Abraham Hass: Pioneer Entrepreneur, Part 2, His San Francisco Years

Abraham Haas 

Value Codes  I – E – L – P

 

Abraham Haas was born in Reckendorf, Bavaria, in 1847.

Haas traveled to the Western U.S. via the Isthmus of Panama route, and started work in his cousins wholesale food business, Hass Bros., in Portland, Oregon.

Hass became a U.S. Citizen in San Francisco in 1873.

 

Along the Way

In Los Angeles, Hass’s brother, Jacob, was in partnership with Herman W. Hellman and Bernard Cohn.

Abraham headed to Los Angeles to join the firm.

Hellman and Cohn eventually left and the company became Haas Baruch Co., which soon became the major food wholesaler in the Southwest.

Abraham Haas WS4?0503

Abraham Haas, #WS4/0503

While in Los Angeles, Abraham was involved in many other ventures, including the Capital Milling Company, early gas and electrical production, and real estate. He also became one of Los Angeles’ major benefactors.

 

San Francisco

One of Abraham’s responsibilities was traveling to San Francisco to make arrangements for shipments to Los Angeles for his firm.

There, he met the “vivacious” Fannie Koshland, daughter of one of the leading wool merchants in the county.

Fanny Koshland and Abraham Haas were married in 1886 and set up housekeeping in Los Angeles.

The couple returned to San Francisco in 1900, when Fanny’s widowed mother “needed company.”

An office of Hass, Baruch Co. was opened in his cousin’s Haas Bros. Building.

Abraham Hass also became a director of Wells Fargo Bank, the San Francisco Savings & Loan, the California Insurance League, and the Union Sugar Company.

 

Community

Abraham Hass was active in the Eureka Benevolent Society (today’s Jewish Family Service), Federation of Jewish Charities, and the Pacific Orphans’ Asylum and Home Society.

His favorite expression was, “It is better to wear out than to rust out.”

 

In the summer of 1920, at the dedication of a new power dam in Fresno, he had a heat stroke from which he never fully recovered.

Abraham Haas passed away the following year, in 1921.

Abraham Haas is remembered as one of the great pioneer Jewish entrepreneurs who helped build the foundations of modern California.

Source

  • Bernice Scharlach, “Abe Haas: Portrait of a Proud Businessman,” Western States Jewish Historical Quarterly 12/1.
  • Norton B. Stern, “Haas Brothers,” Western States Jewish History 41/1.