Land Developer of San Jose

 Bio-Pen Pictures

        Among the men who have come to the front and made themselves prominent factors in the march of affairs in San Jose and Santa Clara County within the past few years, is Charles M. Schiele. His success in business and real estate operations since his coming here in 1880, has been extraordinary, and demonstrates what can be accomplished when active and fearless enterprise is coupled with good judgment and the knowledge how to handle large operations judiciously.

        A native of Furstenthum, Anhalt, Prussia, where he was born in 1850, he was at an early age thrown upon his own resources. Leaving school soon after his thirteenth year, he commenced learning the grocery business, at which he continued three years. Not satisfied with the progress he there seemed to be making, he shouldered his knapsack and traveled to seek his fortune. At Leipsic he was employed in a hotel, where he remained two years, there receiving his first knowledge of hotel business and carefully saving his small wages. From here he went to Berlin, where he was again employed in hotels and restaurants. On the breaking out of the Franco-Prussian War, he took his place in the reserve corps of the German army, being at first engaged in the construction of fortifications at Metz. In a severe attack by the French on Metz, he was wounded in front of that town and carried to the hospital, where he remained until the close of the war, when he was discharged from service. He then traveled through Europe for two years, visiting Paris, Vienna, Italy, and finally England, from which place he embarked for America, arriving in New York in 1872.

        Here he found himself with thirty-five cents in his pocket, but soon had employment, having positions in various hotels during his stay in that city. He also spent some time in hotel work in Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City. In 1874 he removed to the Pacific slope, engaging as a miner at Virginia City. Entering the shaft for the first time, the hot, stifling air was too much for him; he fainted and had to give up the work. He, however, tried the work again at other locations, until stricken down with typhoid and brain fever, with which he suffered in the hospital for several months. On his recovery he went to Marysville, California, where he again engaged in hotel work, keeping a place as waiter steadily for three years. Here he was married, in 1876, to Miss Ellen Riordan, a native of Ireland, and from that time he dates his success in life. A year after their marriage they removed to San Francisco, having accumulated a snug little bank account. In San Francisco he secured a good place in a hotel and added a few hundred dollars more to his capital.

        In 1880, in company with two other gentlemen, he purchased the furniture and fixtures of the other house, which they remodeled and named the Pacific Hotel. After a little he purchased his partner's interests and conducted the business alone, adding the Cosmopolitan Hotel, which was near by, to accommodate the ever increasing patronage. His knowledge of the business was of great value, and he succeeded well, investing his surplus funds in well-selected loans on real estate, and in some fortunate speculations. At the beginning of 1877 he saw indications of an approaching rise in real estate values about San Jose, and made a purchase of 240 acres adjoining the city on the east, for $36,000. Since that time he has been interested in buying up tracts of land in the Santa Clara Valley, dividing them up and selling them in smaller lots, in which he has met with marked success. One tract he sold to Easton, Eldridge & Co. for $85,000; another, of 175 acres, set out in fruit, he sold for $45,000, and he has disposed of several other large tracts. He now has 300 acres near the Willows, which he is about to divide and sell in ten and twenty acre lots. He has lately purchased a magnificent property on the Alameda (formerly the Alameda Gardens, belonging to John F. Hill, of San Francisco) for which he paid $75,000. This he is now laying out in town lots, having cut a street through the property from the Alameda to Stockton Avenue, which he has
donated to the city, and which will be called Schiele Avenue. It will be put and kept in first-class condition, with every modern improvement—stone side­walks, gas and water pipes, while between the side­walks and street will be planted shade trees of fine varieties. This property comprises fifteen acres, and will be divided into about seventy lots fronting on the Alameda and Stockton Avenue, both the most beautiful and fashionable avenues in San Jose, and on the new street, Schiele Avenue, having the electric rail­road on the Alameda on one side, and the Stockton Avenue cars on the other. He proposes during the coming winter to set out a prune orchard of 100 acres on one of his ranches near Alma. In October, 1887, he sold out his hotels, in which he had been unusually successful. Mr. Schiele is one of our solid citizens, and thoroughly believes in the future and capabilities of the Santa Clara Valley.

        He is a member of the City Council of San Jose, from the First Ward, and although a Democrat in politics, was elected in a strong Republican district, not as an active politician or as a partisan, but as a business man having in view the best interests of this city. He is a member of Allemania Lodge, No. 78, I. O. O. F., and of the San Jose Turnverein.

        To Mr. and Mrs. Schiele were born four children, one of whom died in early childhood. Those living are: Frederic Karl, Karl Frederic, and Ellen Frederica. His parents were Frederic and Louisa (Weden) Schiele, both natives and life-time residents of Rieder, Anhalt-Bernburg, Prussia, where they died, his father at the age of seventy-two, and his mother at the age of sixty-five years. The subject of this sketch has a brother, Frederic, and a sister, Frederica, both married and residing in their native place. Mrs. Schiele's parents are Daniel and Ellen (Welch) Riordan, natives of Dooneen, County Cork, Ireland, where they still reside.


Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.

Pg. 495-496



SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight