Adolph Levi: Early Jewish Pioneer and Businessman of the San Diego Area.

Adolph Levi

Adolph Levi of Julian and San Diego #WS1527

Adolph Levi of Julian and San Diego

Values Codes – I-E-L-P


Adolph Levi was born in 1858 in western Bohemia in a village called Langendorflas.

He had four brothers, Simon, Nathan, Isaac and Rudolph and one sister, Rosa.


Along the way

In 1877, at age eighteen, Adolph Levi joined his older brothers Simon, Nathan and Isaac in San Diego, California.

Simon Levi was working for their uncle Samuel Steiner at Steiner, Klauber & Co. a grocery and general merchandise store at 7th and Island Avenues in downtown San Diego.

After a year at Steiner, Klauber & Co., Adolph Levi set out on his own and eventually settled in Julian City where his brother Isaac Levi owned a store.


Adolph Levi's Julian Store, 1890s #WS1526

Adolph Levi’s Julian Store, 1890s

Adolph Levi bought a grocery business, then expanded to a sawmill and livery stable.

With partner Joseph Marks, Adolph Levi owned Oak Grove Ranch, fourteen miles north of Warner Hot Springs.

In Julian, they built the brick building that would eventually become the Julian Drug Store.

When he married and started a family, they moved to San Diego where Adolph Levi went into the hack and livery stable business.

He had several hack companies and stables around San Diego such as the Diamond Livery Stable at 521 7th, the Pacific Coast Hack and Transfer Line and Levi’s Hack and Transfer Co.

He was also involved in real estate; he owned land from the ocean to Lakeside.

Adolph Levi Livery Stable, San Diego. #WS1528

Adolph Levi Livery Stable, San Diego.


In 1885, Adolph Levi travelled back to his birthplace in Europe to attend his sister’s wedding, where he met Eleanora Schwartz.

The two were married and returned to Julian, California. 

Eleanora and Adolph had a son, Edgar and a daughter, Selma.

Later, Adolph and his son Edgar owned Adolph Levi & Son Livestock and had ranches and dairy farms all over San Diego County.



Adolph Levi was deeply involved with the Jewish community.

He, along with his brother Simon and Samuel Fox, were instrumental in selecting the site and completing the building of the first Temple Beth Israel at 2nd and Beech Streets in 1889.

Adolph Levi and Samuel Fox selected the second building site at 3rd and Laurel in 1926.

Adolph Levi was the fourth president of Congregation Beth Israel from 1912-1926 after his brother Simon.


Though the five brothers all lived in San Diego at one time, the only part  of the family still in San Diego today are descendants of Adolph and Eleanora.

Rudolf, Adolph, Isaac, Simon, & Nathan Levi, San Diego, 1879. #WS1525

Rudolf, Adolph, Isaac, Simon, & Nathan Levi, San Diego, 1879.


More information can be found in the following issues of Western States Jewish History:

  • Levi Brothers; Levi Saga: Temecula; Julian; San Diego; San Diego; Schwartz, Henry; 6/3
  • Levi, Simon; San Diego; 1966; Norton Stern; 41/4



To enlarge pictures, simply click on them.

Stanley & Laurel Schwartz are Curators for this Adolf Levi Exhibit