Bestor Robinson, standing second from left 1
1931 Palisades climbing school

(James) Bestor Robinson (February 9, 1898 – December 9, 1987) was a mountaineer, lawyer and environmentalist. He was the law partner of Earl Warren, long-time director of the Sierra Club, and 2nd child and only surviving child of Judge Edward C. Robinson and Sarah T. Merritt, daughter of James Bestor Merritt. Robinson grew up at the family home at 552 Montclair Avenue.

Robinson went to the University of California then attended Boalt Law School and Harvard Law School.

In 1925, he married Florence Breed (Robinson). Florence's father was Arthur Hastings Breed, long time Senator in the California State Senate. They had four children: Edward Robinson, Carolyn Robinson, Merritt Robinson and Warren Robinson. Florence was also a University of California graduate (mathematics), and was the first woman president of the California Spring Garden Show. 4 Bestor was also involved in the production of the show during the 1930s.

Robinson took part in a number of early first ascents, including the Higher Cathedral Spire in Yosemite in 1934. 2 He was director of the Sierra Club from 1935 until 1966, and served as president from 1946 to 1948. 2

Bestor built a lovely Mediterranean home in the Oakmore neighborhood in 1924. 4420 Bridgeview Drive was first home to be built in Walter Leimert's new development; the architect was Guy Brown. By 1952 Robinson and his engineering student son Merritt had constructed a bomb shelter, twenty feet below the home. 5


Robinson served in the US Navy in WWI and then later served in the US Army from 1942 until 1946, in the quartermaster corps. 3

Links and References

  1. From Glen Dawson Collection
  2. Bestor Robinson on Wikipedia
  3. Colonel Bestor Robinson Home After Four Years in Army Oakland Tribune April 15, 1946
  4. Garden Show's First Woman President Oakland Tribune April 26, 1964
  5. Bring on Your A-Bombs Oakland Tribune February 25, 1952