The Works Progress Administration

Biography of Solomon Shirpser of El Monte California

Solomon Shirpser was one of El Monte’s successful businessmen of the early days and later served as postmaster for a time. He was born in Warsaw, Poland, August 26, 1850, his father being David Shirpser, teamster by trade.

When he was five years of age, Solomon Shirpser, with his parents, came to California by way of Panama, stopping at Placerville. Later, the family moved to Vancouver, B.C. In 1860, the family came to San Francisco where Solomon completed his education at Woodbury College. In the meantime his father had gone to Alaska and engaged in the fur trading business. Upon completion of his education, Mr. Shirpser joined his father in the fur business in Alaska, both returning in 1874 to San Francisco. After his marriage, which occurred in 1876 to Henrietta Shirpser, of German parentage, he moved to Ukiah, in Mendocino County, and engaged in the mercantile business for four years.

In 1880, he moved to Los Angeles and conducted a men’s furnishing store for six years, after which he came to Savannah and purchased the old Ellis property in Ellis Lane (near Sunset Avenue) consisting of fifteen acres. In Savannah, he also opened a store and later became postmaster. His business venture were successful and he later opened another store in El Monte. In 1897, he joined a party in the Alaska gold rush, where he conducted a newspaper distribution business until the earthquake of 1906, which disaster left him penniless. In that year, he returned to El Monte and entered the mercantile firm of Kauffman and Co., and remained thus employed until in 1909, when he entered a business in partnership with his son, E.J. Shirpser. The partnership continued until in 1919, when he sold his interests to his son and moved to Oakland, where he now resides.

Mr. and Mrs. Shirpser were the parents of three children: E.J., a successful realtor and insurance man of El Monte; Cecilia, (Mrs. F.D. Smith) of Oakland; and Adolph, deceased. Mrs. Shirpser died in 1885.

In 1886, Mr. Shirpser was married to Lucy Shirpser, and to this union was born and only child, Edna, now residing in San Francisco. Mr. Shirpser was a member of the Order of Forresters, and politically, a Republican. He was active in all civic improvement work, and for years was secretary and treasurer of the El Monte Improvement Association, the forerunner of our present Chamber of Commerce.

He was also interested in the organization and operation of El Monte’s first water system. Mr. Shirpser’s public services also included his postmastership, as stated above.

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.

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