Business, fraternal, social and political interests of Oakland find a progressive and worthy representative in Frank W. Bilger, whose interests have extended to many fields touching closely the general development of this community. He is president, treasurer and general manager of The Oakland Paving Company and has a record of able and far-sighted service as president of the Chamber of Commerce. He has been active in the support of various progressive public measures and his name has come to be regarded as synonymous with development and progress in this locality.
Frank W. Bilger was born at Willow Springs, Jackson county, Oregon, August 2, 1868, a son of William F. and Pauline (Hauser) Bilger, both of German ancestry. His education was acquired in San Leandro, Alameda county, where the family moved in 1874 and where he remained until 1883, after which he spent two years working upon his father's farm at Vacaville, Solano county. Tiring of this, he secured employment in 1885 in Bowman's drug store in Oakland as errand boy, window washer and general handy man. During this time he entered the department of pharmacy at the University of California and was graduated in 1889 with the degree of Ph. G. Pending his intended entrance into the Cooper Medical College, he secured a position as collector for the Oakland Paving Company and, becoming interested in this line of work, rose rapidly to the position of bookkeeper. On the death of one of the owners he was elected a member of the board of trustees and later was made secretary, treasurer and general manager. He is now president of the company, which position his initiative spirit and executive ability make him eminently well qualified to fill. In 1905 Mr. Bilger, with Anson S. Blake, organized the Blake & Bilger Company, contractors for all kinds of work connected with the paving business. Although he has labored for his individual success, he is also interested in the general business advancement of the city and for years promoted this in an intelligent and able way as a director of the Oakland Chamber of Commerce. During the period of his service the membership in this body was greatly increased and his work proved so valuable that in 1906, on the consolidation of the Chamber of Commerce with the Board of Trade, he was made first vice president of the organization, of which he was elected president in the following year. In his official capacity and as a private citizen he took an active part in the relief work following the fire of 1906 and was truly a Good Samaritan to those afflicted in that disaster. Mr. Bilger organized the Harbor Bank in 1907 and served as its first president, inagurating the policy of progressiveness, tempered by a safe conservatism, to which its directorate has since adhered. He is recognized in business circles as a resourceful and discriminating man, whose sagacity is far-reaching and whose integrity is beyond question.
In Oakland, on the 19th of December, 1894, Mr. Bilger was united in marriage to Miss Carrie S. Siebe, a daughter of George Siebe, for many years an official in the San Francisco customhouse. Mr. and Mrs. Bilger have four children--Anson S., Marion A., William F. and Frank W., Jr.
Mr. Bilger is prominent in Masonic circles in California and was the organizer of the Alameda County Shriners Club. He was instrumental in having the Imperial Council grant a charter for Aahmes Temple, Oakland's new shrine, and in 1910 was elected first illustrious potentate of this temple. He is a member of the Yuerba Buena Lodge, A. F. & A. M.; Oakland Chapter, No. 36, R. A. M.; Oakland Commandery, K. T., and Oakland Consistory, A. & A. S. R. He is connected with St. Philip Conclave, Red Cross of Constantine, M. P. Sovereign.
Mr. Bilger is also well known in local republican politics and stands high in the councils of his party, his public service having been always of the most intelligent and discriminating kind. For a period of six years he was chairman of the city central committee and in 1905 he managed Mayor Mott's campaign. He was also state campaign manager for Alden Anderson, candidate for governor in 1910, and he has done important political work along this line. Besides the Oakland Chamber of Commerce he is a member of the Merchants Exchange, the Oakland Commercial, the University of California, Athenian, Nile and Deutscher Clubs, the Woodmen of the World, the Loyal Order of Moose, the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, the Union League and the Royal Rosarians of Portland. He is the tenth member of the Society of American Magicians and was one of the organizers and the first secretary of the Vernon Heights and Lake Shore Improvement Club. He also belongs to the Claremont Country Club and is fond of outdoor sports, especially hunting and fishing. He is a member of the San Francisco Fly Casting Club, going to the Sierra Nevada mountains and to Lodge on the Truckee river. He is a man of varied interests, practically all of which he has made forces in progress, and for many years the influence of his ability and personality have been a constructive element in the advancement of the community.
Past and Present of Alameda County California, Vol. II
Published in Chicago by The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1914
Transcribed by Linda Jackson 7/9/2008, Pages 440-442