James Lick (August 25, 1796 – October 1, 1876) was an American carpenter, piano builder, land baron, and patron of the sciences. At the time of his death, he was the wealthiest man in California, and left the majority of his estate to social and scientific causes.
In 1874 he placed $3,000,000 at the disposal of seven trustees, by whom the funds were to be applied to specific uses. The principal divisions of the funds were:
- $700,000 to the University of California for the construction of an observatory and the placing therein of a telescope to be more powerful than any other in existence
- $150,000 for the building and maintenance of free public James Lick Baths in San Francisco
- $540,000 to found and endow an institution of San Francisco to be known as the California School of Mechanic Arts
- $100,000 for the erection of three appropriate groups of bronze statuary to represent three periods in Californian history and to be placed before the city hall of San Francisco
- $60,000 to erect in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, a memorial to Francis Scott Key, author of “The Star-Spangled Banner”