[Gravestone photo by Michael Colbruno]
At a time when fires were a common occurrence in San Francisco and Oakland, William Lowden (1848-1912) became a pioneer in the fire insurance business. Lowden moved to Truckee, California from Belfast, Ireland as a young man where he worked as a merchant while "dabbling" in fire insurance.
He moved to San Francisco after a few years and accepted a job with the North British and Mercantile Insurance Company, where he worked his way up to manager. In 1895 he was appointed a manager of the Norwich Union Fire Insurance Society, a job he held until his death. During this time he served as President of the Fire Underwriters' Association of the Pacific.
Lowden took up a number of hobbies with great ardor, becoming an amateur photographer of some note, a competitive "high wheel" bicyclist, a competitive rifleman, trout fisherman and competitive yachtsman (with Mountain View denizen William Letts Oliver).