The election of Colbert Coldwell to the presidency of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce brought to the executive head of an organization of tremendous potential and actual power a man whose activities for twenty years have given convincing evidence of his power to do things in a constructive way and translate vision and high purpose into programs of reality. Mr. Coldwell in the opinion of his associates possesses a touch of that genius which is indispensable to any community leader and city builder. 

Probably the greatest publicity organization in America is Californians Incorporated, which has carried on a campaign of artistic advertising through magazines and papers of a national circulation and through slips and booklets which are the last word in the printer’s art, but are even more remarkable for the effective yet thoroughly conservative statement of all the varied and wonderful resources of California. One of the men who developed the plans leading to this organization was Mr. Colbert Coldwell, Kenneth R. Kingsbury, president of the Standard Oil Company (California) is president of the organization, which was incorporated not for profit. In the two years it has been carrying on its work Californians Incorporated has kept strictly in line with its interested purpose and has sought the best interests of the Golden State and its people as a whole, rather than favoring any corporation or individual. 

Colbert Coldwell has been a resident of California since early childhood. He was born April 11, 1883, at Durango, Colorado, son of N.C. and Ellen R. (Robinson) Coldwell. His father was born in Arkansas, took up the law, brought his family to California in 1887, and became a leader of the bar of the San Joaquin Valley, practicing at Fresno until his death on May 30, 1913. He was always known as Judge Coldwell, and was a man of the highest character. He represented an old Southern family of Shelbyville, Tennessee. His widow, who died January 7, 1924, at San Francisco, was born in Texas. She is of Revolutionary stock and of Scotch-Irish descent. 

Colbert Coldwell was four years of age when brought to California, received his early education in the public schools of Fresno, attended the Boone’s University School at Berkeley, and was a member of the class of 1906 in the University of California, leaving college, however, before graduation to enter business life. On August 15, 1903, he began his career as a real estate man in San Francisco. His first connection was with the firm of Easton, Elridge & Company. He remained with them about a year and was then with Davidson & Leigh until August 15, 1906. After the great San Francisco fire Mr. Coldwell formed the firm of Tucker, Lynch & Coldwell and later the firm of Coldwell, Cornball & Banker. This firm does a general real estate and insurance business and has handled a vast amount of property, both city and country. 

Mr. Coldwell was one of the founders and has been a trustee since the organization of the San Francisco Bureau of Governmental Research. This comprises a citizens agency promoting economy and efficiency in municipal government affairs. He was made a director of the Chamber of Commerce in 1921, served one year as vice president and in May, 1923,was elected president. He was also for ten years a director of the San Francisco Real Estate Board and was president for two years. He is one of the vice presidents of Californians Incorporated and is a director of the Community Chest of San Francisco. 

Mr. Coldwell is a democrat, and while not specially active as a party man, has used his influence wherever possible to secure better representation in public office. He is a member of the Family Club, the San Francisco Golf and Country Club, the San Francisco Commercial Club and the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. He married at Mount Pleasant, Michigan, August 30, 1905, Johanna Leaton. She was born in Michigan, daughter of John C. and Stella (Gaylord) Leaton, and finished her education in the University of California. 


Louise E. Shoemaker, Transcriber March 30th 2004.


Source: "The San Francisco Bay Region" by Bailey Millard Vol. 3 page 143-145. Published by The American Historical Society, Inc. 1924.

© 2004 Louise E. Shoemaker


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San Francisco County


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