The Valley of Heart's Delight

BENJAMIN O. CURRY- Miner, Horticulturist, Banker, Real Estate

Native of Norway-----

SURNAMES: Hakemoller

-Foremost among the enterprising and progressive men of affairs in Santa Clara County, where he is a successful horticulturist, banker and realty operator, in Benjamin O. Curry, who came to California nearly a half century ago. He was engaged in mining for about twenty years, when he purchased land at Campbell, which he improved and during these years, he also built up a large clientele in the realty business, in all of which he has attained signal and splended success.

A native of Norway, Mr. Curry was born May 7, 1852, being reared on a farm and in that healthy atmosphere grew up to be a strong athletic young man, at the same time receiving a good education in the public schools of his native health. Not satisfied with the the narrow confines of that country, he resolved to cast in his lot with the land of the Stars and Stripes, of which he had heard, as well as read, good reports. Arriving in New York City in 1872, he made his way to Marquette County, Mich., where for a period of about two years he followed mining. In March, 1874, he came to California and proceeded to Eureka County, Nev., where he propected and mined for ten years. During these years he studied the English language, completing a course at the Eureka Business College. In his prospecting he became one of the discoverers of the Black Rock mining district in Nevada, which in time proved a valuable mining field. His operations included both Eureka and white Pine counties. In 1884 he came to Elderado County, Cal., engaging in mining on gold mines as well as timber lands in the high Sierras, where he spent the summers.

Mr. Curry was married in Eldorado County in 1891 being united with Miss Carrie Hakemoller, a native daughter of Eldorado County, where her parents were very early pioneers, a union that has proven a very happy one. During his years of mining Mr. Curry's vacations were spent in different parts of California looking for a permanent location. One vacation was spent in Santa Clara Valley and his admiration was so great he decided on it for a permanent home. In 1891 he purchased land near Campbell and began improve-ments by setting out an orchard and building a residence and other neces-sary buildings. While his orchard was growing he saw the possiblities in the real estate business and started dealing in farm and city property at Campbell, and he is now one of the prominent real estate men in the county. After several years of successful business, the town grew with the surrounding country and he saw the need of a business building; he planned and erected the Curry Building, a modern two-story brick and concrete business block. It is centrally located on a corner and artistically designed after the mission style so as to present a beautiful appearance to either street. In this building are located some of the most important offices of the city, among them, the post office, a drug stroe, and his own real estate office, and a number of other on the second floor. A few years ago Mr. Curry bought eighty acres on Union Avenue, known as the Fountain Farm, there being forty acres in vineyard and forty acres in French prunes. He also had a ten-acre orchard in the foothils near Los Gatos, so for years he operated 100 acres of orchard and vineyard. He has since disposed of all but his home place on Park avenue. He has been the preident of the Improvement to the city and he also served as school trustee for nine years. He was the pro-moter of a new busiiness block in Campbell, now occupied by the Growers' National Bank, a moving picture theater, and three stores. This building cost more than $60,000, a great improvemnet to the city--it not only made a bea-utiful office building, but lends to atmosphere of properity that makes an impression on travlers looking for locations. In 1920 Mr. Curry was one of the principal organizers of the Grower's National Bank, which has been a success and fills a local long felt want and he has been the president since its organization.

Mr. Curry, with his wife and three children, resides on the old home place. Myrtle was educated at the Conservatory of Music of the College of the Pacific, afterwards studying under celebrated violinists, and has become an accomplished musican. Olva and Ethel graduated from the San Jose State Normal and for several years were engaged in educational work. The Curry home is attractive, showing much culture and refinement and here they make their numerous friends welcome with a true California hospitality. Politically Mr. Curry is a Republican and cast his first vote for Gen. U. S. Grant. He is a member of the San Jose Chamber of Commerce, as well as a charter member of the San Jose Commerial Club. He is also a member of the State Real Estate Association. As stated above, he is an expresident of the Campbell Improvment Club and has been an Odd Felllow since 1876; he was one of the organizers of Morning Light Lodge No. 42, I.O.O.F., Campbell. The California Automobile association also numbers him among its members and he has always been a strong advocate of good roads. Mr. Curry has always been a booster for cooperation, believing it is the only way to make a success of the marketing of fruits, thus he has been a member of every cooperative fruit organization in the valley, at present being a member and ardent supporter of the California Prune & Apricot Growers, Inc. With his wife and daughers, Mr. Curry is a member of the Congregational Church at Campbell, and he is a liberal contributor to its bene-volences. A man of pleasing personality, Mr. Curry is liberal and kind-hearted and has ever been ready to assist those less fortunate than himself, and all movements that have for their aim the upbuilding of the town and county receive his hearty support.

Transcribed by Marie Clayton, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,
 published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 404