Placer County








            It is interesting to chronicle the career of the successful businessman, and especially the career of one who, starting out as a youth, worked his way upward and by his perseverance and well-directed energy accomplished his ambitions and became one of the principals in building up a large plant employing hundreds of men, a plant that in turn was the means of building up his town.  Such a man is Albert James Gladding, vice-president and manager of Gladding, McBean & Company, manufacturers at Lincoln.  A native of the great Prairie State, he was born at Chicago, Illinois, September 8, 1858, a son of the late Charles Gladding, the founder of Gladding, McBean & Co., who is represented on another page of this history.

            Albert J. Gladding is the only one living of the four children born to his parents.  His childhood was spent in Chicago and in Riverside; and he received a good education in the excellent schools of those cities.  He remembers well the stirring times of the Civil War, when his father was at the front, and also the sad bereavement of his mother.  Then, later, he was awed by the great Chicago fire in 1871, though at that time the family was making their home at Riverside.

            His school days being over Mr. Gladding came to Lincoln, Placer County, with his father in June, 1875; and took an active part in starting the nucleus of the present business, in which he has become such a dominant factor.  Thus he took up pottery manufacturing from the bottom, working in the different departments and learning the manufacture of architectural terra cotta, tile, brick, and pipes, in all of its details, gradually assuming the management of the plant and thus relieving his father, who retired and spent considerable time in travel.

            The growth of the plant of Gladding, McBean & Co., whose products are now shipped to every portion of the civilized world, has been remarkable.  Charles Gladding, the founder, was president of the company until the time of his death, when Peter McG. McBean became president and A. J. Gladding, first vice-president.  This position Mr. Gladding has filled ever since, having the general management of the entire plant.  Thus he has seen it grow from a very small and insignificant beginning until it is one of the largest and most successful manufacturing establishments in the west.  A concise account of the founding and growth of this extensive concern, and of its present status and operations, was furnished by Mr. Gladding for the historical section of this volume, and will be found in Chapter X, History of Placer County, in the description of Lincoln.

            A big fire in July, 1917, wiped out the greater portion of the plant; but the firm rebuilt immediately, erecting fire-proof structures built of concrete and clay building blocks of their own manufacture; even the stairs throughout the building are of concrete.

            The company owns an area of 400 acres, all within a mile of the plant, which is located on a portion of the tract.  On this tract there are two separate clay pits, worked down to the water-level, and said by government geologists to be the most wonderful clay deposits and finest-looking clay pits they had ever seen in the United States.  The manufactured product is shipped all over the United States, Canada, and Mexico, and into different portions of the world, including Hawaii, the Philippines, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.  It is but fair to state that when the Public Library and the city Auditorium were built in Lincoln, this company gave the clay products building material for their construction; and they also gave a great portion of the same kind of material for the construction of the New Union High School.

            A little more than a year ago Mr. Gladding and his associates purchased the Tropico Potteries, Inc., at Glendale, Calif., which they are now conducting, Mr. Gladding serving as vice-president of the company.

            Interested in agriculture, Mr. Gladding owns a ranch of 1,400 acres, the old E. J. Sparks ranch on Coon Creek, which is devoted to raising grain, stock, and fruit.  He has also been a builder-up of the city of Lincoln in more ways than one, being one of the organizers of the Bank of Lincoln, of which he is now the president.  He is a member of the California Farm Bureau, the Elevator Corp., and the Farm Bureau Exchange.

            The marriage of Mr. Gladding occurred on the old Chandler Ranch near Nicolaus, on June 13, 1883, when he was united with Miss Carrie Augusta Chandler, a native daughter, born on the Chandler place.  Her father was the late ex-State Senator Augustus Lemuel Chandler, a Vermonter who became a California pioneer of 1852, and who is represented on another page in this history.  Mr. and Mrs. Gladding have ten children.  Mrs. Lois Gladding Williams was graduated at the Girls’ Academy on California Street, San Francisco; and she now makes her home in Berkeley.  Charles, a graduate of Placer Union High School, is superintendent of Gladding, McBean & Co. at Lincoln.  Augustus Lemuel graduated at Rutgers College where he majored in ceramics.  He is in the offices of Gladding, McBean & Co. in San Francisco.  Anita Lucile is a graduate of Mills College and the San Francisco Art School, and makes her home in that city.  Grace Chandler is a graduate of the College of the Pacific Conservatory of Music, and also of the San Jose State Normal School.  She is now the wife of Frank Dickey, and they make their home in Taft.  Albert Chandler was educated at Oakland Polytechnic School and Davis Agricultural College, and is serving as assistant superintendent of Gladding, McBean & Co. at Lincoln.  He served in the U. S. N. R. F., in the Officers’ Training Camp, Mare Island, during the World War.  Doris Bloomfield and Dorothy Noyes are twins, and both are attending the University of California; while Helen Adeline attends Stanford University, and Caroline Jane attends Miss Head’s school in Berkeley.  The children had completed high school studies before entering upon the higher courses.

            It was largely through the efforts of Mr. Gladding that the city of Lincoln was incorporated.  He was elected a member of the first board of trustees and served more than twenty years, being chairman of the board for several terms.  With the late John Hoening he aided in preparing the first city ordinances, and he has taken a most active part in the needed improvements, such as the water system, sewers, and electric lights, the water system being installed while he was mayor.  He was a leader in organizing the Lincoln Union High School, and served as a trustee; and it was during this time that the new high school was built.

            Prominent fraternally, Mr. Gladding was made a Mason in Gold Hill Lodge No. 32, F. & A. M., at Lincoln, in which he is a past master.  He is a member of Delta Chapter No. 27, R. A. M., and Gateway Council No. 13, R. & S. M., both of Auburn; and Marysville Commandery No. 7, K. T.; and is a life member of Islam Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S., in San Francisco.  When Friendship Chapter No. 67, O. E. S., was organized at Lincoln, Albert J. Gladding and Miss Carrie A. Chandler became charter members; and at that time the acquaintance was formed which began the romance of their life and resulted in their marriage.  Mr. Gladding is a past patron of the chapter, while Mrs. Gladding is a past matron.  All of their sons are Masons, and the daughters are members of the Eastern Star.  Mrs. Gladding is a member and past president of the Woman’s Club at Lincoln.  Being interested in the cause of education, she has served efficiently as a member and clerk of the board of trustees of the Lincoln grammar schools.  For many years also, she has been active in the great Frances Willard movement for temperance, serving as president of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union for Placer County.  Mrs. Gladding holds membership in the Congregational Church and contributes generously to its benevolences; and her efforts have wielded a wide influence for good, and for a higher moral standard.  A firm believer in protection, Mr. Gladding is a stalwart and influential Republican.  He is very active in civic affairs, and is a member of the various chambers of commerce in the county, and in San Francisco, as well.  During the World War Mr. and Mrs. Gladding were active in aiding the Liberty Loan and other allied war drives to a successful issue, and in forwarding the work of the American Red Cross.

            Deeply interested in the growth and welfare of his adopted county and city, for which he has always been very zealous, Mr. Gladding aids in his liberal and progressive way the various movements that have for their aim the development and upbuilding of the community, and the enhancing of the happiness and comfort of the people.




Transcribed by V. Gerald Iaquinta.

Source: “History of Placer & Nevada Counties, California”, by W. B. Lardner & M. J. Brock. Pages 449-452. Historic Record Co., Los Angeles 1924.

© 2013  V. Gerald Iaquinta.




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