Glendale, California Biographies

Joseph C. Beldin


        Joseph C. Beldin. The J.C. Beldin Sheet Metal Works is one of the oldest business establishments in Glendale. Mr. Beldin came to Glendale before the city was incorporated, bringing his wife, Etta C. Beldin, and their two small sons, Kenneth and Wendell. His purpose in locating in Glendale was not because of its prosperous, or even a hopeful, business outlook, but because he deemed it his duty to rear his boys where the water, the air, the morals of the community, and the prospects for the future were the best possible, and after traveling more or less in every state in the Union, he was persuaded that Glendale was the ideal spot. His capital in stock was largely his abiding confidence in his own ability as a mechanic, and a determination to accomplish the purpose that brought him here, and in justification of that confidence, he tells that, from the first day his shop opened he has never been without work.

        Mr. Beldin was the seventh of a family of eight children, and was the first of the family to be born south of the Mason and Dixon Line, being born at Dardanell, Arkansas, in the wonderfully interesting and beautiful Ozark Mountains. His father, S. D. Beldin, left his native state of Vermont when a very young man, partly because of the rigid climate and partly because of a natural desire for travel and adventure, which had followed the family from the highlands of Scotland, where the same impulse of his ancestors had inspired Scott’s terse poetic words, “If the path be dangerous known, the danger itself is lure alone.” After traveling on horseback was far south and west as Dallas, Texas, he returned to the frontier settlements in Illinois. There he met and married Mary A. Bennett, a lineal descendant of Jonathan Carver, who, as an English General before the Revolutionary War, negotiated some very important treaties with the Indians of the Northwest for the English and French governments, receiving for his services a grant of land 100 miles square, including the territory on which the cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis now stand.

        The Civil War found the Beldin family in Arkansas, and being Union sympathizers, the family record of those dismal years would be long to tell and sad to hear. At the close of the war, the father, S. C. Beldin, and three older brothers became prominent in political affairs of the state, and held many important official positions. Among other positions, the father was a member of the Constitutional Convention, a member of the Legislature, and Probate Judge of the county. The eldest son, L.D. Beldin, was Circuit Judge of his district for many years. The second son, D. P. Beldin, was State Senator for twelve years. The third son, Ziba Beldin, was clerk and recorder of his county for twelve years.

        In spring of 1879, J.C. Beldin answered the call of adventure and went to Leadville, Colorado, and for many years made his home in the Rocky Mountains from New Mexico to the British line. During this time he reared a family of four children for a widowed sister at Anaconda, Montana, the youngest of whom is George R. Cooper, a member of the State Senate at the present time. Mr. Beldin has never desired political prominence, but on several occasions, when the best interests of the community seemed at stake, his opponents have learned his knowledge of affairs political. In Glendale when the questions of municipal ownership of water led perhaps to the hardest fought battles in the history of the City, Mr. Beldin took an active part in the fight, and was one of the speakers at the huge mass meeting which decided the issue in favor of municipal ownership.

        Mr. Beldin’s early confidence in Glendale as a fit place to rear his boys has been justified, for in its pure atmosphere and progressive schools, the boys have grown to clean and stalwart manhood. Indeed the history of Glendale cannot be truthfully written without the name of Kenneth Beldin, for he was one of the two boys who stood beside the guns on the firing line, in the battle for municipal ownership of water, until the finished contest told that the victory was won. In the beginning of his graduation year, Kenneth became ambitious to start a high school paper, but the authorities in charge would not permit him to do so, fearing that it would become a financial burden to the school. His ambition would not down, however, and finally when he obtained permission to start the paper as a private enterprise, he became so elated that a friend warned him not to explode. “Thanks,” said Kenneth, “that is a good name for my paper, I will call it the ‘Explosion’.” So firmly did he set the enterprise on its feet, with cash capital of $12.00 and a good reserve fund of energy and ability that, at the end of the term his cash balance sheet showed $50.00 profit, several hundred dollars’ worth of experience and the honor of being the founder and first editor of the Glendale Union High School “Explosion.” When he left high school for college, he made the student body a graduating present of the $12.00 original cash capital and the entire paper, which had already taken its place as part of the institution, and has continued a factor in the wonderful growth of Glendale’s Union High School. Wendell, the younger son, besides being a sheet metal worker of more than ordinary skill, became an expert in the oil well shooting business before he was of age and traveled extensively from Mexico to Seattle in charge of important work in that line. His beautiful new model Cleveland, the result of his own energy and ability, makes all Southern California his playground and demonstrates that Glendale is not a bad place to raise boys.

From History of Glendale and Vicinity by John Calvin Sherer. The Glendale Publishing Company, c. 1922 F. M. Broadbooks and J. C. Sherer. p. 399-401.