The Valley of Heart's Delight

Financier, Horticulturist, Legislator
Sunnyvale , Santa Clara County Pioneer


   Those forces which have contributed most to the development, improvement and benefit of California have received impetus from the labors of Hon. Charles Clifton Spalding, financier, horticulturist and legislator, whose life record has been a credit and honor to the state which has honored him.  He is distinctively a man of affairs and one who wields a wide influence, while in all that he undertakes he is actuated by high ideals that seek the benefit both of his home locality and of the state at large.

   A native of Iowa, he was born at Horton, in Bremer County, seven miles north of Waverly, November 5, 1864, his parents being John F. and Olive (Partridge) Spalding.  They were natives of New York, whence they removed to Iowa, and in 1900 they came to Sunnyvale, Cal., where the father successfully followed agricultural pursuits until his demise. The mother survives and is yet living in Sunnyvale.  The two surviving sisters and one brother of Mr. Spalding are Minnie L., the wife of C. L. Stowell, of the Stowell Realty Company of Sunnyvale; Myrtie L., who married O. F. Pierson, a well-known orchardist of Sunnyvale; and the brother, C. W. Spalding, also of Sunnyvale.

   Reared on his father's farm in Iowa, C. C. Spalding attended the common schools of Bremer County.  When nineteen years of age he taught school for a winter, then he clerked in a large store in Waverly, Iowa, until he was twenty-one years of age, when he bought out a general mercantile establishment at Horton, Iowa.  Five years later his brother, C. W., bought half interest in the store, which they conducted as Spalding Bros. for some time, when they engaged in the wholesale grocery business at Algona, Iowa.

   In 1900 Mr. Spalding came to Sunnyvale, arriving here at an early period in its development, and he has since laid out several additions to the town.  He also helped to organize the city government, and was elected its first treasurer, serving in that capacity ever since, and aiding materially in promoting the development and upbuilding of the town, which now has its own fire department and modern domestic water system and a fine grammar school, while a union rural high school, patterned after the Chaffee Union high school, is soon to be erected near Sunnyvale for pupils in the Cupertino, Sunnyvale and Mountain View districts.  Mr. Spalding, who is a member of the board of trustees, has done everything in his power to raise the standard of the schools in his community and the cause of education finds in him a strong advocate.

   He is deeply interested in the agricultural and horticultural development of the Santa Clara Valley and in association with his brother, C. W. Spalding, and F. D. Calkins purchased a 250 acre ranch at  Sunnyvale, which they have brought under a high state of cultivation.  It is given over to the growing of peaches, apricots, prunes and cherries, all developed from stubble, and it has one of the largest pumping plants in the county, having a capacity of 2100 gallons per minute.  Mr. Spalding was one of five who became the organizers of the California Prune & Apricot Growers, Inc., and he was elected a member of the board of trustees in 1921, receiving the largest number of votes ever cast in favor of a candidate from this district, which is a very important one, comprising Santa Clara, Contra Costa and Alameda counties.

   In financial circles, too, Mr. Spalding occupies a foremost positon.  He was the organizer of the Bank of Sunnyvale, of which he was made cashier while W. E. Crossman became its first president, and two years later he was succeeded in that office by Mr. Spalding.  They erected a substantial bank building and in 1919 the institution was sold to P. M. Landsdale, of Palo Alto, who in the following year disposed of his interests to the Bank of Italy, its present owners, who are about to build a new brick and reinforced concrete bank building at a cost of $35,000.  The Bank of Italy stand high among the financial institutions in the state and Mr. Spalding has been chosen as manager of its Sunnyvale branch.  He is well versed in the details of modern banking and is promoting the success of the institution by progressive, systematic work.

   Mr. Spalding's marriage occurred in San Jose in 1911, uniting him with Miss Jessie A. Parkman, a native daughter of San Jose and a graduate of the State Normal.  She was an educator, teaching in the San Jose schools for eighteen years and during a portion of this period she was a member of the county board of education.  They are blessed with one son, Charles C., Jr., now nine years of age.

   For years a member of the Republican County Central Committee, his fellow-citizens, recognizing his worth and ability, have called Mr. Spalding to other important public offices and in 1906 he was elected a member of the thirty-seventh California Legislature, serving for one term, taking a active part in passing important legislation, one of his measures being a bill to rebuild the State Hospital at Angew after the earthquake and fire, securing an appropriation of $800,000.  In November, 1920, he was elected to represent his district in the forty-fourth General Assembly, by the people of his district.  He is making a splendid political record, characterized by marked devotion to duty and the fearless defense of whatever he believes to be right, looking ever beyond the exigencies of the moment to the opportunities and possibilities of the future.  He is chairman of the committee on banks and banking and is also a member of the committees on agriculture; hospitals and asylums; motor vehicles; normal schools; road and highways; and state grounds and parks.  He was one of the organizers and is a prominent member of the local Chamber of Commerce, of which he is chairman.

   Mr. Spalding was made a Mason in Waverly Lodge, A. F. & A. M., in Iowa, and demitting, became a member of Mountain View Lodge, No. 198, F & A. M., and is now a charter member and treasurer of Sunnyvale Lodge, No. 511, F. & A. M.  He is also a Scottish Rite Mason of the 32nd degree, a member of Islam Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S., of San Francisco, and with Mrs. Spalding is a member of Sunnyvale Chapter, O. E. S., of which he is past patron.  He also is prominent in the Odd Fellows, Elks, Knights of Pythias, Modern Woodmen of America, and the Mountain View Grange.

   Pre-eminently public-spirited, his interest and cooperation can always be aroused in behalf of any project for the welfare of county or state.  His efforts are of a most practical character, the sound judgment of an active business man being manifest in all of his opinions concerning the best methods of improving the city along lines of material and intellectual progress and municipal growth.  His activities have touched the general interests of society to their betterment and Sunnyvale, Santa Clara County and the state have benefited by his co-operation and initiative spirit in many ways.

Transcribed by Joseph Kral, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 380



SANTA CLARA COUNTY -The Valley of Heart's Delight

July 17, 2005