Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


Among the valuable citizens whom the Scandinavian countries have furnished to the United States is Fred Falkenberg, whose public spirit finds expression in his work as superintendent of the city parks of Watsonville, to which city he came empty-handed when a young man of twenty-three years, and his record proves that the old fashioned virtues of industry, honesty and perseverance still constitute the key to prosperity.

Fred Falkenberg is a native of Denmark, born June 8, 1865, and attended the schools of that country until he reached the age of fourteen years, when he started out to earn a livelihood, taking up farm work. Seeing but little chance for advancement in his native land, he decided to follow the example of many of his compatriots and sought the broader opportunities offered in America. His brother, Chris Falkenberg, and his two sisters had preceded him to California, and in 1888 he arrived in Watsonville. He had no knowledge of the English language and his pockets contained but ten cents. He first worked in his brother's grocery store, which was located on the corner of Main street and Lake avenue. Under his father he had gained a practical knowledge of gardening, and, finding that occupation most congenial, he obtained work of that character in Watsonville, caring for lawns and planting trees, flowers and shrubs. He made a close study of the science of horticulture and each year augmented his knowledge and increased his skill. He at length became recognized as an expert in this line of work and in 1908 was appointed superintendent of Plaza park, of which he has since had charge, his long retention in the position indicating the quality of his service and the appreciation of his worth. He has greatly improved the park by well kept lawns and the planting of many choice varieties of trees, palms, flowers and shrubs. He has converted it into the beauty spot of the city, and the residents of Watsonville find much enjoyment in visiting this fine recreation center.

In 1899 Mr. Falkenberg married Miss Laura Madsen, who is also a native of Denmark and came to the United States in 1890. Four children were born to them but one died in early life and another at the age of nineteen years. Those now living are Elma and Fred, aged respectively twenty-seven and twenty-four years. The daughter is the wife of Andrew Hansen, and the son is serving in the United States navy.

Mr. Falkenberg is connected with the Danish Lodge and the Foresters of America. He owns an attractive residence in Watsonville and takes commendable pride in his home. He is a lover of nature, being thoroughly cognizant of its beauties, and has chosen the vocation best suited to his talents, finding keen enjoyment in the performance of his daily tasks. Mr. Falkenberg has lived in Watsonville for thirty-seven years, and his admirable traits of character have drawn to him a large circle of friends, who speak of him in laudatory terms.

Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California's history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925, 890 pgs.