Biography of William B. Larkins
San Francisco, CA Biographies





WILLIAM B. LARKINS
William B. Larkins, proprietor of the firm of Larkins & Co. at Geary and Arguella streets in San Francisco, California, is of the second of the three generations of his family to be associated with this excellent business, now one of the country's largest repairers and manufacturers of automobile and truck bodies, and the outgrowth of the carriage making shop established by his father sixty six years ago. Mr. Larkins was born in San Francisco, January 21, 1869, and is a son of the late William and Sarah (Nicholson) Larkins.

William Larkins and his wife came to San Francisco from Boston, Massachusetts, in 1865. He was a carriage maker by trade, and in the year mentioned established a carriage shop on Sumner street near Montgomery street. He later moved to Howard street between Second and Third streets, where he was in business until the fire of 1906. His next address was in the Mission district, whence he removed to California and Van Ness. In 1913 William B. Larkins purchased the business from his father and finally, in 1920, moved to the location of the present manufactory, the building formerly having been the Geary street car barns. The plant at present is considered one of the best equipped and lighted of any in the country. A large force of men is employed during normal times, and automobile and truck bodies are made from the raw material to the finished, polished product. Larkins & Co. have a widespread reputation for the supreme quality of their work. William Larkins built the first buggy ever constructed in San Francisco, and it was exhibited at many places. The nature of the work at the Larkins plant, as in other carriage manufactories, was changed by the advent of the automobile, and at the same time a greater prosperity came through the automotive industry. From the time of the old side spring buggies, which were the pride of the elder Mr. Larkins, and for which he received a medal from the Mechanics Institute at the fair in 1865, to the present, when modern bodies are made, the policy of the company has been high, and they have adhered to it year after year without deviation; hence the unsurpassed success they have achieved.

William B. Larkins attended the Mission grammar school and also a business college. Even while in school he assisted his father in the latter's carriage shop, obtained a most comprehensive knowledge of the work, and as a consequence gradually relieved his father from many responsibilities. At the time of the elder Larkins' death, he held full charge of the operation of affairs, and he has continued along the same traditional lines, with marked efficiency and honorable procedure, until the present. Corresponding to his own early experience, he has given the same opportunity now to his three sons, all of whom are associated with him in the business, and inspired with the pride they hold for those who have preceded them.

On June 26, 1894, Mr. Larkins was married to Miss Elizabeth McIntosh, a native of San Francisco, California, and to their union have been born four children, as follows: Allan, Bertram, Kenneth, and Marian. There are eight grandchildren in the family.

Mr. Larkins is an interested member of the Native Sons of the Golden West, and belongs to the Knights of Columbus and the San Francisco Rotary Club. His political allegiance is given to the republican party. He is a steadfast supporter of worthy civic projects, and his cooperation is never refused in anything he considers of local benefit. He belongs to the Geary Street Merchants Association, the Clement Street Merchants Association, and the Park Presidio Association. Motor touring is his favorite recreation.

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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