Join us as we look behind the scenes at the pioneering legacy of John Diedrich Spreckels with historian Dr. Sandra Bonura. She authored the newly released biography, Empire Builder: John D. Spreckels and the Making of San Diego. You will be introduced to the man who almost single-handedly built our city after building empires in sugar, shipping, transportation, and construction up and down California and across the Pacific.

After “discovering” our bankrupt village in 1887, he left everything behind to follow his heart. His moves were so decisive and sweeping that within a few years, he controlled the majority of all San Diego’s industry. He was at the forefront of innovation and at the top of the 20th century, one in fifteen San Diegans worked for a Spreckels-owned company.

Even so, his high points were offset by prolonged periods of pain and contention. He was harshly criticized for perceptions of ruthless business tactics. To the strenuous charge that San Diego’s troubles were derived from the city being a “one-man town,” he responded, “If being a one-man town is bad for the town, take it from me, it’s hell for the ‘one man’!”

Participants may order a personally inscribed book at an author’s discount.