Glendale, California †Biographies

Spencer Robinson

Spencer Robinson, Mayor of Glendale and a prominent realtor of the valley, is a native of Illinois. He was born at Rock Island, March 11, 1868, a son of Dan Tyler and Julia (Spencer) Robinson. He is descended on both his fatherís and motherís side form old colonial families, members of whom were soldiers in the Revolutionary War. His father was a native of Vermont and his mother was born at Rock Island, Illinois. His grandfather, John Weston Spencer, with Baily Davenport, were the first settlers on the Mississippi river where the city of Davenport, Iowa, is now located. Mr. Spencer was the first county judge of Rock Island county, Illinois. Dan Tyler Robinson was a prominent citizen of Rock Island, where he conducted a retail lumberyard for many years. Mrs. Robinson was a very active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, being one of the founders of the chapter at Rock Island, Illinois.

††††††† Mr. Robinson supplemented his high school education by taking a general course at Shortridge Academy, Media, Pennsylvania, later graduating from Lafayette College, Pennsylvania, with the class of 1891. He was a traveling salesman for the Rock Island Plow Company, covering the state of Iowa until 1894, when he began his career as a professional singer. Early in life he began to show unusual talent as a vocalist, and upon reaching manhood developed a splendid tenor voice. He studied under various teachers while attending college in the east, and later, in Chicago, took vocal training under Professor Fred Root. From 1894 to 1912 he devoted his time to his profession, doing both concert and operatic work. During the latter part of this time he also taught voice culture. He made several trips abroad, touring the British Isles and Continental Europe, spending much time in study there. His first trip to Southern California was in 1900, when he was engaged by Bob Burdette to sing at the old Hazard Pavilion on Hill Street at Sixth, Los Angeles. Later he sang for Bishop Robert McIntyre and Bishop Charles Edward Locke of the Methodist Episcopal church of Los Angeles.

††††††† Mr. Robinson came to Glendale in 1906 and has since resided at 1234 East Windsor Road where his original purchase was a twelve-acre tract. He has since purchased additional acreage, much of which has been sold for residence sites. Since 1912 he has given practically all of his time to the real estate business, in which he has been very successful. His office is at 612 East Broadway. His career as a public official began in 1919, when he was elected a city trustee. He filled that office until he was elected mayor in June 1921, thereby becoming Glendaleís first mayor under the new charter, of which he was an ardent supporter. Although Mr. Robinson no longer sings as a professional, his readiness to aid in every good cause that makes a call upon him in his home city, has made him a favorite entertainer and his voice is often heard in concerts and entertainments given for charitable and other worthy public objects. He is a member of the realty board, and a charger member of the Kiwanis Club. Fraternally, he is an Elk.

††††††† At Friend, Nebraska, Mr. Robinson married Bertha Henrietta Sonntag. They have three children, Julia, Jean, and Dean Tyler. Julia is a graduate of Glendale Union High School and is now taking voice culture. Jean and Dean Tyler are pupils of high and grammar schools, respectively, Mrs. Robinson is a member of the Tuesday Afternoon Club, and both Mr. and Mrs. Robinson are members of the Glendale Music Club.

From History of Glendale and Vicinity by John Calvin Sherer. The Glendale Publishing Company, c. 1922 F. M. Broadbooks and J. C. Sherer. P. 310-311.