STORY BEHIND THE NAME
Greenlaw Partners was named in memory of founder, Wil Smith’s, grandfather Greenlaw Grupe Sr. Much of the history behind Grupe’s lifetime contributions to real estate in Stockton, CA and the surrounding areas can be read in the article below that was published in The Stockton Record in October of 1995.
Greenlaw Grupe Sr. — true visionary
October 19, 1995 – 12:00 am
Back in the late 40s, when Stockton virtually ended at the Calaveras River, Greenlaw Grupe Sr. and his partner, F. Leroy Sims, tried to annex their new Lincoln Village subdivision to the city of Stockton. No, said the City Council at the time, Lincoln Village will never amount to anything. It’s too far out. Grupe had vision. The city did not. Most of Lincoln Village and all of Lincoln Center, the upscale shopping center, and their tax revenues remain outside the city to this day.
That story speaks to the sort of man Greenlaw Grupe Sr. was. He knew what Lincoln Village could and would become — the first truly planned community in Northern California. He also had a vision of what his son, Greenlaw Fritz Grupe Jr., would later develop as Lincoln Village/West, the first true water-oriented development in Stockton. He was a visionary. He dared to do what many in the Establishment thought impossible. Stockton has had many innovative, large-scale developers since Sims & Grupe –Fritz Grupe, the Becks, the Stone family, Eckhard Schmitz, Alex Spanos, etc. But Grupe and his partners were the pioneers. They made it possible for those who followed. Greenlaw Grupe Sr.’s death Tuesday at 83 leaves a large void in the community.
The names Sims and Grupe were almost as one in Stockton’s history from the time the partnership was created — the firm’s roots went back to 1852 – in 1935. But Grupe was, as banker David Rea recalls, more of an idea man in the partnership. His greatest idea was Lincoln Village, a planned community on the old Benjamin Holt ranch. It was revolutionary back then: not just housing, but shopping facilities were developed, park and swimming pool sites dedicated, homeowners associations created and school sites set aside. School sites? Yes — and when Mable Barron wasn’t the name of a school but the name of a teacher in a one-building, 105-student district. Sims & Grupe didn’t’ build Lincoln Center to compete with downtown but to complement it. They didn’t build just upscale housing. They also built the so-called flat-tops and California Moderns that were a staple of moderate-income, post-war housing in Stockton.
Central Stockton, with its orderly street pattern and numerous parks and civic buildings, is a monument to the vision of Stockton’s founder, Capt. Charles M. Weber. The planned communities of north Stockton — the Lincoln Villages, Brooksides, Quail Lakes, Venetian Gardens, etc. — are a monument to Greenlaw Grupe Sr. His vision, his perseverance made them possible.