Elias J. "Lucky" Baldwin

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Elias J. "Lucky" Baldwin's Geni Profile

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Elias Jackson Baldwin, Sr.

Also Known As: "Lucky", "Lucky Baldwin"
Birthplace: Reilly Twp., Butler Co., Ohio, USA
Death: Died in Arcadia, Los Angeles, California, USA
Place of Burial: Colma, San Mateo, California, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of William Alexander Crooks Baldwin and Elizabeth Nancy Baldwin
Husband of Martha Agnes Fowler
Ex-husband of Sarah Ann Baldwin; Mary Baldwin and Jane Virginia Baldwin
Father of Clara Baldwin; Elizabeth Baldwin; Elias Jackson Baldwin, Jr.; Anita M. Baldwin and Rozella Robinson Selby
Half brother of George Washington Baldwin

Occupation: Hotel keeper, Businessman, Investor, Racehorse owner/breeder
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Elias J. "Lucky" Baldwin


Elias Jackson "Lucky" Baldwin (April 3, 1828 – March 1, 1909) was a prominent California businessman and investor of the second half of the 19th century.


Baldwin was born in Butler County, Ohio and his family moved to Indiana when he was a child. Throughout his childhood he was known as a wanderer and adventurer. From Indiana he went to Wisconsin, where he operated a grocery store until tales of gold drew him to California in 1852.

Baldwin arrived in San Francisco in 1853, and though he arrived with capital, he worked as a day laborer a while before deciding to open a hotel and livery stable. He made money on several ventures and in payment for a debt, he received 2,000 shares of the Ophir Mine, which was then worth a few cents a share. When the great Comstock Lode was discovered in Nevada in 1859, the value of shares of Ophir Mining Company, one of the earliest successful mines, at the south end of the Comstock Lode, jumped to several hundred dollars per share.

Having generated most of his wealth through both savvy and lucky mining investments (for which he received his nickname), Baldwin accumulated large landholdings of 63,000 acres (25,495 ha) in southern California, where the communities of Arcadia and Monrovia are now located.

Baldwin's matrimonial ventures periodically created sensations. He was married four times, the first three marriages ending in divorce. He was sued by four women for breach of promise of marriage, one of which was a 16 year old girl who was awarded $75,000 in damages. One of his accusers wounded him in the Baldwin Hotel with a pistol shot in 1883. About ten years later he was shot by Vinnie Ashley who was attempting to avenge his injured sister. His fourth wife and their daughter, Anita Baldwin, were at his side when he died at their Arcadia ranch.

He is most famous today for his involvement in horse racing: Baldwin founded the original Santa Anita Park racetrack on his estate (later closed and re-opened, again on estate land), breeding and racing some of the finest racehorses of his time. The Baldwin Cottage, and surrounding area, is now the site of the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden.

Thoroughbred racing

Lucky Baldwin bred and raced a number of top Thoroughbred racehorses. He raced under the banner, "Santa Anita Stable". One of his best filly runners, Los Angeles, competed at tracks on the East Coast of the United States where she won the 1887 Tyro and Spinaway Stakes plus the 1888 Monmouth Oaks and Latonia Derby. Among other successes, Baldwin's horses won the American Derby at the now defunct Washington Park Race Track four times: Volante (1885); Silver Cloud (1886); Emperor of Norfolk (1888); and Rey el Santa Anita (1894).


His name is found today denoting the Baldwin Hills district of Los Angeles, the City of Baldwin Park, the Baldwin Stakes at Santa Anita, and Baldwin Avenue in the San Gabriel Valley, among a number of places. His nickname also appears as the name of three pubs in Pasadena and Sierra Madre.

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Elias J. "Lucky" Baldwin's Timeline

April 3, 1828
Butler Co., Ohio, USA
Age 18
Age 25
Age 28
January 10, 1876
Age 47
San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA
Age 55
March 1, 1909
Age 80
Arcadia, Los Angeles, California, USA