HILBING, Bernard

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HILBING, Bernard [Bernhard Hermann] (c. 1883- ), born in Munster, Westfalen, Germany, he was naturalized as a U. S. citizen in the Northern District of California District Court in 1905. In 1911, Hilbing was a salesman for Parrott & Co. in San Francisco, living in Mill Valley. For the summer season of 1915, he entered into a contract with the Santa Cruz Island Company to rent Fry’s Harbor, Santa Cruz Island for $5 a month for a camping and excursion business, with financial backing from Los Angeles businessman, Frank Garbutt. Hilbing paid rent for May 1915, ran the business, but paid no more rent, as evidenced by two letters to him from the Santa Cruz Island Company. Hilbing married his first wife, Henny Frese in 1909; she died in 1912. He then married California-born Virginia Franklin, and their son, David, was born in 1915. By 1916 Hilbing was living in Los Angeles as a gun freight agent. The 1920 census shows the family still living in Los Angeles; by 1930 the Hilbings were divorced.


In the News~

January 9, 1912 [SFC]: “Deaths. In this city. January 7, 1912. Henny Hilbing, dearly beloved and devoted wife of Bernhard Hilbing, and loving daughter of Mrs. Isa Frese, and loving sister of Mrs. Andrew McMeara and Otto and Linda Frese, a native of San Francisco, Cal., aged 24 yers 7 months and 3 days.“


May 6, 1915 [SBMP]: “Bernard Hilbing, formerly of Los Angeles, has come to Santa Barbara to engage in the island excursion business. Mr. Hilbing has secured from Frank Garbutt of Los Angeles the powerboat Otter for the purposes in view, and he and Captain Vasquez came up from San Pedro last Tuesday night in that craft, which is well and favorably known here through her operations in the same line last year. Captain Vasquez will again be in command of the boat as sailing master.”


May 6, 1915 [SBDNI]: “The powerboat Otter is to renew its run between Santa Barbara and the islands. Bernard Hilbing, formerly of San Francisco, arrived here last evening to take the management of the business of Frank Garbutt, owner. Captain Vasquez will be the sailing master, and Mr. Hilbing assumes charge of the bookings, of the financial end. The Otter will be thoroughly renovated, and put in first class shape for the summer. When she again resumes her run she will be one of the most attractive boats in this section, and it will be the aim of the manager to keep her spick and span; the very last word in cleanliness. ‘We look forward to a very prosperous summer,’ said Mr. Hilbing today, ‘and are going to keep the Otter bright as a dollar, and attractive to ocean excursionists. We believe the island run will be more than ever popular. Santa Barbara is to have an all summer crowd of visitors, and there will be few of these who will not want to take a trip, besides the demands of residents who are fascinated with the island cruise will give a heavy business for all boat owners.’”


May 8, 1915 [SCICo]: “Mr. Frank Garbutt, Los Angeles, Calif. Dear Sir: For your information we enclose herewith a copy of letter which we are sending to Mr. R. Vasquez of Santa Barbara. The letter explains itself and our object in sending you a copy is to call your attention to this matter in case Mr. Bernard Hibling [Hilbing] has made any arrangement in the chartering or leasing of your boat Otter for the purpose of bringing excursionists to Fry’s Harbor or any other harbor of Santa Cruz Island. Kindly take notice of our letter to Mr. Vasquez. We remain Yours truly, The Santa Cruz Island Co., AJC.”


May 8, 1915 [SCICo]: “Mr. R. Vasquez, Santa Barbara, Calif. Dear Sir: We are informed that you have failed to pay for rent for the use of Fry’s Harbor and we note from the Santa Barbara Press that Mr. Bernard Hilbing has secured the Otter for the island excursion business, possibly with the object of landing parties at Fry’s Harbor. Now it becomes necessary for us to advise you that before any consideration will be given the privilege of renting Fry’s Harbor, we must have the rent which you are owing. Besides, as we have not made any agreement with Mr. Bernard Hilbing, he will not be allowed to bring excursionists to Santa Cruz Island, unless he makes previous arrangements with the Santa Cruz Island Company. You will favor us by advising Mr. Hilbing to this effect. Very truly yours, The Santa Cruz Island Company, AJC.”


May 8, 1915 [SCICo]: “Mr. B[ernard] Hiblings [Hilbing]. Santa Barbara, Cal. Dear Sir, Here below we mention the conditions under which we can rent you the camping privileges of Fry’s Harbor on Santa Cruz Island, since R. Vasquez has failed to pay and rent and has no more rights at that place. For the next six months on pay rent of a monthly rental of Five Dollars ($5.00). You will have exclusive rights at that place mentioned, of establishing a camp for entertaining visitors; after that time we will discuss the terms under which the privilege may be extended. We will insist upon a strict compliance with the following rules:

  • — no cutting down of trees or carrying away of ferns or other plants;
  • — no Indian relics to be taken away;
  • — no fire arms to be discharged on the island;
  • — no damage or change of any kind to be allowed.

This contract is made with you personally and even if you are supported by Mr. Garbutt, we will not consider him as having any rights other than those which we are giving you. All permanent improvements to remain our property at the expiration of the contract. By paying the first month’s rent now, you will be considered as having accepted the proposition made by us. Yours truly, The Santa Cruz Island Company, A. J. Caire.”


May 26, 1915 [SBMP]: “The powerboat Otter will go to Fry’s Harbor today with a crew to establish a camp there for the summer. There will be a complete outfit of tents, well furnished, and all of the facilities of camp life at its best. Manager Hilbing will provide accommodations at once for twenty-five people, and increased the capacity as may be needed. The next party to go to the island by the Otter will be a company of twenty-five members of the Flying A, who will go over next Saturday night, returning the following night. An excursion party will also make the trip next Sunday morning, returning to the mainland in the evening.”


June 23, 1915 [SBDNI]: “One of the biggest parties taken over in the Otter this season, will leave here Saturday evening at 6:30 for Fry’s Harbor, Santa Cruz Island, for the weekend, staying there until Sunday night. Those going number about 35, and are members of the big Flying A ‘family.’ The party includes actors and actresses, directors and their wives, and other employees of the American Film Company’s Santa Barbara plant. Business agent B. Hilbing of the Otter reports business brisk, and indications that this summer will set a new record for excursions to the beautiful Channel Islands.”


June 26, 1915 [SBDNI]: “Thirty-five American Film Company employees will leave tonight at 6:30 o’clock for Santa Cruz Island to spend Sunday at Fry’s Harbor and return here Sunday night. The party is made up of employees from all departments of the big film company. Business manager B. Hilbing of the Otter, in which the motion picture workers will make the trip, is arranging special entertainment for the big party in the way of a feast at the camps and tours about the island.”


June 29, 1915 [SBDNI]: “The forty Flying A employees who went to the islands Sunday aboard the powerboat Otter, report that they had the finest cruise possible. The party left at 9:30 in the evening and enjoyed a beautiful moonlight voyage to the islands. The voyagers had a good rest at the camp, and were up early in the morning for a splendid breakfast served on camp tables decorated with flowers and ferns. During the day Painted Cave, Ladies Harbor, Valdez, and a number of other interesting places about the island were visited. Fishing, rowing and swimming were enjoyed by the party. A splendid barbecue was arranged for the evening. The boat started home with its crown about 3:30 in the afternoon and landed here on Sunday evening at 6 o’clock. Every member of the big party praised manager B. Hilbing and Captain Rosaline Vasquez for the management of the trip. Those who went were…”


July 27, 1915 [SCICo]: “Mr. B. Hibling [Hilbing] c/o Santa Fe Office, Santa Barbara, Cal. Dear Sir: We do not see that you have paid the rent for June or for July, and we beg to call your attention to the fact that continuance of the privilege of establishing a camp at Fryes is continued upon prompt payment of the monthly rental. Kindly give this your immediate attention. By paying either at this office or to the Superintendent at the Island you will greatly oblige. Yours truly, The Santa Cruz Island Company, AJC.”


August 28, 1915 [SCICo]: “Mr. B. Hibling [Hilbing] c/o Santa Fe Office, Santa Barbara, Cal. Dear Sir: We have not heard of you paying rent for your camp at Fry’s Harbor for the months of June, July and August. We are surprised at not hearing either from you or from the Superintendent in regard to the same. You must understand distinctly that unless you pay this rent promptly we will close your resort and prevent you from carrying it on any longer. We wrote you once about this matter and did not receive a reply and we will call your particular attention to it as we will not allow this matter to run any longer. Please let us know at once if you intend to carry on the business as agreed between us as we have other parties applying for the same privilege and see no reason why we should continue under the present plan which is not satisfactory at all. Yours truly, The Santa Cruz Island Company, AJC.”