William Kettner Edit Profile
Public school education.
He served four terms in Congress from 1913 through 1921 and is credited with bringing many U.S. Navy facilities to San Diego. He came to San Diego when he was 21, in the middle of an economic boom in the late 1880s, and worked various odd jobs around the state. The couple divorced in 1904.
Kettner married Marion Morgan in 1905, and they lived in Visalia until moving to San Diego in 1907. William Kettner set up an insurance business, and later became involved with real estate and banking. Kettner was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1912.
Because of his popularity with the Chamber of Commerce, he was supported by Republicans, including the conservative San Diego Union, and Democrats. Republicans used the slogan "Why not Kettner?"
During his four terms in Congress, 1913–1921, he spent much effort bringing Naval bases to San Diego. Roosevelt visited San Diego during the 1915 Panama-California Exposition and came away impressed with the area.
He helped Kettner's efforts to establish bases in San Diego as assistant Naval secretary and later as President. By the time Kettner retired from Congress in 1921, he had secured many Naval bases, including Camp Kearny on the site which is now Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, the Broadway Naval Supply Depot, the 32nd Street Naval Station, San Diego Naval Hospital, Naval Training Center San Diego, and Naval Air Station North Island. The military later became for a time the largest employer in San Diego County.
Kettner was nicknamed the "Million Dollar Congressman" for his ability to gain Naval bases in San Diego. He stepped down as congressman due to poor health and a financial downturn with his insurance business. Kettner died in San Diego in 1930 and is buried at Greenwood Memorial Park, beside his mother, who died in 1912.
In 1914 the fireboat Bill Kettner, in use until 1961, was named in his honor. In 1930, San Diego's Arctic Street was renamed Kettner Boulevard to honor him. I firmly believe that most people have a longing to do something for their fellowman, in order that it may be said when they have passed on that their lives have not been spent in vain.
Member 63rd to 66th Congresses (1913-1921), 11th California District. Member Disciples of Christ.
Married Marion Morgan, August 24, 1905.