Biography of Peter J. Dreher
San Francisco, CA Biographies





PETER JOHN DREHER
A resident of California for forty five years, Peter John Dreher is widely known through his effective efforts in behalf of its citrus fruit industry, also achieving prominence in financial affairs, and is now living retired in Long Beach. He was born in the principality of Birkenfeld, a dependency of the grand duchy of Oldenburg, Germany, June 4, 1848, and in 1855 came to the United States with his parents, Carl Johann and Katherine (Kreis) Dreher, who settled in Illinois. In that state he acquired his early education, afterward attending Rohrer's Business College of St. Louis, Missouri. He conducted a general merchandise store at Lenzburg, Illinois, which town he laid out. In 1886 he left Illinois on account of ill health, crossed the continent to California and the following year opened a real estate office in Pomona. Endowed with foresight and keen powers of discernment, he early recognized the fact that the citrus fruit industry was destined to become one of the chief sources of California's wealth and greatness, and in 1893 formed the Claremont Cooperative Fruit Growers Association, of which he was elected president. In the same year he was instrumental in inaugurating the present exchange system of cooperative marketing of citrus fruits by the growers themselves and also originated the plan of cooperative associations with capital stock shares of limited powers. In 1894 he organized the Indian Hill Citrus Association to succeed the Claremont Cooperative Fruit Growers Association, and in 1896 became general manager of the San Antonio Fruit Exchange, a clearing house of sales agencies. Mr. Dreher conceived and originated a plan for mutual indemnity by associations of the district exchanges in case of fire losses. The indemnity compact is still in force and has resulted in great savings to the citrus growers. In 1904, Mr. Dreher was selected as a director and chairman of the marketing committee of the California Fruit Agency. He became a charter member and the first vice president of the California Fruit Growers Exchange, of which he was later made president, and became a member of the executive committee and chairman of the railroads committee in 1905. In 1907 he became a charter member, vice president and member of the executive committee of the Fruit Growers Supply Company and in 1920 was called to the presidency of the company. A recognized authority upon matters relating to the sale and marketing of fruit, Mr. Dreher prepared figures and statistics on the ratio of shipments precooled by shippers, and was the principal witness in the hearing before the interstate commerce commission in 1910. His opinions and his advice have been eagerly sought along business and financial lines and his sound judgment insures the value of his counsel. He became a director of the Bank of Italy in 1912 and in 1921 was elected a director of the Bancitaly Corporation. He assumed the duties of vice chairman of the Los Angeles board of the Bank of Italy in 1912 and in 1922 was made a member of the Long Beach board of that institution. Later, when it became a national bank, Mr. Dreher continued as a director until the latter part of 1930, when he resigned on account of impaired health.

On the 1st of November, 1869, Mr. Dreher was married to Miss Margaret Griebel, of Belleville, Illinois, who passed away December 22, 1927. They were the parents of six children: Mrs. Anna D. Dudderar, Mrs. Lina D. Brink, Charles J. Dreher, Gustav P. Dreher, Edward L. Dreher, and Fred L. Dreher, whose sketch follows this.

Peter J. Dreher votes with the republican party and takes a keen interest in civic affairs but has never sought public office, preferring to remain in the background. Fraternally he is identified with the Masonic order and the Order of the Eastern Star. His home is at 455 East Ocean boulevard, Long Beach. Endowed with the qualities of the leader, he has erected the guidepost of progress and of success, and in all of his labors the public has been either a direct or indirect beneficiary. Mr. Dreher has played well his part in life and is known and honored throughout the state of his adoption by reason of his long, upright and useful career and the notable service he has rendered to the citrus fruit growers of California.

From:
The History of San Francisco, California
Lewis Francis Byington, Supervising Editor
Oscar Lewis, Associate Editor
The S. J. Clark Publishing Company
Chicago-San Francisco 1931


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