Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Adam and Joseph Donohoe "J.D." Grant

[Photos by Michael Colbruno]

Adam Grant was a Highland Scotsman who came to California in 1850 and founded the dry goods store Murphy, Grant & Co. in San Francisco. He started by selling goods to the forty-niners who were mining for gold in the Sierra. He owned the store for over 50 years, turning it over to his son upon his death in 1904. Judge John Garber, who was a recent addition to this blog, was one of his pall bearers.

His son J.D. Grant continued the successful operation of Murphy, Grant & Co. and became a successful businessman and philanthropist in his own right. His father made him work his way up through and he worked in most of the store's departments.

After the earthquake and fire destroyed the store in 1906, J.D. reopened the store in Oakland's Tribune Tower with a fresh supply of goods and kept the company operating. In 1907, he opened the Adam Grant Building at Sansome & Grant in San Francisco (see photo). He served on numerous corporate boards and was a lifetime trustee at Stanford University (despite having attended the University of California).

An avid lover of nature, J.D. Grant was the president of the Save-the-Redwoods League for 21 years. The J.D. Grant Grove on the Del Norte coast in named in his honor. The Joseph D. Grant State Park in Santa Clara is built on land bought by his father and where J.D. operated a ranch. After Herbert Hoover lost the Presidency to Franklin D. Roosevelt, he stayed at the Grant Ranch for an entire month. It remains the largest park in the county.

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