Among the wide awake and progressive business men of Berkeley, none takes precedence over Charles Houser, who is
conducting a prosperous confectionery, soda fountain and cigar store at 2001 San Pablo avenue. He is essentially
a self made man, his success being due to his initiative, his energetic methods and his sound judgment, while his
splendid personal qualities have won for him many warm friends throughout the community. Mr. Houser was born in
Port Clinton, Ottawa county, Ohio, on the 11th of April, 1890, and is a son of Henry and Sena (Holm) Houser, the
former a native of Pennsylvania, while the latter was born in Denmark. His father, who was a plasterer and brick
mason, died in San Jose, California, in 1914, at the age of fifty nine years, and subsequently his widow became
the wife of Hans Damker and now lives at 1118 Cowper street, Berkeley. To Henry and Sena Houser were born eight
children, of whom five are living, namely: Charles; Emma, the wife of Chris Simonson, of Gilroy, Santa Clara county,
this state; Edward, who is a brakeman on the Southern Pacific Railroad and lives in Berkeley; Fred, who works for
the Fleishman Yeast Company in Albany, California; and Peter, who is owner of the Berkeley Express and Storage
Charles Houser began his educational training in the public schools of his native town, continuing in the schools
of Racine, Wisconsin, to which city the family had moved when he was nine years old. He then took a commercial
course in the Wisconsin Business College, at Racine, meeting his expenses through his employment by Peter Nelson,
who owned a large confectionery store, candy factory and hotel and with whom Mr. Houser gained his practical knowledge
of the confectionery business. On completing his education, he entered the employ of the Corliss Company, at Corliss
(formerly Western Union Junction), Wisconsin, there remaining until 1909, when he came to California. He found
employment in San Francisco. in connection with the confectionery, restaurant and hotel business. He joined the
Hotel and Restaurant Employees' Association in Oakland, and in July, 1915, was duly elected its secretary and gave
his whole time and attention to his duties until 1917, when he returned east, visiting the principal cities of
the east and middle west, returning to California in time to enlist in the World war, in the spring of 1918, as
a member of Company F, Thirty first Infantry Regiment. He was in training at Camp Fremont and in September, 1918,
was ordered overseas, his regiment being assigned to the Siberian expeditionary forces. He crossed the Pacific
to Japan, and thence to Siberia, where he was first stationed at Vladivostok. later being at Spaskoe and Rasdonia.
They were very uncomfortably situated, the cold being intense and accommodations scanty, and they were engaged
in a desperate guerilla warfare, in which his regiment lost seven and one half per cent of its men, a heavier loss
than was sustained by the army in France. He was returned home in October, 1919, and was honorably discharged at
San Francisco. with the rank of corporal, October 15th.
On returning to civil life, Mr. Houser made an extended trip of investigation, looking for a satisfactory location,
and in August, 1921, engaged in the confectionery business at 2215 Rose street, Berkeley, near the university.
He was fairly successful there, but his real success came when he moved to his present location. at the corner
of University and San Pablo avenues, where he has built up a splendid business. He manufactures much of his own
candy, in the making of which he uses only the very best ingredients, while the prompt and efficient service which
he gives to his patrons has won their favor and good will.
Mr. Houser has taken a keen interest in Berkeley and has given freely of his time and labor to the advancement
of its commercial and civic interests. He is a member of the city planning commission; is a member of the Affiliated
Commercial Club, of which he was president for two years; the West Berkeley Commercial Association, of which he
was president for three years; the University Avenue Development Association, the Chamber of Commerce, the City
Commons Club, and the Berkeley Kiwanis Club, of which he is a director. He belongs to the Fraternal Order of Eagles
and the American Legion, and gives his political support to the republican party, serving as a member of the county
central committee. Cordial and affable in manner and standing for the things really worth while in the life of
the community, he commands the confidence and esteem of all who know him and is regarded as one of the representative
men of his city.
History of Alameda County, California
BY: Frank Clinton Merritt
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chicago, Ill 1928
Alameda County, CA
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