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California Genealogy and History Archives

Biographies
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Sacramento County

 

WILLIAM BECKMAN

The increasing financial and business prosperity of Sacramento finds a striking illustration in the magnificent structure erected by the People's Savings Bank and utilized not only as the headquarters of their own large concern, but also in its upper stories for office purposes. Men who are familiar with all the leading banks of the Pacific coast assert that in its interior equipment and elegance of appointments the new structure has no superiors. Not only is it the tallest business building in Sacramento, but in addition it ranks as the best in the Sacramento valley, and no one who has studied its architecture and design fails to accord to its projectors the heartiest admiration. Much of the credit for the success of the enterprise is given to the president of the bank, William Beckman, who not only took a leading part in the organization of the concern more than thirty years ago, but in addition has moulded its financial policy, shaped its conservative course of procedure and so wisely guarded its investments that the institution proudly boasts a record of having never lost a loan. 

Although by parentage and nativity an easterner (for he was born in Herkimer county, N. Y., December 19, 1832) Mr. Beckman is a typical westerner in his habits of thought, plans of action and temperament of mind. This comes somewhat from his business training in Chicago, whither he went at an early age and where he earned his livelihood as an employe in a business house until he was led to identify himself with the unknown possibilities of the Pacific coast. The year 1851 found him a newcomer in Sacramento, where the following year he embarked in business. During 1858 he removed to a farm in Sacramento county and for fifteen years he engaged in agricultural pursuits at Florin. Attaining prominence in the county, for six years he efficiently served as a member of the board of supervisors. During 1875 he became the Republican nominee for state treasurer, but suffered defeat with the balance of the ticket. Later his services to his district received recognition in his election in 1891 as a member of the state railroad commission, where he continued for four years.

Under the tactful and enterprising leadership of Mr. Beckman, who had become well known in many avenues of activity throughout the west, the People's Savings Bank was organized and opened for business in July of 1879. Long residence in the valley had given him a thorough knowledge of the soil, people and conditions, so that he possessed exceptional advantages for the banking business. His reputation as a successful man of affairs and captain of industry won for the bank a general prestige and a confidence which guaranteed its success. Associated with him in the founding of the institution was John L. Huntoon, now vice-president and a member of the board of directors. The cashier, A. G. Folger, has been connected with the bank for twenty-one years and entered upon the duties of his present position during 1896, since which time he also has been made a member of the board of directors, whose other members are the president and vice-president, also George W. Lorenz and J. J. Keegan. The monthly report of the bank October 6, 1912, showed total resources of $4,543,59.3.32, with deposits of $3,920,155. The capital of the bank is $455,852.90 and the surplus and undivided profits $62,450.77.

About thirty-two years after the establishment of the bank it removed from its early location on the corner of Fourth and J to the new building on the corner of Eighth and J streets, in the heart of the city's newer financial and business district, four blocks above the old headquarters. The new bank, erected at a cost of over $275,000, comprises a building of seven stories with steel frame, enclosed by reinforced concrete walls, which are faced with white terra cotta. The architectural design is strikingly handsome, with a heavy base of two stories, a rounded front corner and a wide projection cornice of artistic terra cotta. The six floors above the banking quarters are divided into fifty-four office rooms, handsomely finished and equipped in the most modern way, with artistic lighting fixtures, mahogany woodwork and steam heat. The concrete office floors are covered with battleship lineoleum and the corridors with marble tiling. Two fast elevators serve the upper floors.

Source:
History of Sacramento County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: William L. Willis
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1913)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011