John Andreson, Sr., a prominent business man and capitalist of San Bernardino, passed away a number of
years ago, but he is remembered, and will be in the years to come, as one of the most progressive, altruistic
and worth-while citizens of the pioneer period. He did not make it his home from previous contemplation, but
when he did see it he relinquished all other plans and became a loyal resident. From his first residence he
showed his faith in it by purchase of a home and a business, and later on he built more pretentious business
buildings and hotels, and always he worked individually for the best interests of the city, and much of her
progress and improvement is due to his efforts and his money. He wanted the best of everything for his
adopted home just as he did for himself, for he erected the best of buildings and nothing but the best ever
satisfied him in work for the commonwealth and for himself. He wanted an unhampered development of the
city and he succeeded in many of his plans, practically in all, for the word failure seemed to have been
eliminated from his vocabulary. His public record speaks for him now as in the time to come and is worthy of
Life was not always smooth and easy for Mr. Andreson, for he made his own way in the world, but his path
always led upward, each enterprise a stepping stone to something higher, something better. Born in another
country, he was one of the most patriotic of citizens, loyal to the land of his adoption and its flag. He came
from Denmark, which has given so many sturdy men to America, when a young man, and America is the
better for his coming.
Mr. Andreson served his city and county in public office many times, most satisfactorily, as well as the state,
but he was not overly fond of official life and only accepted such positions when he thought it was his duty. A
follower of the sea in early life, indoor confinement and detail irked him. He led an interesting life, first the
sea, then the life of a prospector in the really "wild and woolly" days, and then the adventures of pioneering
in the making of a city.
Mr. Andreson was horn in Schlcswig Holslein, Dominion of Denmark, January 28th, 1834, and came to South
America as a cabin boy in 1850 on a sailing vessel around Cape Horn. He landed on Peruvian Guano
Islands, where they loaded and remained a short time, then went to Liverpool, England. He came back again
in 1852, on the same boat, and spent six months in the Argentine Republic and then came to California,
around the Horn. He was a seafaring man along the coast for many years, owning vessels in San Francisco
Bay. He also ran a river boat up the Sacramento, engaged in the grain business.
In 1861 he started a grocery business in San Francisco, but the occupation was too sedentary for him and
he could not stand its confinement, so in 1863 he sold out and went to Arizona, mining and prospecting for
several years. He next went to La Paz, Arizona, and with a practical brewer he started a brewery there which
was very successful, accumulating what was considered in those days quite a fortune, mostly in gold dust. He
returned to California in 1871, intending to settle in San Francisco, but he stopped in San Bernardino on his
way, and went no farther.
His first act was to buy an acre of land on the northwest corner of Third and E streets, on which was a small
brewery. He enlarged the plant to a thirty barrel daily capacity and ran it until 1884, when he sold out his
interest in the brewery. He had in the meantime erected a brick block on the property in 1872. In 1887 he
built the Andreson Building, a three-story brick block considered at that time the best in the city. It contained
eighty rooms and was occupied by the St. Charles Hotel, with offices and stores on the ground floor.
In 1888, with H. L. Drew, Mr. Andreson built the Post Office Block, corner of E and Court streets, and he was
also one of the owners of the Stewart Hotel. He was one of the organizers of the Farmers Exchange Bank,
served as a director from its organization and was afterward its president. He served several terms as a
county supervisor and also as city trustee and as a member of the Library Board. He was appointed a
director of the State Insane Hospital by Governor Waterman. Mr. Andreson was one of five men who
purchased the land where part of the Santa Fe Depot now stands, and was one of the committee of five
purchasing the above land, which was afterward taken up by public subscription and given to the Santa Fe
for its station.
Mr. Andreson was in his youth a democrat, but changed to the republican party, although he never adhered
blindly to party lines, voting always for the men he considered best qualified for the positions they were
seeking. His fraternal connection was with Phoenix Lodge No. 178, A. F. and A. M.
Mr. Andreson married Emma Knapp, a native of Pennsylvania; she passed on, and Mr. Andreson died
January 14, 1912, in San Bernardino. They were the parents of five children, Emma, wife of O. H. Kohl, of
San .Francisco; J., Jr., William J., of San Bernardino; Frances L., wife of Walter Kohl, of San Bernardino; and
Edmund Knapp, deceased.
John Andreson, Jr., is the eldest son of John Andreson, one of San Bernardino's early pioneers, capitalists
and prominent financiers, and is himself a prominent factor in the financial and business life of the city in
which he was born.
John Andreson, Jr., was born in San Bernardino on January 7, 1873, and he was educated in the private
schools of the city and in Sturges Academy, from which he was graduated. His first essay in business life was
in surveying for the Santa Fe, but he was with them only a short time when he entered the Farmers
Exchange Bank as a collector, filling various positions up to cashier and then vice president. He was in the
service of the bank for sixteen years, from 1892 to 1908, when he resigned, though he is now and has been
for twenty years a director.
Mr. Andreson is a director in many corporations and has varied interests, being also president and manager
of the Andreson Company, which was incorporated to hold the Andreson estate intact. He has an aptitude for
finance and organization, and his long training in the former has made him a prominent figure in financial and
Mr. Andreson, in addition to all his other duties, has found time to serve the past six years as a member of
the Board of Education, and was two years on the Library Board.
Mr. Andreson married in 1900 Minnie Riley, a daughter of C. F. Riley, of San Bernardino. They are the
parents of two children: Laura Frances and John, Jr.
His fraternal connections are with San Bernardino Lodge No. 348, A. F. and A. M.; Keystone Chapter No. 56,
R. A. M.; St. Bernard Commandery No. 23, Knights Templar; Al Malaikah Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S.; and
thirty-second Scottish rite Mason. He is also a member of San Bernardino Lodge No. 836, B. P. O. E., of
which he was a charter member; Knights of Pythias, and Arrowhead Parlor No. 110, Native Sons of the
Golden West, of which he was grand trustee in 1920.
Mr. Andreson is a republican in politics.