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California Genealogy and History Archives

Biographies
of
San Bernardino County and Riverside County

 

ERNEST G. BUTTON Riverside is not alone noted for its magnificent development in the fruit-growing industry, but is equally prominent because of the stability of its manufacturing interests, which compare favorably with any of those of the Southwest. The men connected with the carrying on of the multiform lines of business in this locality are thoroughly experienced and bring to their concerns a ripened judgment and wide knowledge of men and affairs. One of them worthy of extended mention in a work of this class is Ernest G. Button, member of the firm of Button Brothers, whose connection with the sheet-metal industry and the automobile trade is one of long standing.

Ernest G. Button was born in Ontario, Canada, October 5, 1882, a son of William Button. A complete sketch of the Button family is given elsewhere in this work. Growing up in his native province, Ernest G. Button attended its excellent public schools and the Collegiate Institute of Clinton, Canada. Following the completion of his studies he engaged in the hardware business, in 1902, at Guelph, Ontario, Canada, and conducted it for two years. He then went to Moosejaw, Ontario, Canada, where he was occupied with clerking for two years, leaving there to go to Shelborn, where he bought a hardware business and was occupied with it until 1911. In the meanwhile his father had come to Riverside, California, and finding conditions here very desirable, he wanted his son to join him. Therefore Mr. Button disposed of his business at Shelborn and came to Riverside, where he has since remained.

With his brother, W. Stewart Button, whose sketch appears elsewhere, Mr. Button purchased the sheet metal business they still own, and at different times the young men had several partners, but finally bought their interests and are now operating under the name of Button Brothers. When they first, went into the business the brothers manufactured orchard heaters, which they shipped all over the country, but later added the production of canteens, ovens, gas furnaces and similar goods, and these are still manufactured and have a large sale.

 In 1916 the brothers took over the Chevrolet automobile agency, and later the agency for the Scripps-Booth auto, and they have popularized these two makes in all parts of the county and have been very successful. Ernest G. Button manages the sheet-metal business, and his brother is in charge of the automobile branch of their activities. The brothers do a general contracting business in sheet-metal work in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, largely in heating and ventilating. Their plant is equipped with the most modern machinery, and they take care of all classes of work in their line. This plant, which is located on Fifth Street and the Santa Fe tracks, was erected bv them and later, when they had need of them, they put up two more buildings as additions to their plant.

Mr. Button, however, has not confined his operations to an industrial life, for he is largely interested in and is a director of the Arabic Date Company, which Has 120 acres in the Coachella Valley, thirty-four acres of which are planted to dates. This producing acreage is being extended as fast as possible, for it has been demonstrated that the finest dates in the world can be raised in this valley, and the demand for them far exceeds the present supply.

During the world war a permanent organization was formed to carry on all drives for funds, and E. G. Button was the chairman of the Factory Employes division. It was through this division of the organization that the work of raising money among the employes during the war was greatly simplified. In addition to his services in this connection Mr. Button also made himself valuable as a member of the National Guards and the Home Guards.

He is a republican in his sentiments, but Mr. Button has not been very active in politics since coming to this country, although in Canada, he participated quite extensively in public affairs, and on several occasions represented his party as delegate to the conventions from the riding in which he was residing. Raised a Blue Lodge Mason in Canada, he served his lodge as master, and now belongs to the Chapter and Commandery of Riverside, being past high priest of the former. Interested in local organizations Mr. Button maintains membership with the Riverside Chamber of Commerce, in which he is chairman of the Industrial Committee, the Business Men's Association and the Rotary Club. The Presbyterian Church gives expression to his religious faith, and he has long been an earnest member of it.

On September 7, 1910, Mr. Button married at Wingham, Canada, Miss Edith Emily Gregory, a native of Canada and a daughter of Thomas Gregory, a grain merchant of Wingham. Mr. and Mrs. Button have one child, Gregory, who is a student of the public schools of Riverside.

Mr. Button is not a man to be content with the attainment of success in the industrial life of his city, excellent and desirable as this is. The walls of his factory do not and cannot mark the boundaries of his visions, his interests, his affections, his purposes. He cannot become a mere business machine. Home, friends, the public welfare and matters of wide human interest call for his assistance and attention. The strong, high-minded business men of Riverside have been quick to admire his work and to admit him into the noble brotherhood of those who put conscience above gain, honor above self. He has always possessed high ideals of business honor and held close to them in all of his operations. Like many of the foremost men of this country and his own native land, he has made his way to an assured business success by untiring diligence, patient industry, sterling integrity and steadfast unswerving purpose. A man of public spirit, devoted to the public good, he has done much to advance the prosperity of his adopted city and country, and may be relied upon to always maintain his deep interest in promoting the efficiency of the different agencies for the development of better conditions and the upholding of the highest standards of morality and right living.

 

Source:
History of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties 
By: John Brown, Jr., Editor for San Bernardino County 
And James Boyd, Editor for Riverside County 
With selected biography of actors and witnesses of the period 
of growth and achievement.
Volume III, the Western Historical Association, 1922, 
The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, ILL

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011