco.
Frank J. SYMMES, a graduate of Annapolis, who had long been identified with industrial, mercantile and financial interests of the community, and a leader in civic affairs, succeeded Mr. EARL.
Charles A. MURDOCK, proprietor of a large printing establishment bearing his name; an intimate friend of Mark Twain and Bret Hare, and himself an able writer; frequently elected to membership on the San Francisco Board of Education, the Board of Supervisors, and the Civil Service Commission, and always maintaining an enviable record of fairness, honesty and ability, succeeded Mr. HALLIDIE.
Edward B. POND, financier, business leader, and Mayor of San Francisco - an office which he filled with marked ability and dignity - succeeded Dr. STEBBINS.
John O. HARRON, founder of the firm of Harron, Rickard and McCone, succeeded James SPIERS, whose biography appeared in the issue of June, 1930. By all who knew Mr. HARRON, he was respected as a man who carried into his business dealings and the fulfillment of his civic obligations the fine code of ethics which characterized his private life.
Mrs. Pheobe A. HEARST, the only woman who has served on the Lick Board, succeeded Mr. POND. She was also a member of the Lux Board. In every way Mrs. HEARST was a marvelous woman; perfectly bred; thoroughly democratic and unspoiled by the wealth that she enjoyed; untiring in her efforts to help other people; and beloved of all.
It was a mark of distinction for Charles H. BENTLEY that he should be the one to succeed Horace DAVIS, who was the last of the original trustees named by James LICK and who had been the guiding spirit of the school over a period of forty years. Mr. BENTLEY became a member of the Board in 1919 and died in 1923, in the prime of a business career which had been marked by outstanding success as one of the proprietors of the California Fruit Canners Association, afterwards merged into the California Packing Corporation.
On the Lux Board, Mr. DAVIS and Mrs. HEARST took the places of trustees whose biographies were sketched in the article which appeared in the December 1928 number of the Life. Taking their places on the Lux Board just as the school was established and being identified with both schools, the value of the service rendered by them was enhanced to a degree vastly beyond any acknowledgment which migh be uttered by those on whom the fruits of their beneficence have been, and in years to come wll be, bestowed through these schools.
Mr. Rudolph J. TAUSSIG, whose biography appeared in the June 1922 number of the Life, became a member of the Board in 1906, when the number of trustees was increased from five to seven. In 1916 he succeeded Mr. DAVIS as President of the Board.
Mr. John GALLOWAY came on the Board in 1906, along with Mr. TAUSSIG, and in 1922 he succeeded Mr. TAUSSIG as President. Mr. GALLOWAY was one of the early members of the Lick faculty until he established the engineering firm bearing his name.
In addition to Mr. GALLOWAY, the Board, as now constituted, included: Mr. Guy C. EARL, President of Great Western Power Co.; Mr. James K. MOFFITT, Vice-President Crocker First National Bank; Mr. William A. MAGEE, President of Thomas Magee and Sons; Mr. Arthur H. MARKWARD, Lick '99, Vice-President and Chief of Engineering, Pacific Gas and Electric Co.; Mr. Charles W. MERRILL, President Merrill Mining and Metallurgical Co.; Mr. Joseph H. THOMPSON, President Electrical Manufacturing Co.