Thomas Thorkildsen

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Thomas Thorkildsen
Spouse(s)Dora Garinger

Thomas Thorkildsen (1869-1950) was an American businessman. He became known as the "Borax King" after his ownership of borax mines in California made him a millionaire.[1]


Early life[edit]

Thomas Thorkildsen was born in 1869 in Wisconsin.[1] His father was a lumberjack who had immigrated from Denmark.[1]


He worked for the Pacific Coast Borax Company, owned by Francis Marion Smith, in Chicago and later at the Death Valley, where Stephen Mather was his boss.[1] He resigned in 1898 and purchased a borax mine in the Frazier Mountain, Ventura County.[1] With Mather, he founded the Thorkildsen-Mather Borax Company.[1][2] In 1905, he purchased another borax mine in Tick Canyon, a canyon in the Santa Clarita Valley.[1] He became a millionnaire thanks to this second mine.[1] Additionally, he became known as the "Borax King."[1]

Personal life[edit]

He married Dora Garinger.[1] In 1912, they moved into a Craftsman-style estate at the top of Alpine Drive overlooking Coldwater Canyon in Beverly Hills, California.[3] It spanned seventeen acres. A year later, they purchased eleven more acres adjacent to it.[3] They sold it to Kirk B. Johnson, an oilman, in 1921.[3] The house was torn down and subdivided in the 1960s.[3] When he divorced, he moved into an estate in Los Feliz, Los Angeles called Briarcliff Manor, which became known for extravagant parties.[1] He died in 1950.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Cecilia Rasmussen, 'Borax King' Cleaned Up, but Died Washed Up, The Los Angeles Times, March 12, 2000
  2. ^ Alan Pollack, Kim Stephens, E. J. Stephens, Legendary Locals of the Santa Clarita Valley, Arcadia Publishing, 2012, p. 39 [1]
  3. ^ a b c d Marc Wanamaker, Early Beverly Hills, Arcadia Publishing, 2005, p. 41 [2]