California Genealogy and History Archives
San Bernardino County and Riverside County
CHARLES A. BOECK, of Redlands, can claim a residence in this part of Southern California for more than a quarter of a century. He is a business man who early mastered the practical side of citrus culture, and his financial standing in the community is evidence that his efforts have been more than ordinarily successful.
Mr. Boeck was born December 6, 1871, at St. Louis, Missouri, and he grew up in that city and acquired a good knowledge of business under his father, the late Adam Boeck. Adam Boeck was born in Frankfort, Germany, February 9, 1838, and came to America in 1853, when he was fifteen years of age. He landed at New York and spent the remaining fifty cents he then possessed for a pocket book which attracted his attention. His first employment was as a striker for a blacksmith. While working during the day he attended night school, studied bookkeeping, and accepted every opportunity to qualify himself for a career of usefulness as an American citizen. Going west to St. Louis, he was employed by a real estate firm known as Webb & Caine, and subsequently entered that business for himself as one of the firm of Greather and Boeck. The title of this firm was frequently mispronounced, and one day an Irishman entered the office and inquired for "Mr. Get there and back." Adam Boeck was in business continuously for half a century. He enjoyed the especial esteem and confidence of the large German element in the population of St. Louis. His knowledge of real estate conditions and his ability brought him such clients as Hetty Green and Jay Gould. When the Gould interests undertook to build the great Union Passenger station at St. Louis Mr. Boeck was intrusted with the responsibilities of purchasing agent for the Gould interests. The district now covered by the great station and the train sheds was then completely built over with residences. Mr. Boeck bought all this property preparatory to the erection of the depot. In 1888 he acquired the interests of his partner. About that time he brought his personal capital of a hundred thousand dollars to Southern California and invested in real estate in San Diego. For a time his property increased until he was probably worth a million, and then came the deflation when he lost heavily and returned to St. Louis. He earned several fortunes through his real estate business. He was not a speculator in real estate, and most of his wealth came from earned commissions. He believed in practicing the principle of doing what had to be done immediately. That characteristic once earned him a commission of a hundred thousand dollars on one transaction. Requiring the signature of certain parties to papers to close the deal, he went to the home of the party at midnight, woke him out of bed, and had the deal practically closed when early the next morning nine of his competitors sought out the same party for a similar purpose.
In 1906 Adam Boeck returned to California and located at Los Angeles, where he loaned his money on real estate, but lived practically retired at Hollywood, where his death occurred November 2, 1918. At the age of twenty-nine he married Mary Kriechbaum at Des Moines, Iowa. She died at their home in Hollywood in 1913, at the age of sixty-seven. They were the parents of six children : Nellie, born in 1867, now Mrs. Ball, living in New York; Walter, born in 1869, who died at Los Angeles in 1908; Charles A.; George, born in 1875, who succeeded to the real estate business of his father in St. Louis; Mabel, born in 1878, and died at the age of five years; and Percy A., horn in 1882, now a resident of Los Angeles.
Charles A. Boeck grew up and acquired his education in St. Louis, and for ten years had more or less active association with his father in the real estate business. He arrived in California March 1, 1894, and at that time planned to learn thoroughly and engaged in the citrus, fruit industry. Before investing any of his capital he worked for Mr. Drinkwater of Corona, a man who specialized in the care of groves. His first hundred dollars of capital he made and .saved through physical labor. Later he was employed by Mr. Hatch of Redlands, with whom he worked three months for his board in order to learn the bee industry. In 1897 Mr. Boeck bought seven and a quarter acres from George Gray, this acreage being set to navel oranges. The purchase price was forty-three hundred dollars. His practical knowledge and increasing experience has made him one of the very successful orange growers of Riverside County. He has always treated his trees for scale by the use of kerosene in the dormant season, and his grove has regularly passed inspection. On this land at a picturesque spot on Highland Avenue he erected the beautiful modern home, which he sold in June. 1921. This home was built by day labor. At that time it was possible to secure carpenters for two dollars and a half a day of ten hours. He consequently completed the house at a cost which was three thousand dollars less than the highest bid submitted by any contractors.
After completing his home he married, in 1898, Miss Pearl Bangle. Mrs. Boeck was born near Oxford, Mississippi, November 26, 1875, daughter of Henry Worth and Mary Bangle. Her father was a Mississippi farmer, and after coming to California secured Government land in the Perris Valley. Mrs. Boeck was educated in California schools. She is a member of the Holiness Church and an energetic and consistent Christian who has given much of her time to charity in addition to presiding over her beautiful home. Mr. and Mrs. Boeck have one child, Grace, born December 24, 1901. She is a graduate of the Redlands High School and is now attending Southern Branch of the University of California, preparing for a teaching career. She is specializing in higher mathematics and is also a talented musician.
After selling their Redlands home Mr. and Mrs. Boeck purchased an attractive home at North Hobart and Melrose streets in Los Angeles, where they now reside.
Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011