History of South San Francisco, California
From: The Story of San Mateo County, California
By: Roy W. Cloud
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company.
Chicago, Ill 1928

South San Francisco is situated on the North bay shore section of San Mateo County and is nine miles distant by Southern Pacific from Third and Townsend streets and about ten and a quarter miles by state highway. The city had its beginnings in 1900 when Peter E. Iler of Omaha, Nebraska, secured an option of 3,500 acres of land. Shortly afterwards he incorporated the South San Francisco Land and Improvement Company and took over the position of general manager. The large holders of this enterprise were Iler, Henry Miller, H. S. Crocker, P. N., E. R. and Jesse Lilienthal of San Francisco; P. D. Armour, G. F. Swift and Nelson Morris, millionaire meat packers of Chicago. The largest single holding acquired was the 1,600 acre home ranch belonging to Miller and Lux and upon this acreage the residence section was laid out.

Taking the proposed route of the bay shore right of way of the Southern Pacific Railroad, two districts were planned — that to the east was to be known as an industrial center; that to the west as a residence section. Grand Avenue was designed as the principal business thoroughfare of the city and the junction of that street with Linden Avenue has always been the main corner of the community.

Mr. William J. Martin, who has been one of the most influential men of the city, built the second house on the eastern end of Grand Avenue in 1892 and following shortly after Mr. Martin's building venture, other homes rapidly sprang up. until now South San Francisco is not only the main manufacturing center of San Mateo County but is also a city of homes. The plants which have located in the industrial area since 1892 have been the Western Meat Company, Steiger Terra Cotta and Pottery Works, Baden Brick Company, W. P. Fuller Paint, Oil and Lead Company, South San Francisco Lumber and Supply Company, the Corrugated Pipe Company, Pacific Coast Steel Company, Pacific Car and Equipment Company, Federal Wireless, Enterprise Foundry, SchawBacher Pipe Company, American Marble and Mosaic Company, Western Sand and Rock Company, Ericson-Peterson Machine Shop Company, South San Francisco Printing Company, Prest-O-Lite Company, Wihls Manufacturing Company, the Metallic Antimony Company, Carson Chemical Company, Fuel Oil Supply Company, Studebaker Service Company, Union Stockyards Company, South San Francisco Glue Works, South San Francisco Wool Pullery Company, South San Francisco Soap Works, W. P. Fuller Varnish Works, American Barium Company, Metal-Thermit Company, American Wire Works, Inc., Virden Packing Company.

There are two banks, a fine civic center on which the city hall, costing $100,000, is erected, city library and numerous fraternal organizations. The assessed valuation of the town for the year 1927 was $6,600,000 and the estimated population 7,800. The weekly pay roll of the large industries is $250,000 per week, with a pay day every day in the week.

On September 3, 1908, South San Francisco was incorporated as a city of the sixth class and the following named citizens were chosen city officials: Trustees, Harry Edwards, Andrew Hynding, Thomas L. Hickey, Daniel McSweeney and Herman Gaerdes. Clerk, Thomas Mason. Treasurer, C. L. Kauffman, and marshal, Henry Kneese. Andrew Hynding was selected as first mayor of the city. Since incorporation the following officers have served the city:

Officers elected in 1910—Board of Trustees: F. A. Cunningham, Dr. J. C. McGovern, M. F. Healey, Dan McSweeney, Thomas L. Hickey. City marshal, Henry Kneese. City treasurer, Ed. P. Kauffmann. Dan McSweeney was selected mayor.

Officers elected in 1912—Board of Trustees: Dr. J. C. McGovern, G. W. Holston, J. H. Kelley. Holdovers, F. A. Cunningham, Thomas L. Hickey. City clerk, William J. Smith City treasurer, Ed. P. Kauffmann. Fred A. Cunningham was selected mayor.

Officers elected in 1914—Board of Trustees: Fred A. Cunningham, George Henry Wallace. Holdovers, G. W. Holston, J. H. Kelley, Dr. J. C. McGovern. City clerk, William J. Smith. City treasurer, Ed. P. Kauffmann. G. W. Holston was selected mayor.

Officers elected in 1916—Board of Trustees: G. W. Wallace, M. F. Healy, J. H. Kelley. Holdovers, Fred A. Cunningham, George H. Wallace. City clerk, William J. Smith. City treasurer, Ed. P. Kauffmann. J. H. Kelley was selected mayor.

Officers elected in 1918—Board of Trustees: Fred A. Cunningham, A. J. Eschelbach. Holdovers, G. W. Holston, M. F. Healy, J. H. Kelley. City clerk, William J. Smith. City treasurer, Ed. P. Kauffmann. G. W. Holston was selected mayor.

Officers elected in 1920—Board of Trustees: Leonard G. Hardy, Jr., G. W. Holston, Henry Scampini. Holdovers, Fred A. Cunningham, A. J. Eschelbach. City clerk, Dan McSweeney. City treasurer, Ed. P. Kauffmann. G. W. Holston was selected mayor.

Officers elected in 1922—Board of Trustees: Albert J. Eschelbach, Fred A. Cunningham. Holdovers, Leonard G. Hardy, Jr., G. W. Holston, H. Scampini. City clerk, Dan McSweeney. City treasurer, Ed. P. Kauffmann; under four year term, new law. Leonard G. Hardy resigned. William J. Pitt was appointed trustee. G. W. Holston was selected mayor.

Officers elected in 1924—Board of Trustees: Hugh F. McNellis, Hugh McCaffrey. City clerk, Dan McSweeney. City treasurer, Ed. P. Kauffmann. Hugh F. McNellis was selected mayor.

In May, 1926, Trustees McNellis, McCaffrey and Blank were recalled. They were succeeded by Trustees M. Minucciani, Roderick Tibbetts and Reese Lloyd. Fred A. Cunningham selected mayor.

In May, 1927, Mayor Fred A. Cunningham died. He was succeeded as trustee by Andrew Hynding. He was succeeded as mayor by Trustee A. J. Eschelbach. J. W. Colebird has for a number of years been city attorney.

In 1905 the Bank of South San Francisco was incorporated and opened for business with a paid capital of $50,000.

In 1908 the Belt Railroad was built, having a length of seven miles and circling the waterfront, going to all of the main industries. The electric railroad from Holy Cross to the waterfront was completed in 1913.

There are three churches in South San Francisco, the oldest being the Grace Episcopal. It has a neat church building on Grand Avenue. The Methodist Church is a fine new structure which was completed in 1926 and is located just beside the big South San Francisco High School. The Catholic Church is a large stone building near the center of town and was completed five years ago.

The South San Francisco Grammar School is now under the direction of Mr. Albert Kleemeyer. Mr. Kleemeyer began his work in South San Francisco as manual training teacher under Superintendent George E. Britton, who as superintendent of all the schools was one of the most popular and best known men of the city. Mr. Britton died of "flu" in 1919. The principal of the high school is Mr. Guy J. Rooney. Mr. Rooney has had charge of this higher branch of education for the past four years and has a fine faculty and an enthusiastic corps of teachers.

Three of South San Francisco's citizens are represented in the county offices at Redwood City. Mr. Thomas L. Hickey is supervisor of the first township. Mr. Ambrose McSweeney is tax collector and Mr. George A. Kneese is county surveyor of San Mateo County.

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