The Benedict name has been associated with the plumbing trade in the San Gabriel Valley area for over one hundred years, and it’s business roots can be traced back to the 19th century.
Aaron Ray Benedict (1885-1974) was born in Pleasantville, Pennsylvania on October 9, 1885. When Aaron was just two years old, his father died, leaving the family in financial straits. Looking to better her situation, his mother moved the family to Monte Vista, Colorado where she remarried in 1889. In January 1894 the family relocated to Pasadena (according to family lore, by covered wagon) and his mother established a laundry and cleaning business.
Aaron Benedict attended local public schools, but left Pasadena High School at the age of sixteen to learn the plumbing trade. In 1901, he was hired as a $5-per-week apprentice by the pioneer plumbing firm known as Munger & Griffith located at 21 West Colorado in what is now Old Pasadena.
Founded by Austin Munger (1845-1921), a native of Michigan, and Eugene C. Griffith around 1888, Munger & Griffith had started out as a hardware store. Recognizing the need for reliable plumbing services by the fast-growing city, they soon phased out retail hardware sales and focused the business on providing plumbing, heating, ventilation, and tinning services. Around 1903, Austin Munger parted with the business and Eugene Griffith continued as owner.
Mr. Griffith’s side of the business became the Crown Hardware & Plumbing Company. He stayed on as treasurer, and new owners were brought in: J. W. Brower (Aaron Benedict’s brother-in-law) and his brother Lewis Brower. Around 1914, J. W. Brower left the management of the firm to Aaron Benedict. Later in 1914, Mr. Benedict formed a partnership with his half-brother James D. Gingrich. Together, they created the company known as Benedict & Gingrich. When both Brower brothers died in 1917, Mr. Benedict took over ownership of Crown Hardware and merged it into his own company. He phased out the hardware business and concentrated the business on the plumbing trade.
In 1922, Benedict & Gingrich left their longtime Old Pasadena location and moved way out east to 1422 East Colorado Boulevard (then Street), opposite the campus of what would become Pasadena City College. The new two-story brick building, which the Benedict firm would occupy for sixty years, represented a total investment of $132,000-a very sizeable sum in 1922. Space was provided for a shop, offices, storage areas, and residential apartments.
The firm remained prosperous, due to the partners’ hard work and “honorable and efficient business transactions.” The company specialized in plumbing and heating installations for high-grade residences and their work took them all over the Los Angeles area, to such wealthy communities as Beverly Hills, Holmby Hills, Flintridge, San Marino, and of course Pasadena. Their clients included a number of entertainment celebrities; famed motion picture director King Vidor; Harry Culver, the founder of Culver City; director Fred Niblo; and William R. Staats, a significant Pasadena real estate man who developed the prestigious Oak Knoll neighborhood. Benedict & Gingrich also laid all the irrigation pipes for Pasadena’s famed Busch Gardens. In addition to specializing in installations, the firm also sold appliances.
In 1945, Aaron Benedict bought out the interests of his partner James Gingrich and went into association with his son Walter L. Benedict, and the changed the firm’s name to Benedict & Benedict. Together, they took the company to new heights, as it became one of the largest businesses of its type in Southern California. In just one five-year period they were credited with having plumbed over 3,500 housing units.
In September of 1981, after over sixty years of the family ownership, Walter Benedict sold Benedict & Benedict, dividing the business into three units. Gene Barkley, an employee, bought the appliance portion and operated it under the name of Benedict & Benedict appliances, which closed down in the fall of 2002 upon Mr. Barkley’s retirement. The heating and air-conditioning division was sold to O. A. Poindexter. It is known as Benedict & Benedict Heating and Air Conditioning Company, located in Arcadia. Finally, the plumbing division, Benedict & Benedict Plumbing, was sold to two former employees, Victor Hebert and Steve Tietz.
Benedict & Benedict Plumbing Company moved to 2667 E. Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena. Upon Victor Hebert’s retirement in 1992, his son Raymond Hebert became co-owner of the firm. In 2009, Steve Tietz retired and sold his interest to Raymond Hebert.
Today, under the guidance of Ritz Plumbing, the firm continues to serve Southern California homeowners and businesses in the tradition of its founding fathers nearly 100 years ago. Benedict & Benedict offers plumbing customers the latest technology, products and techniques, backed by old-fashioned attention and value.