Nathan Goldtree; Early Pioneer Merchant of San Luis Obispo, California

Nathan Goldtree

Nathan Goldtree of San Luis Obispo

Nathan Goldtree of San Luis Obispo

Value Codes:  I – E – L – P


Nathan Goldtree, originally Nathan Goldbaum, was born, in 1838, in Adelnau, a region of Posen, Prussia.

Nathan Goldtree moved to San Francisco, in 1856, when he was 18 years of age.


San Luis Obispo

The following year, Nathan Goldtree arrived in San Luis Obispo, California, and began to build his fortune.

First he opened a small store in the old Quintana Corner.

Business was brisk and money plentiful. The firm thrived.

In 1865, his brothers, Isaac, Marcus, and Morris joined Nathan in the business, now called, Goldtree Bros.

They moved from their original modest store to the brick block, built by themselves, on the most prominent corner in San Luis Obispo.


In 1868, they had the very first large advertisement in the very first edition of the San Luis Obispo Pioneer News:


The Oldest Business House in San Luis Obispo. Established, 1856.

Keep constantly on hand, and offer for sale to the public, their well selected and complete stock of all kinds of DRY GOODS, CLOTHING, hats & caps, boots & shoes AND furnishing goods, of every description for Men, Women, Boy’s and Misses wear.

Together with a large assortment of groceries and provisions, paints, oils, varnish, medicines, stationery, tinware, crockery, lamps, liquors ETC.

All of our Goods are PURCHASED AT AUCTION, and we assure the Public that we are enabled to sell Cheaper than the Cheapest!

All kinds of Country Produce taken in exchange for Goods purchased. Call and examine our stock before purchasing elsewhere.

All Orders from the Country promptly attended to.

–GOLDTREE BROS. San Luis Obispo, Jan. 4, 1868

Their business continued until 1898.


Nathan Goldtree also served as Vice-President of the Narrow Gauge Railroad Co., which later became the Pacific Coast Railroad.

Later he served on the Committee of 421 that helped make way for the Southern Pacific Railroad to link San Luis Obispo with other California Central Coast towns.

He was a founder of the banking house of Jack Goldtree & Co.



Nathan Goldtree served for many years as the Treasurer and Trustee of Congregation Sherith Israel in San Francisco.

He was also a Director of the Old Peoples’ Home on Lombard Street.



Nathan Goldtree was a member of the Mason’s King David Lodge #209 in San Luis Obispo.

He was also a member of Bay City Parlor of the Odd Fellows.



In 1878, Nathan Goldtree married Miss Augusta Kaminski.


Together they had four children, Haidee, Morris Nathan, Sidney Ausgust and Palmyre.

They had homes in both San Luis Obispo and San Francisco.


Nathan Goldtree retired to San Francisco in his later years and died, in 1902.



  • The Jews of San Francisco, by Martin A. Meyer, Ph.D., Emanu-El, San Francisco, June 1916.
  • Visions of Reform, Congregation Emanu-El and the Jews of San Francisco, 1849- – 1999, Fred Rosenbaum, Judah L. Magnus Museum, Berkeley, CA, 2000.

David Epstein is the Curator for this Nathan Goldtree Exhibit.

Thanks to Jurgen Pfaff, who’s wife is the a descendent of Nathan Goldtree for additional information.

Any additional information or pictures would be appreciated to make this a more complete exhibit..