Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


A building contractor whose intelligent, progressive operations have always evidenced the right kind of enterprise for a country that is rapidly developing, is John Grau, of 234 Winham Street, Salinas, where he is as favorably as he is widely known. He was born in Schleswig-Holstein, then a part of Germany, and now belonging to Denmark, on April 19, 1883, the son of John and Karn (Helsoe) Grau, both of whom also first saw the light there. The father came to California in 1881 and farmed in Alameda county whence he returned to his old home, in August, 1885; however he again crossed the ocean and continent and cultivated his farm of forty acres at Blanco, Monterey county. He was a worthy man, doing his part to develop the country of his adoption and when he died, some eighteen years ago, he was both honored and mourned.

John Grau attended the district schools of Monterey county, and as a boy worked on his father's ranch. Subsequently he was employed in the Spreckels Sugar factory, and later he was at Bodie, Mono county, for two years. Returning to his home place, he took up the trade of a carpenter, for he was always handy with tools and as an experienced journeyman he worked for different contractors in Salinas. Eight years ago, he established a business for himself in building and contracting. He has specialized in fine bungalows, and he has created some of the most attractive residences of that type to be found in or near Salinas. One of the latest of these designs is to be found in the fine residence of Mrs. Henry Bardin in Pajaro street-the first and only electrically-equipped home in Salinas, an exceedingly attractive place reflecting most creditably upon both the builder, who is also the designer, and the tasteful community in which it is located. Other attractive edifices put up by John Grau were built for F. M. Horigan, Charles Hoosier, Homer T. Hayward and Mrs. H. Austin, of Salinas, and the Bergschivcker at Blanco. He also built the M ranch home and chicken ranch-houses at Blanco, but whether it be bungalows or more pretentious residences, the houses erected by John Grau are always first-class, because they are constructed according to the principles of honor-to give the person ordering them the squarest deal imaginable. Much of Mr. Grau's work comes to him unsolicited and this speaks for itself. The result is that Mr. Grau feels such a deep interest in all that pertains to the onward march in Monterey County that one could not find a better "booster" in the country.

Mr. Grau was married to Miss Grace Journey, an eastern girl, and they work together not only for their own advancement but also for the welfare of the community. Mr. Grau's participation in the programs of the Chamber of Commerce and the Salinas Rotary Club affording him many opportunities to show both his public-spiritedness and his good-will. He is a member of Salinas Lodge, No. 204, F. & A. M., and of Alisal Lodge, No. 163, I. O. O. F., and it is needless to say that in each of these old-time organizations he is among the most welcome.

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.