The Valley of Heart's Delight

Willliam Radtke-

Santa Clara County Pioneer

SURNAMES: Blanken,Loewen

William Radtke-An enterprising, thoroughly competent contractor whose executive ability has been well demonstrated at Gilroy, is William Radtke, who was born at San Francisco, on March 11, 1888, the son of August Radtke, a cooper by trade, who had established himself in business at San Francisco in 1886. He retired to take up orcharding inthe Santa Clara Valley, and for a number of years he farmed near San Jose in the Hamilton district, and passed away in August, 1916. He had married Miss Adelheid Blanken, who proved a devoted wife and an affectionate mother, and attended conscientiously to the elementary schooling of her son, sending him to the Hamilton Grammar School. At the age of fourteen, the lad went to work at the Enterprise Foundry, owned by John Roll of Santa Clara, but six months later he went into San Francisco to enter the employ of Robert Hall, the machinist. Not long afterward, he took up the carpenter trade, serving a three-year apprenticeship in the employ of Charles Stockholm; and by the time he had reached his eighteenth year, he had done some small jobs in contracting, and decided to work for himself.

Among the first contracts completed were those for the Los Altos Grammar School, the private residence of Paul Shoup, the president of the Southern Pacific Railroad, at Los Altos; the Ed Seifert Garage at San Jose, and the bridge across Guadalupe Creek at West Santa Clara Street, in San Jose. In 1913, he concreted the reservoirs for the City of Gilroy, which impounds the water-supply for Gilroy and conserves some 8,500,000 gallons of water. The year previous, Mr. Radtke came to Gilroy, and since then he has contracted the very finest of all the buildings in the town. During 1921 alone, he successfully completed over $250,000 worth of contracts in Gilroy, and in addition he was also almost constantly busy with one contract or another in the suburban or rural districts. Among the larger buildings in Gilroy are the Louis Hotel, and Masonic Buildings.

At Oakland, on March 21, 1912, Mr. Radtke was married to Miss Clara Loewen, and their home life has been made brighter by two children, both boys, John William and Thomas Madsen Radtke. Mr. Radtke is both a Mason and an Odd Fellow; and although a Democrat by national political preference, he has shown such broadminded nonpartisanship that his fellow-citizens have honored him with membership in the city council.


Santa Clara County History