John D. Spreckels visited San Diego in the mid-1880s and became interested in the development boom. Adolph B. Spreckels, his
brother, joined forces with John in many business ventures. The Spreckels Brothers Commerical Company, established in 1886,
built a brick warehouse and a wharf near Pacific Highway and G Street to process bulk commodities such as coal, cement, and
railroad iron. The Spreckels’ empire expanded to various companies, utilities, and buildings in the San Diego and other locations.
John Spreckels worked with several other local businessmen, such as E. S. Babcock, Charles T. Hinde, and D. C. Collier. Businesses
included the Mission Beach Company, First National Bank of San Diego, Savage Tire Company, and the J.D. and A.B. Spreckels
Company. Utilities included the Coronado Water Company, Southern California Water Company, and the Hercules Oil Company. In
addition, John D. Spreckels was part owner of the San Diego & Coronado Ferry Company and the San Diego Electric Railway Company,
and he was a key player in the expansion of the railway system for the Panama-California Exposition in 1915. The Spreckels
brothers built the Spreckels Theater Building, the Union Building, and the San Diego Hotel, among others.