Monday, January 18, 2021




At times certain individuals are encountered who determined to market a bottled product but have little known history for such a venture. Eberhard William Park was just such an individual. When he arrived in California is somewhat of a mystery, however, he is likely the same Park noted in the 1858 San Francisco Directory as Edward W. Park, a newspaper carrier. A native of Mecklenburg, Prussia, he was born December 3, 1828. The 1860 U.S. census for San Francisco, also lists him as a newspaper carrier but notes his real estate holdings are worth $15,000, and a personal estate valued at $3000. This is a significant amount for a newspaper carrier.  The 1863 and1864 IRS tax list notes his yearly income was $1867, which was also considerable for a newspaper carrier.

 Park’s occupation, as noted in the city directories was a newspaper carrier until 1872 and 1873, when none was given. In the 1874 directory he is noted as president of the California Hyde (sic) and Leather Co., but in 1875 no occupation is given. This business was incorporated in 1872 with Park being one of three trustees. (Daily Alta California, November 5, 1872).  The company can no longer be documented after 1875.

 In 1876, what was likely the source of his primary income all along, his occupation is noted as “real estate” in the San Francisco directory. By 1879 his real estate earnings were significant enough for him to be listed as a “capitalist”, which is an apex for a directory listing.  Again, it is not clear how Park acquired his property, however, he owned a total of four blocks in the Mission District. ( Real Estate Reporter of the Pacific Coast, San Francisco, Calif., April 25, 1874)

 His directory listing for 1880 probably reflects the occupation he chose to fill his time, which was the proprietor of the Park House at the Northeast corner of 24th and Mission Streets in San Francisco. This would be essentially across the street from his residence.


A necessary feature of the Park House was a good cook, especially one who could bake bread.  This ad exemplifies one of the issues of running a hostelry. (Daily Alta California, June 25, 1882)

Parks demise was noted in newspapers just a year later. “E. W. Park, aged 55, died suddenly last night from the effects of excitement produced by a quarrel with a customer at his bar.  He had been suffering from paralysis of the heart.” (Morning Tribune, San Luis Obispo, July 13, 1883)  He died July 12, 1883.  Another version noted, . . . “His place was visited about nine o’clock by a drunken man, who created a disturbance, and in the process of ejecting him, Park became unnerved.  He lay down in bed and died within a few moments.” (San Francisco Bulletin, July 13, 1883)

 Park’s wife, Mary Doherty Park, died December 15, 1888. There were four surviving children remaining to deal with the estate, and with their daughter, Hildegard Park, being the administrix. The estate was estimated at $100,000, a fairly hefty sum at the time. However, the real estate, which was the majority of the value, was heavily mortgaged.




The Park House property was sold by Eberhard’s widow, Mary Park.  This description gives an idea of its extent. (Daily Alta California, November 5, 1883)


What motivated Park to develop and produce a medicinal product that he claimed, “will make you young again”, is a mystery. Perhaps it was just wishful thinking on his part, however, one can only assume that his goal was to make at least some profit gain on his medicine. No newspaper advertisements were located even though they should have been an essential business practice for medicinal sales at that time. He registered the name of his medicine, ESSENTIA NOBILIS, with the California Secretary of State, under the trade mark laws of California, on January 15, 1879, as Trademark No. 471. Its meaning from the Latin would be “noble essence”. Park also ordered bottles for his medicine from the San Francisco and Pacific Glass Works, with the name embossed in the glass. Examples are extremely rare with perhaps only three or four known to collectors.


An example of E.W. PARK’S ESSENTIA NOBILIS bottle. It is large, being about 9.75 inches in height, and holding approximately one quart. One can’t help but wonder if he also served his medicine in the bar at his Park House.




The label for PARK’S ESSENTIA NOBILIS was deposited with his trademark registration, and shown here. It may be the only extant copy of this rare piece of San Francisco history.


Also note that a carte de visite photograph of E.W. Park is currently located at as part of his gravesite memorial.


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    1. Pretty sure only two known. This one and one in Sebastopol. Anyone know of any others?