Highly esteemed as a public benefactor, and active in the early development of El Monte, was Dr. Fredrick P. Cave, who opened the first drug store here and also built up a large practice as a physician.
Dr. Cave was born in Montreal, Canada, March 26, 1853. His parents were natives of Ireland, coming to America and settling in Vermont, where they resided for many years. Dr. Cave attended the public schools of his home community, and on completing his academic education, he taught school for a number of terms near his home in Vermont. He later attended, and was graduated from, the New York Medical College in New York City.
Coming to California in the fall of 1888, Dr. Cave stopped for a few months in Monrovia, following which he came to El Monte. Energetic and enterprising to a marked degree, he immediately began the practice of medicine, and in due time, built up a large practice. In 1892, he built and opened a drug store on Main Street, a short distance east of Lexington Avenue. This was El Monte’s first drug store and filled a long felt need. At about this time he also built a nice residence a short way southeast of his drug store, and in 1896, he contracted for the erection of a large hall across the street from his drug store. This was known as Cave’s Hall, and for many years was the main place of meeting for public gatherings. It was a large two-story structure, the building was destroyed by fire in 1913.
Dr. Cave later acquired a walnut grove east of Puente, and also bought a home and other property in Los Angeles. June 23, 1883, he was married to Ettie M. Arnold. Little information is available regarding Mrs. Cave, other than she was a native of Peru, New York. To Mr. and Mrs. Cave were born three children, all of whom are still living, namely: Mable A. Garrett, of Santa Ana; Arnold S. Cave of Redondo Beach and Fredrick P. Cave of Oakland.
As a side issue, Dr. Cave invented an acetylene gas light for home and office use, many of which he manufactured and sold. In about 1902, he moved to Los Angeles where he continued his profession for a time. Meeting with financial reverses and failing health in his declining years and having left El Monte several years prior to his death, little is known of his last years. His death occurred in 1907.
Greatly interested in the improvement and general welfare of El Monte, and especially in its educational advancement, Dr. Cave was the first to advance the movement for establishing a High School here. For many years he served as trustee on the El Monte School Board, and his affirmative vote could always be counted on in all matters of community betterment.
Fraternally he was a Mason, Odd Fellow and Modern Woodman. In religion he was a member of the Methodist Church; and, politically a staunch Republican.
Source: C. D. Mayon, F. Brow, L. Stoddard, and C. Mudd; El Monte from the Pioneer Days. WPA Project No. N-5740, 1936. In record 19-187072. (California Historical Landmark No. 765: El Monte). On file at the SCCIC, CSU Fullerton.