Biography of Carlos B. Lastreto
San Francisco, CA Biographies





CARLOS BARTHOLOMEW LASTRETO
For many years Carlos Bartholomew Lastreto has been prominently identified with business activities of San Francisco as president of the large importing and exporting corporation which bears his name, and is also well known by reason of his cultural attainments. He was born in this city on the 3d of May, 1867, a son of Luigi Felix Lastreto, who was a native of Santa Margherita, Italy, and was reared and educated in that country. Crossing the Atlantic in the '50s, the father came direct to San Francisco, where he entered the employ of Nicholas Larco, head of the largest importing and exporting house in this city. This concern maintained a large fleet of sailing ships and carried on an extensive trade with Latin American and other foreign countries. In September, 1875, Luigi F. Lastreto severed his relations with the house of Larco to enter the importing and exporting field independently, securing quarters in the old Merchants Exchange building. As the years passed the business continued to grow and he remained at its head until 1905, when he went abroad. He lived for eight years in Germany, Italy and France, being in Paris at the time of his death, which occurred in August, 1913. In compliance with his last wish, his remains were brought back to San Francisco for interment, to the city which he loved above all others, and he was laid to rest in the consecrated ground of Holy Cross Cemetery at the age of seventy one years. In San Francisco he was made a citizen of the United States and became an adherent of the republican party. In the activities of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce he took a prominent part and served on various committees of a commercial nature. He was appointed consul of Nicaragua and then again later consul general; he also served as consul of Ecuador. Mr. Lastreto was a Catholic and a man of high moral worth, esteemed and honored by all who knew him. His wife, Charlotte (Parain) Lastreto, was a native of Paris and a member of one of the titled families of France. Although an aristocrat by birth and breeding, her father was in full sympathy with the common people and gave up his rank and estates to aid in the movement which led to the overthrow of the French empire and the establishment of a republican form of government. Following his death in the early '50s his widow and daughter Charlotte sailed for America, establishing their home in San Francisco, and were numbered among the social elite of the city. Here the daughter was married to Luigi F. Lastreto, whom she survived for eight years, passing away in 1921, when she had reached the seventy fifth milestone on life's journey. She had become the mother of two sons, Carlos Bartholomew and Emilio, the latter a prominent attorney of San Francisco.

After attending the public schools of his native city Carlos B. Lastreto matriculated in St. Ignatius College, from which he received the Bachelor of Arts degree in 1885 and that of Master of Arts in the following year. During 1887 he was a member of a surveying party sent out by the Pacific Improvement Company and also aided in locating the line of the Southern Pacific Railroad. In 1888 he returned to St. Ignatius College as an instructor and later in that year became a dynamo operator in the San Francisco plant of the California Electric Light Company. The year 1889 was devoted to the task of mapping and surveying the island of Santa Cruz and in 1890 he became a commercial traveler in Central and South America for the Stockton Milling Company and also for B. Dreyfus Si Company, succeeded in 1894 by the California Wine Association of San Francisco. Meanwhile he had become interested in his father's business, of which he took charge when the latter's eyesight began to fail. In 1900 he was made manager of Lastreto & Company, importers and exporters, who incorporated their interests November 4, 1904. They import fruit, coffee, hardwoods and other kindred lines from Mexico, Central and South America; and from China and Japan, oriental goods, silks, matting, etc., for reexport to Latin America. They are also large exporters of Pacific coast products to Latin America and of fresh fruits to Europe. They are now located at 260 California street, where they have one of the foremost institutions of the kind in the city. It is true that Mr. Lastreto entered upon a business already established but in controlling this many a man of less resolute spirit or more limited capacities would have failed. On the contrary, he has wrought along the line of progress and expansion and the results achieved have been most gratifying.

On the 31st of August, 1903, Mr. Lastreto was married in San Francisco to Miss Ella Adams, of St. Louis, Missouri, and during the winter season they make their home in the Huntington apartments at 1075 California street, San Francisco, while the summer months are spent in their country place at Atherton, in San Mateo county. A lover of nature, Mr. Lastreto has acquired an intimate knowledge of birds and their habits and is also well informed regarding flags and heraldry. During 1917, while he was a new member of the Rotary Club, the general use of flags on all buildings was urged, and on being appointed one of the flag committee, Mr. Lastreto became intensely interested in the study of the proper use of flags. He is now considered an authority on this subject, having collected all of the authoritative books thereon from every country, including several extremely valuable English, French and Spanish works. Newspaper organizations are referring all matters pertaining to the correct use of flags to Mr. Lastreto. An accomplished linguist, he is able to converse fluently in Spanish, Italian and. French and is now engaged in the study of German. Through travel as well as study he has broadened his outlook upon life, visiting South America, Central America, the Orient and the countries of Europe and gleaning much useful information during his trips abroad.

Mr. Lastreto has been very active in behalf of the Boy Scouts of America and in 1905 was appointed district commissioner of the organization. In 1922 he was elected a member of the executive board of Boy Scouts and he is still a member of the local executive board of the organization. In the affairs of the Audubon Association he has figured prominently, being its organizer and serving for three terms as its president; as ex president of the Cooper Ornithological Club he is one of its board of governors. He also belongs to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Seismological Society of America, the California Academy of Sciences, the American Ornithologists Union, the American Meteorological Society and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. An expresident of the Green Coffee Association, he occupied the office for five and one half years, resigning in 1927, is a member of the foreign trade commission and has been chairman of the Latin American committee for two terms. He is likewise identified with the Commercial Club, the Rotary Club, the Commonwealth Club, the Olympic Club, the Young Men's Institute and the Alumni Association of St. Ignatius College.

His religious views are in harmony with the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, and in politics he is a republican with independent tendencies. Mr. Lastreto is a broad gauged man. whose influence has always been given in support of those plans and measures which are seeking the benefit of the individual and of the race and his work along the line of moral and cultural development has been just as effective and far reaching as his efficient efforts in the field of business.

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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