California Genealogy and History Archives
San Bernardino County and Riverside County
HERMAN RUDOLPH HERTEL — Both as a merchant and as a public spirited citizen Herman Rudolph Hertel set a standard of conduct and character that Southern Californians will do well to cherish in grateful memory. His home and business interests were at Pasadena though his influence was not confined altogether to that city.
He was a native son, born at Healdsburg, California, in 1862. As a young man in 1887 he came to Pasadena, and founded in that young city the Bon Accord, the first large dry goods store of Pasadena. To that business he devoted his time and energies the remaining years of his life, and he kept the store apace with the growth of the city. The best tribute to his career as a business man is found in resolutions adapted by the Pasadena Merchants' Association, from which the following paragraph is taken :
"Pasadena is again called upon to pay tribute to a good man. It mourns its loss, but consoles itself with the reflections that the souls of the truly good live beyond the grave. Herman R. Hertel, was such a man. Honored by being called to many public offices, which he filled not only with distinction to himself, but with great credit to our city, he was a merchant of the type that stands for high ideals, one who constantly endeavors to help those who were in need, yet his benefactions were bestowed in such a manner as not to provoke praise. As president of our Merchants' Association, he gave his best, and that was good. In all the transactions of life Herman R. Hertel was the soul of honor, and was often entrusted with important affairs with implicit confidence, and he never failed to "render a satisfactory account of his stewardship. He was held in the highest esteem, and his loss is deeply deplored by the community at large."
He had in later years extensive financial and investment interests besides his dry goods store. He was a director in the Pasadena National Bank, served as president of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, president of the Rose Tournament Association, president of the Merchants and Manufacturers Association and as a director in several corporations. He is remembered in Pasadena also for his liberal philanthropy, particularly in behalf of educational institutions. When Bob Burdette resigned from the Board of Park, Police and Fire Commissioners on March 7, 1908, Mr. Hertel consented to become his successor, though these official duties were necessarily in the nature of a sacrifice of his business, since the office was not one of remuneration. He devoted himself to work with the same zeal he showed in his own business. After finishing out Doctor Burdette's term in May, 1911, he was reappointed by Mayor Thum, and served until Pasadena adopted the commission form of government. As member of the Board of Police, Fire and Park Commissioners he was looked upon as head of the fire department. It was at his suggestion that the first change was made from horse drawn to motor propelled vehicles.
Herman Rudolph Hertel, who died at his home in Pasadena June 16, 1915, was a member of the Overland and Altadena Country clubs, was a Presbyterian, a Scottish Rite Mason, and was regarded as one of the leading whist players of Southern California. He was a republican in politics. He married Emma Westerfeld, a native of San Francisco. She survives him at Pasadena and their five children consist of two daughters and three sons: Anita of New York City; Elmer L. of Hemet; Mina, at home; Herbert associated with his brother Elmer in business ; and Francis of Ventura.
Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011