Californians and the Military
Rear Admiral George W. Bauer
By Colonel (CA, Ret) Norman S. Marshall
Today, over 50 years after the death of George William Bauer, he remains somewhat of an enigma. He was a life-time supporter of Naval enterprises and a prominent business leader and "club man" in the San Francisco Bay area.

Between the years 1901 to 1939, George Bauer served in the Naval Militia of the State of California and became the second Commodore in the United States Naval Reserve.

He was born on May 4, 1874 and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1897 becoming a Colonel of the University Cadets. Upon his graduation in 1897 he received the commission of colonel and for several years following was identified with the National Guard. His interest in the affairs of the University continued during his adult life, in the Alumni Association and as Colonel in Chief of the University Cadets conducting an annual inspection.

Captain Bauer was the fourth commanding officer of the Naval Militia of California obtaining a commission as Commander thereof on April 16, 1901. In 1903, at the age of 29 years, he advanced to the rank of Captain and took full charge of California's naval forces.

His headquarters were first aboard the USS MARION, then in the USS ALERT and he was instrumental, together with Brigadier-General Lauck of the National Guard, in obtaining the loan of the light cruiser USS MARBLEHEAD and later the battleship USS OREGON for the State of California. While aboard the state flagship MARION, in April 1906, he called up 800 sailors for service in the April 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

In civilian life, he was the president of Bauer & Schweitzer, a hop and malt company which supplied the breweries of the Bay area. He took this business over from his father, John C. Bauer, who was a native of Wurttemburg, Germany, who first came to Philadelphia in 1850 and for a time followed the trade of being a baker. He then changed employment to being a brewer and moved to California in 1854. John Bauer operated a brewery and bakery (a synergistic combination of waste mash) in Virginia City, Nevada for seven years but returned to San Francisco in 1878 and formed the malting business.

Captain George Bauer was promoted to Rear Admiral in 1938 and died by his own hand at the age of 74 on December 25, 1950. He is buried at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in Colma, California. He married Miss Wilma Hoffman on November 20, 1927 and was later married to Evelyn Sheldon Bauer who pre-deceased him. For many years he resided at the Fairmont Hotel at 1001 California Street and it was there that a maid found him in death. He was survived by his sister, Mrs. Theodora Wores and left an estate of $758,313.

He is remembered today as having served as the commanding officer of the California Naval Militia, 14 years and having been instrumental in bringing it an increased size from five divisions to nine divisions up and down the state prior to its federalization with the coming of the war in 1918.

He earned a Master's Certificate as a Master Mariner in March 10, 1908 for the piloting of all Naval Militia ships in the state service; he was very proud of this.

Other activities marked him as being a prominent club man. Among the clubs of which he was a member were the Olympic Club, the San Francisco Press Club, the Commonwealth Club, the Union League Club, the San Francisco Commercial Club, the Islamic Temple of the Shrine, the Army-Navy Club, the American Chemical Society, the Society of Chemical Industries, the American Society for the Advancement of Scientists, the Master Brewers Association of America, the Deutscher Club, the Excelsior Lodge #166-F and AM, the Golden Gate Commandery #16KT, the San Francisco Bodies @1A and ASR, Islam Temple AAON 31, the Royal Order of Jesters, Court #4, and the University of California Alumni Association.

Admiral George William Bauer's keen interest in the activities of the Naval Militia caused him to be termed the "Builder of California's Navy" by Sunset Magazine in a September 1914 article, attached hereto, which we think you will enjoy.
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Updated 23 June 2017