Biography of Harry W. Gaetjen
San Francisco, CA Biographies





HARRY WILLIAM GAETJEN
A well known citizen of San Francisco who has achieved success entirely through his own determined efforts is Harry W. Gaetjen, who is now the president of the Empire Planing Mill at 750 Bryant street. Mr. Gaetjen was born in San Francisco, February 27, 1882, and is a son of the late John Henry William and Emm (Pahl) Gaetjen. John H. W. Gaetjen was born in Bremen, Germany, and in that city was reared and educated. In the early '60s, he crossed the ocean to the United States, landing in New York. He worked his way as a butcher along the eastern coast, then crossed the Isthmus of Panama, and came directly to San Francisco. After his arrival he was employed by the Pacific Glass Company, and in later years of his life he engaged in the liquor business. His death occurred October 8, 1908, when he was in his sixty eighth year. His wife was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, and came to San Francisco with her parents when she was three years old. Her parents were Mr. and Mrs. Richard H. Pahl, and she was the oldest of five children. She was educated in San Francisco, and lived here until her death in 1895, when she was only thirty five years of age. By her marriage to Mr. Gaetjen, she was the mother of three sons, of whom Harry W. is the only survivor.

Harry W. Gaetjen obtained his education in the grade schools of San Francisco and in the Polytechnic high school, from which he graduated in 1900. After completing his studies, he became an apprentice in the old Pacific Planing Mill, where he specialized in cabinetmaking. He then followed this occupation ac a journeyman until 1906, in which year he became a draftsman with the Empire Planing Mill. His work was highly satisfactory and he manifested rare ability therein, with the consequence that he steadily rose in the ranks of the employes. In 1912, he became superintendent of the plant, and in 1919 he was promoted to the position of president and manager, with one third interest in the business itself. The Empire Planing Mill is one of the largest in San Francisco and employs on an average, ninety people. A general line of mill work is done by this concern. The business was established in 1903 at 745 Bryant street, but a quarter of a century ago it was moved to its present address at 750 Bryant street.

Mr. Gaetjen was married in San Francisco, November 8, 1906, to Miss Pauline A. Schlink, who was born in this city, and is a daughter of the late Thomas and Sarah (McDevitt) Schlink, both of whom were members of old families of the bay district. Mr. and Mrs. Gaetjen have become the parents of three children. Norma May was born in 1908, and Harold Thomas and Walter Henry, twins, were born in 1910. The family residence is situated at 555 Forty fifth avenue.

Mr. Gaetjen was a captain for fourteen years in the Independent Rifles, a noted military organization, and the greater part of its success was due to his efforts. He was forced to relinquish outdoor activity, however, on account of an injury, but yet retains his membership. He is a republican in politics, and his church is the Lutheran. He belongs to the Native Sons of the Golden West, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the National Union, and the Steuben Society. Along with his success in business life, he has been equally successful in his social career and in his manifestation of good citizenship. He is recognized as one of the stable men of San Francisco.

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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