Morris L. Goodman, First Jewish Councilman of Los Angeles and a Founder of Anaheim

Morris L. Goodman

Values Code: I-E-L-P


“Morris L. Goodman exhibited many of the characteristics of the Jewish immigrants who came to the American West in the 19th Century.

“He quickly learned the language, acquired merchandising skills and became a naturalized citizen.

“He transfered his patriotism into governmental service when called.

“He was at home with both Jews and Christians.”

–Norton Stern & William M. Kramer

Morris L. Goodman was born in Baveria in 1819.


Along the Way

Morris Goodman, First “American Born” Councilman of Los Angeles

Morris Goodman became a U.S. Citizen in Cincinnati in 1843.

From there he moved to New York for a short spell before coming to Los Angeles in 1849 – to become a dry goods merchant.


Business Life

In the first American Census of 1850, Morris L. Goodman was one of the eight Jews in Los Angeles, all living and merchandising in Bell’s Row at the corner of Aliso and Los Angeles Streets.

Here he was forced to learn Spanish rapidly in order to do business with most locals.

His partners in his store were two other Pioneer Jews from Germany, Joseph Plumer and Philip Michael. 

The following year Goodman was running the store by himself.


Morris Goodman also invested in Los Angeles properties in those early days.

He owned five lots on Spring Street and on Broadway.

He also was a partner in a property investment company, Rimpau, Fritze & Co.

Rimpau would later become his partner in what was to become Orange County.


Morris Goodman moved to La Ballona Valley, today known as Culver City and Palms.

There he became a Ranchero instead of a businessman – as is listed as such in the U.S. Census.


Orange County

In 1871, Morris L. Goodwin led a group of German immigrants to settle a new town to be called Anaheim, in an area that would eventually become known as Orange County.  (see below)


Civic Duties

When the first Common Council of Los Angeles was sworn in during 1850, Morris L. Goodman was one of the first seven citizens to serve.

This early Council set up the first city school and the police department.

Morris Goodman lead both committees.

In 1856, he was appointed U.S. Deputy Marshall as well as a member of the County Grand Jury.

With the founding of the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, in 1860, two of the five Supervisors were Jewish, Morris L. Goodman and Julius Morris.

In 1858, Morris L. Goodman was chosen as Chairman of the Los Angeles Delegation to the District Convention of the Democratic Party.



In 1853, Morris Goodman was a Charter Member of the Masonic Lodge #42 of Los Angeles.

He had become a Mason during his stay in New York.

in 1855, Goodman organized and became the first President of Los Angeles Lodge #35 of the International Order of Odd Fellows.



In 1871, Morris L. Goodwin left California to seek his fortune in Arizona, but returned to California in 1872, where he set up a dry goods and clothing store in Anaheim.

He joined together with his old business associate, Theodore Rimpau to create Goodman & Rimpau.

Goodman & Rimpau Buisiness Card

Goodman & Rimpau Buisiness Card

First they advertised their merchandise as:

“the best and most carefully selected stock ever brought to Anaheim”

A short while later their ads read:

“Goodman & Rimpau are selling off their stock of goods at ruinous rates.”

Then, simply:

“Everything new and beautiful in the dry and fancy goods line.”

Morris Goodman was the senior partner and a gifted buyer.

He would travel to San Francisco in the Spring and Fall to buy merchandise for the coming season.

Goodman & Rimpau prospered.


Morris Goodman retired in 1886.

Morris Goodman died in 1888.


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

  • Goodman, Morris L. Los Angeles’ First ‘American’ Councilman – 1850. Dr. William M. Kramer and Norton B. Stern.; 34/3&4

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