Ferdinand / Frederick Berke History


I believe that his correct name is Ferdinand U. Berke.  All of the records found for Los Angeles list his name as Ferdinand.  Middle name is unknown.  He is listed in many places in the Minnesota area as F.W. Berke, F.N. Berke, and F.U. Berke.


He was born October 1834 in Germany [1].  His exact birthplace is unknown, however the family history lists Posen Germany, in present day Poland as the area that the family emigrated from.  In the 1930 census his daughter Amelia listed her father and mother birthplace as Berlin Germany.  His parents were Wilhelmius Berke and Maria Von Gurska Berke. 


He immigrated to the United States in 1863 according to the 1900 census.


Ferdinand married Minne Shring in about 1865.  She was born in 1844 in Minnesota.  Her parents were from Germany.


They had 4 daughters:

Anna Berke Reeder – Born in Minnesota September 1864.  Died after April 1910. d. 8/02/1935? Exact date is unknown.

Emma Berke – Born in Minnesota in 1866.  ??Ruth Emma Berke d. 12/07/1928 Otter Tail, MN

Amelia Berke Arend – Born in Minnesota, May 11, 1869 … Died November 24, 1940 in Los Angeles.

Mamie A. Berke Hagan – Born in Minnesota, 1872.  Died January 26, 1930 in Los Angeles.


The 1880 United States Census lists Ferdinand and Minnie living in Northfield, MN. [2] Ferdinand occupation is listed as shoemaker.  Minnie is listed as keeping house and 4 daughters are ‘at school’.  They live on West Water Street and are 2 houses away from Albert Berke family.  Both Ferdinand and Albert Berke family are listed in the census soundex index incorrectly as Birke.


In August 1882 F. U. Berke opened a Boot and Shoe store in Northfield, MN (See Page 4 – for copy of Newspaper advertisement).  It indicates that this new business is ‘at his old stand at the west end of the bridge in Northfield’.  I believe that Ferdinand was a merchant and shoemaker.


I think that they moved to Los Angeles in about 1886.


The 1888 – 1890 Los Angeles City Directory lists F. U. Berke as the proprietor of the Berke Mansion at 145 South Bunker Hill Avenue.


Berke Mansion

The Berke Mansion was built between 1886 and 1888.  It was located at 145 South Bunker Hill Avenue, Los Angeles, CA at the northwest corner of Second Street and South Bunker Avenue.


There are photos of the mansion on page 5 and page 6.


Excerpt from ‘Bunker Hill, last of the lofty mansions’ [3]


At one time the Berke mansion on the northwest corner of Second Street and Bunker Hill had the laudable reputation for gaiety and social camaraderie. Ferdinand Berke built this beautiful three-story structure in 1810 [incorrect date] and the family enjoyed the glories of this magnificent dwelling for many decades.


Generations of Berke's came to know this one address as their home. And then the time arrived when it was all over. Furniture was moved out and a general decay began to attack the foundation. The house was not entirely deserted, but later taken over by a Mr. Anderson. He saw other possibilities in this rambling old mansion.


With a few structural adjustments here and there, the former elite residence could easily be turned into a serviceable rooming house for transients in the neighborhood. Nothing cheap was contemplated at the time; it would only be a necessary convenience for those on the move.


Soon many of the fabled mansions on the Hill would play host to passing strangers. Some were kinder than others and traveled through without etching their initials or words of praise or disgust on the once polished curved banisters.


Years later when the bloodless bulldozers began their insidious push to the boundary lines, Mr. Anderson was forced to vacate the premises and move to a two-story house across the way.


From the bedroom window of his new home he could easily observe the wrecking process and one can only imagine his emotions at that time. Although he was not the original owner, he had certainly experienced the warmth and cordiality of the old Berke mansion.


Rogers’s notes on article above…. Home was built after 1810, article is incorrect.  House was built between 1886 and 1888. According to the 1910 Census – Anna Berke Reeder was owner.  Her occupation was listed as proprietor of apartment house.  There were about 10 boarders listed as residing there.  There was some artistic license taken about generations’ of Berke's residing in home.


The mansion was torn down in the 1950’s


The 1900 census lists Ferdinand Berke occupation as ‘keeper lodger house’.  There are 17 lodgers and boarders and 3 residents listed in the home, Ferdinand, his wife Minnie and daughter Anna.


Ferdinand U. Berke died on October 20, 1901.  As follows is the death notice in the Los Angeles Times. [4]

Berke – At his home in this city, October 20, 1901.  Ferdinand U. Berke, aged 67 years.  Funeral from family residence, No 145 South Bunker Hill Avenue, Tuesday, October 22, 1901 at 2 o’clock p.m.  Friends invited.  Interment private.



Rice County Journal – 8/3/1882




From postcard in the possession of Bernard Berke – Berke Photo 00216

Card is dated June 11, 1910.  I think that this is Anna Berke Reeder in front of the mansion.

Photo from source shown below.  Note how big this house is.  This photo was taken in the 1950’s as the area was being redeveloped.


California State Library – William Reagh Collection – Photo 1990-0785



Anna Berke Reeder – Born in Minnesota September 1864.  Died after April 1910.  Exact date is unknown.


The 1900 census lists her as residing in her father’s boarding house at 145 South Bunker Hill Avenue.


Emma Berke – Born in Minnesota in 1866.



Amelia Berke Arend – Born in Minnesota, May 11, 1869 … Died November 24, 1940 in Los Angeles.


The 1888 Los Angeles city directory shows Miss Amelia Berke works for Mrs. J. Watson as milliner.  Her residence is at 135 South Bunker Hill Avenue, Los Angeles.


The 1920 census lists her as living with her husband William D. Arend b.1868 at 1244 Albany Street, Los Angeles, CA [5]


The 1930 census lists her as renting for $85 per month at 3810 W. 1st Street, Los Angeles, CA.  Her occupation is listed as ‘none’ (retired?).  She is widowed and shows that she was married at age 20 (1889).[6]



Mamie A. Berke Hagan – Born in Minnesota, 1872.  Died January 26, 1930 in Los Angeles.


Mamie married Ralph Hagan May 12, 1895.


As far as I can tell, they did not have children.


The 1920 U. S Census shows Ralph and Mamie Hagan living at 755 Lake Shore Avenue, Los Angeles, CA.  They have both a maid and a chauffeur. [7]


Mamie Berke Hagan - Notice of Death – Los Angeles Times – January 26, 1930.

Hagan – January 26 at 758 South Lake Street, Dude Hagan, beloved wife of Dr. Ralph Hagan and sister of Amelia Arend.  Services Tuesday, January 28 at 3:00 p.m. from Pierce Brothers Chapel. [8]



Ralph HAGAN, M.D.

One of the most distinguished physicians and surgeons of the South West is Dr. Ralph Hagan, of Los Angeles, whose professional record over a period of thirty years has stamped him as a man of unusual ability and skill. He was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, on the May 13, 1872, and is a son of Dr. Martin and Rose M. (Armstrong) Hagan. His father practiced medicine and surgery in Minnesota for many years and distinguished himself as a military surgeon during the Civil War. From 1870 until 1881 he served as surgeon of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad. In 1884 he moved to Los Angeles and soon became prominent and active in local affairs. He served as city health officer during 1887 and 1888 and, was county physician from 1893 until 1895. He continued his active interest in city affairs up to the time of his death in 1901. Dr. Hagan's maternal grandfather was a wool buyer in Ohio for many years.


Ralph Hagan received his education in the public- schools of Los Angeles, graduating from High School and in 1881 accompanied his father on an extensive tour, during which they visited many countries and for three years lived at Honolulu, Hawaii, during the reign of King Kalakoa and Queen Liliuokalani, during which time his father, was appointed Royal Physician, having charge over the entire Royal Family on the Islands as well as the Insane Asylum, Leper Hospital and other Government Institutions. On returning to this country Ralph Hagan entered the medical department of the University of Southern California, from which he graduated with the degree of Doctor of Medicine June 4, 1895. During the last two years of his college course he served as druggist in the Los Angeles County Hospital and upon his graduation was made house surgeon of that institution, in which position he served one year. In 1897 he was made police surgeon for the city, filling that office for four years, giving it up to take up the private practice of his profession. However, in 1902 he was prevailed upon to accept appointment as Police Commissioner of Los Angeles, which office he filled ably and successfully until 1904.


During the years of his practice here Dr. Hagan has demonstrated himself a master of surgery, in, which he has performed some remarkable operations. One in particular, which attracted the attention of the medical profession generally, was during his service as police surgeon, when there was brought to him a man who had received a terrible gunshot wound in the abdomen. Though all hope of saving his life had been given up, Dr. Hagan performed a daring operation requiring courage and exceptional skill, and the patient ultimately recovered.


A few years after entering upon the private practice Dr. Hagan in large measure relinquished the practice of medicine and thereafter devoted himself almost exclusively to surgery, in which sphere of labor he is known throughout the Southwest.


In 1917 Dr. Hagan offered his services to his government and became chief of the surgical service of the base hospital at Camp Kearney. Later he went overseas, with the American forces and finally served as chief of the surgical service of Base Hospital ninety-six. He now holds a commission as lieutenant- colonel in the United States Medical Reserve Corps. He has been a member of the executive and surgical staffs of St. Vincent's Hospital for the past thirty-five years, and has been on the staffs of the Pacific and Emergency Hospitals and consulting surgeon to the Sisters' Hospital. His practice is now confined to surgery and gynecology.


May 12, 1895, in Los Angeles, Dr. Hagan was united in marriage to Miss Mamie A. Berke, whose death occurred January 26, 1930. The Doctor is a member of the Los Angeles County Medical Society, the California State Medical Society and the American Medical Association.  He belongs to Southern California Lodge No 278, F & A. M. [Freemasons]; the various bodies of the York rite; Al Malaikah Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S. [Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine - Shriners]; Los Angeles Lodge No. 99, B. P. O. E. [Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks], of which he is a past exalted ruler, the American Legion, the Los Angeles Athletic Club, the Hollywood Country Club, and various other professional and civic organizations.  He is at this time a chairman of the board of grand trustees of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the United States.  He is a great lover of horses and was for many years secretary of the Los Angeles Driving club.  He is fond of outdoor sports and swims 30 minutes daily, finding to one of the most beneficial as well as delightful forms of exercise.[9]


Dr. Ralph Hagan – 1910


Dr. Ralph Hagan apparently re-married after Mamie Berke Hagan Death in 1930.


Notice of Death – Los Angeles Times – August 20, 1944.

Hagan – Dr. Ralph Hagan, beloved husband of Velma Hagan brother of Wood Hagan.  Services Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in the Church of the Recessional, Forest Lawn Mortuary in charge.[10]



Obituary – Los Angeles Times

Dr. Ralph Hagan Passes at 72

Dr. Ralph Hagan, 72 of 2115 Rodney Drive, former police surgeon here, died yesterday in St. Vincent’s Hospital after a short illness.


Dr. Hagan served as a surgeon at the Los Angeles County Hospital and on the staff of St. Vincent’s Hospital.  An Army surgeon during World War I, he was a member of the American Legion, past president of the California Elks association and past exalted ruler of Lodge No. 99 here. 


He leaves his widow, Mrs. Velma Hagan.


Funeral services will be conducted at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Church of the Recessional, Forest Lawn Cemetery.[11]


Roger Berke - September 2003

[1] 1900 United States Census – State of California, County of Los Angeles, City of Los Angeles Enumeration District 28, Sheet number 4, June 4, 1900 

[2] 1880 United States Census – State of Minnesota, County of Rice, City of Northfield, Enumeration District 136. Page number 29, June 10, 1880

[3] Bunker Hill, last of the lofty mansions.  William Pugsley c1977 – State of California Library F869 L8 P84.

[4] Los Angeles Times – Tuesday, October 22, 1901, Page 16, under DEATH RECORD

[5] U. S. Census – 1920 – California, County of Los Angeles, City of Los Angeles, Enumeration District 450, Page 4B, (Image 8)

[6] U. S. Census – 1930 – California, County of Los Angeles, City of Los Angeles, Enumeration District 19-177 Page 10B, (Image 20)

[7] U. S. Census – 1920 – California, County of Los Angeles, City of Los Angeles, Enumeration District 466, Page 18B, (Image 36)

[8] Los Angeles Times, January 28, 1930, part 1, page 18, column 4

[9] History of Los Angeles, Spalding – California State Library CF 869 L8 S62 v3 – Volume 3 Page 510 – 519, published1931

[10] Los Angeles Times, Monday, August 21, 1944, Section 2, page 7

[11] Los Angeles Times, Monday, August 21, 1944, Section 2, page 7