Pioneer Family of Santa Cruz
San Jose Master Plumber

Bio- Sawyers

An expert plumber who has rapidly come to the force in San Jose is Melvin Joseph Arana, of 371 West San Carlos Street, at which headquarters he has been manufacturing various kitchen and other practical utensils of such a novel design as to command unusual attention.  He was born in Santa Cruz on January 14, 1888, the  son of John Arana, also a native of Santa Cruz and a farmer , the son of a pioneer of 1850, who was drawn to California by the rush for gold.  Later he went into San Luis Obispo County, and there engaged in the raising of cattle.  He lived to be seventy-four years of age.  John Arana married Miss Santa Rodriguez, of the family so well known as early-timers and stock-raisers, and herself a native of Santa Cruz.  She attended Notre Dame College in San Jose in the early period of that institution, and became an artist in weaving worsted cloth with faces, images and fancy designs in variegated colors of such real merit that many of her masterpieces were exhibited at the Panama-Pacific fair in San Francisco in 1915.  Grandfather Rodriguez came to San Francisco as a pioneer and lived on the sand hills where Golden Gate avenue and Devisidero Street now cross. John Arana acquired a large farm of 700 acres in Santa Cruz County, at Arana Gulch Twin Lakes, and there he raised cattle until he returned to Santa Cruz, where he died.  The mother now resides in San Francisco.

Melvin Arana, familiarly called by his many friends "Mel," attended both the grammar and high schools of Santa Cruz, and when a young man took up the plumbing trade with Alexander Tait in Santa Cruz, remaining in his service about twelve years.  He then went to San Francisco and worked for eight years for the Scott Company.  In June, 1920, he came to San Jose and opened a plumbing shop; he is a very fine mechanic and an excellent and honest workman, and such has been his progress, development and prosperity that he is now in a position to do the plumbing and steam fitting of the largest types of public and office buildings. He wa in charge of all the plumbing and steam-fitting for he largest types of public and office buildings. He was in charge of all the plumbing and steam -fitting on the Faith, the concrete vessel built during the war, at Redwood City, by the Government as an experiment in concrete vessels, and partly as a both the cause and the result, he is now planning the manufacture of concrete laundry trays and sink combinations.  He has already bought the plot of ground  in East San Jose where he intends to build and manufacture these fixtures. "Mel" Arana has certainly done much to increase industrial activity in San Jose; and as a Republican he has always favored that legislation most like to steady and improve business.  He is an enthusiastic member of the  Master Plumbers' Association of San Jose.

On June 30, 1912, Mr. Arana was married at San Francisco to Miss Estella M. Francis, a native of Buffalo, N. Y., when a young man, and there he married. They brought their family to San Francisco when Estella was a small child; she was the third oldest of their six children and received her education in the Lincoln school in San Francisco.  Mr. and Mrs. Arana have been bless with one child, Evelyn. Mrs. Arana is an accomplished and attractive woman who studied singing and dancing under the best teachers in San Francisco.  She made a success as a vocalist and dancer, teaching fancy dancing to a  large class. From a small child she displayed marked ability as  a dancer; when only seven year old, she played with Florence Roberts in the old California Theater in San Francisco, and afterward as a toe dancer, gave performances at the old Grand Opera House.  She had flattering offers after her marriage, but she gave up her career, preferring to devote all of her time to her home.  Their daughter, Evelyn, inherits the same talent from her mother, having been taught by her mother from a child, and from the age of four years she danced on the state, and David Belasco pronounced her a child wonder.  During the late war baby Evelyn gave eight months of her time and talent for the Red Cross and benefits to the soldier boys.  She has had many flattering offers from Belasco, Fox and others, but her parents thought it wiser for her not to accept them, very naturally wanting thier baby at home with them, and she is now among the bright pupils of the Lincoln grammar school .  Mr. Arana is a member of the Maccabees and it goes without saying that Mr. and Mrs. Arana are recipients of their share of well-deserved popularity.
Transcribed by Carolyn Feroben, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922, page 1303-1304