Guide to the Frank Colton Havens Papers, 1881-1935

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Social Sciences --Urban Planning and Environment History --History, California --History, Bay Area Geographical (by Place) --California --Bay Area

Guide to the Frank Colton Havens Papers, 1881-1935

Collection number: BANC MSS C-I 64

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California

Contact Information:

Processed by:
The Bancroft Library staff
Date Completed:
ca. 1962
Encoded by:
Xiuzhi Zhou
© 1997 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.. All rights reserved.

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Frank Colton Havens Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1881-1935
Collection Number: BANC MSS C-I 64
Origination: Havens, Frank Colton, 1848-1917
Extent: Number of containers: 8 v. (in 4 pkgs.) and 4 boxes
Repository: The Bancroft Library
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Abstract: Relating mainly to his real estate developments in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, Calif., and association with Francis Marion ("Borax") Smith, Wm. J. Dingee and Horace W. Carpentier. Records for the Piedmont Development Company, Hotel Claremont Company, Realty Syndicate, Peoples' Water Company and other enterprises, included. Some reflect participation of his nephew, George Sterling.

Also, ledger, 1881-1883: transactions of Havens & Company, stockbrokers, San Francisco.

With these, correspondence and papers of Mrs. Havens relating to settlement of her husband's estate and her own association with the Villa Site and Development Company.

Added to the papers; (Box IV): copy of report by Henry A. Lafler on water and water companies in Oakland, 1866-1910; album prepared by the Business Men's Club of Oakland, 1962, on Havens' tree planting in the hill area and other tree planting data for Alameda County; file of related maps from Havens' papers.
Languages Represented: English

Information for Researchers


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Frank Colton Havens papers, BANC MSS C-I 64, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.


Frank Colton Havens (1848-1917) a native of Sag Harbor, New York, came to California in 1866, after a year's shipping experience in China. At first employed by the Savings and Loan Society in San Francisco, he formed a stock brokerage firm about 1880 in partnership with Van Dyke Hubbard. He also organized several insurance and investment firms previous to his organization of the Realty Syndicate in 1895 in association with F. M. ("Borax") Smith.
This large scale enterprise involved real estate and utility developments for the whole East Bay. After 1906 Mr. Havens withdrew from active management of the Syndicate to devote himself to the affairs of the People's Water Company and various other real estate promotions in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, but particularly in Piedmont. The extensive plantings of pine and eucalyptus trees on the East Bay hills were a part of all these development activities.
Mr. Havens was twice married. Of the first marriage, to Miss Sadie Bell (Sarah Pierson Bell. Born 4/7/53. San Francisco), of Virginia City, Nevada, there were four children, including his son, Wickham, who likewise became a noted realtor in the Oakland-Berkeley area. His second wife was Lila M. Rand whose sister, Caroline, became the wife of Mr. Havens' nephew, George Sterling, California poet.

Scope and Content

Some of the earlier material reflects the association of George Sterling in his uncle's business. Much of the later correspondence and many of the papers relate to Mrs. Lila R. Havens' efforts to collect money from her husband's estate; some pertain to her own association with real estate projects initiated by her husband.
Groups of Havens' papers have been presented to the Bancroft Library over the period, December, 1960 to January, 1962, by David D. Oliphant, Jr., who had been attorney and executor for Mr. Havens' widow.
These papers have been roughly sorted and arranged as follows:

Correspondence and Papers

Box I

Berkeley Waterfront Company


Carpentier, Horace W.

Scope and Content Note

(includes material for Pacific Improvement Company)

Claremont Hotel

Scope and Content Note

(deeds, stock subscriptions and construction papers)

Contra Costa County property

Scope and Content Note

(some for George and Carrie Sterling)

Dingee, William J.


Havens, Frank C., Estate of

Scope and Content Note


Havens Estate

Scope and Content Note

(correspondence and papers re F. W. Smith's notes)

Hempel family papers

Scope and Content Note

(re property in San Antonio Rancho)
Box II

"Cash Book of Smith and Havens, no.1", 1899-1902


Key Route Inn



Scope and Content Note

(deeds, accounts, stock certificates and checks)

Piedmont Development Company

(see also: Minute Books, in volumes)


Piedmont properties

Scope and Content Note

(miscellaneous maps, deeds and brochures)


Scope and Content Note

(Key Route, San Francisco-Oakland Terminal and Oakland Traction Companies)

Real Estate Combine


Realty Syndicate

(see also folder for F. M. Smith)


Rose, Andrew W & Mrs. Rose

Scope and Content Note

(Promisory notes to the People's Water Company)

Smith, Francis Marion

Scope and Content Note

(correspondence, accounts and S. K. Ballard's audit, 1908-

see also: Havens Estate and Realty Sundicate)

Spring, J. H.


Tax statements

Scope and Content Note


Villa Site and Development Company

(see also records in volumes)


Water Companies



(see also Piedmont properties)

Box IV

Lafler, Henry Anderson.

Scope and Content Note

The history of water and water companies in the city of Oakland, 1866-1910 [1910?]

File of maps showing properties of Havens and his companies, and relating to tree planting an water development, etc.


Frank C. Havens tree planting data and other Alameda County tree data

Scope and Content Note

Presented to Bancroft Library... by Business Men's Garden Club of Oakland, 1962 [album containing some of Mr. Havens' records relating to tree planting and material collected by the Club, including pictures, reminiscences and copies of articles.]
volume Volumes

Havens & Company. Stock ledger, 1 881-1883


Havens, Frank C. Property ledger


Piedmont Development Company. Minute books

Physical Description: (2 v. in package)

Villa Site and Development Company. Records

Physical Description: (5 v. in package)