The power of the press led Joseph Maier to Glendale. Born in 1845 near Stuttgart, Germany, the young boy read about the California Gold Rush and dreamed of coming to the United States.
He and his wife, Fanny, arrived in 1873. Their two sons, Fred and Herman, were born in Cleveland. After a move to Chicago, Maier read an ad promoting Glendale in the local newspaper, further stoking his childhood dreams of living in California, according to family historian Bob Maier, the fourth generation Maier to live in Glendale.
The Maier family arrived when Glendale was transitioning from a very small settlement into a town. They purchased property in the northern tip of the Childs Tract. (The tract, one of the first real estate deals after the huge Verdugo land grant was partitioned in 1871, was subdivided into 37, 10-acre parcels in 1882, according to Glendale Area History, published in 1981.) They built a house on Oak Street between Adams Street and Verdugo Road and the elder Maier worked as a pattern maker at Baker Iron Works in Los Angeles.
When his wife died in 1893, Joseph Maier bought a family plot in what was then Grand View Cemetery, now Grand View Memorial Park, one of the few burial grounds then in existence. Fanny Maier was among the first to be buried there. Joseph Maier remarried and later built a new home at 250 N. Adams. The new house had just been completed when he passed away in 1910.
His oldest son, Fred, the second generation Glendalian, attended Glendale High School and worked at Baker's before starting his own company, Mechanical Pattern and Foundry Works, which made street lights for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and supplied materials for the city's aqueduct.
According to family history, Fred Maier drove home from work via Verdugo Road, where, as a boy, he used to hunt jack rabbits. When he and his wife, Lucia, built a new home, he recalled his childhood hunting grounds and selected a lot nearby, at 1355 Hilda Ave., as noted in the Glendale Evening News, Jan. 9, 1920. Their daughter Jeannette was born in 1920, and son Robert in 1922. Like his father, Fred Maier only lived in his new house a short time. He had a heart attack waiting for a red light on Figueroa Street and died in 1928.
Third generation Glendalian Robert Maier grew up on Hilda Avenue and also went to Glendale High. He and his wife, Josephine had three children — Richard, Diane and William (Bill). Robert Maier died in 1975. His sister, Jeannette Maier Engle, who turns 90 in October, lives in North Hollywood.
Fourth generation resident, Bill Maier, a builder for more than 30 years, now lives in Tujunga. He has three children from his first marriage to Peggy O'Neil — daughters Julie and Natalie live in Portland, Ore., while son Adam lives here with wife Jackie and their two daughters, Nicki and Samantha, the sixth generation to live here.
Bill Maier married Leslie Leck in 2003 and has a stepson, Nicholas. He credits his role as historian at Lakeside Country Club with igniting an interest in his family's six generations here. As relatives give him documents and memorabilia, he and his daughter Natalie, who shares his love of family history, are documenting his family's unique story.
Katherine Yamada's column runs every other Friday. To contact her, call features editor Joyce Rudolph at (818) 637-3241. For more information on Glendale's history visit the Glendale Historical Society's web page at http://www.glendalehistorical.org; call the reference desk at the Central Library at (818) 548-2027; or visit the Special Collections Room at Central (open by appointment only).
Readers Write: "Bob's Big Boy at Verdugo Road and La Crescenta Avenue was a hand-down favorite in our family," wrote Kathy Reger Souza. "Our favorite was the No. 9 breakfast that included pancakes and bacon and a mug of hot chocolate to wash it down. I loved looking at all the Big Boy merchandise for sale and grabbing an "Adventures of the Big Boy" comic book upon arrival.
If you have questions, comments or memories to share, please write to Katherine Yamada/Verdugo Views in care of the News-Press, 111 W. Wilson Ave., Suite 200, Glendale, CA 91203. Please include your name, address and phone number.