Solano County

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Among the numerous substantial citizens of Solano county of Swiss stock and birth there are few who have a wider and better acquaintance throughout that area covered by his operations than has Otto Frei, a contractor in cement and concrete construction with plant and headquarters at Tolenas, a pleasant suburb two miles east of Fairfield, the county town. Mr. Frei has been established here since 1918 and during that time has built up a flourishing business in his line. A skilled cement worker with years of practical experience in large operations behind him, when he came here he was for a while engaged in county work, with particular reference to bridge and culvert construction, and then he became engaged as a contractor on his own account, one of his first considerable jobs being the erection of the concrete water tower in the courthouse yard at Fairfield. At his tile plant at Tolenas he makes a specialty of the manufacture of ornamental tile, imitative of cut stone, and much of the recent construction work of the better type carried on here carries these tiles with fine decorative effect. One of the most notable structural jobs of this sort is a garage built by Mr. Frei in Fairfield, veneered with the ornamental tiles of his manufacture and which is commonly declared to be the most attractive business building in the town. He also has constructed miles of cement sidewalks in and about Fairfield and the evidences of his skilled handiwork are apparent on every side.

Otto Frei was born in the republic of Switzerland on June 21, 1872, and was there trained as a shoemaker. In 1891, when nineteen years of age, he came to the United States and became employed as a cement worker in the city of St. Louis, Missouri, where in 1896 he received his final naturalization papers as a citizen of the United States. Later he went down the river to New Orleans and in that city and in other cities east he continued working in cement construction work until in 1906 when, following the call that went out for skilled workmen in the building trades to reconstruct the stricken city of San Francisco, he came to California and has since been a resident of this state. For eleven years Mr. Frei was engaged in building operations at San Francisco, during that time having been employed in the operations of such firms as the Clinton Construction Company, the American Construction Company, the Healey & Tibbett Company and the Clark & Henry Company and thus becoming an expert in all forms of cement and concrete construction. He then became engaged in operations at San Bruno in San Mateo county and was thus engaged at that place until in 1918, when he came to Solano county and entered upon the successful career as a builder that has been referred to above. Upon his arrival here he bought a tract of two and one-half acres at Tolenas and there has a pleasant home and an admirably equipped plant for the construction of his cement tile specialties, products of his skill which have come into wide demand throughout this trade area.

While living at St. Louis, Otto Frei was united in marriage to Miss Lillian Manzer, who was born in the city of Syracuse, New York, and they have a son, Otto C. Frei, who was born in St. Louis, is a graduate of the Fairfield high school, and is now employed as chemist in the big cement plant near Fairfield.

History of Solano County, California By Marguerite Hunt and Napa County, California By Harry Lawrence Gunn. From Their Earliest Settlement To The Present Time. Chicago. S.J. Clarke Pub. Co. 1926. 883 pages.

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This page was last updated 14 Oct 2007

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