The Hochheimers; Jewish Pioneer Family with Grainery and Mechantile Stores in the Bakersfield Area

The Hochheimer Family

Values Codes I-E-L


The Hochheimers boys were born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, of German descent.

Moses Hochheimer was born, in 1836.

Amiel Hochheimer was born, in 1849

Their sisters were Mattie (later, Mrs. Julian Brock) and Bertha (later, Mrs. Sam Blum)


Along the way . . .

In 1852, the Hochheimer family set out for California, crossing the Isthmus of Panama, settling in the San Juaquin Valley.

Moses and Amiel Hochheimer went to school in Stockton, CA.

In the 1870s, the brothers worked for Eppinger & Co., General Merchandise and Wheat, in Dixon.


The Business . . .  

In 1876, Moses Hochheimer, with William Johnson, opened a store in Willows – even before the town was surveyed.

Amiel Hochheimer bought out Johnson’s share of the store, which then became  Hochheimer’s & Co., in 1879.

In 1890, the Hochheimers bought their former employer, grain merchant, Eppinger & Co.

Hochheimer Store, 1890

Hochheimer Store, 1890

Malcolm Brock, the Hochheimers’ nephew, joined the business, in 1894.

In 1900, they bought another store from Otto Belau and Dave Hirshfeld in Bakersfield for $20,000.

Hochheimer name still visible on store in 1920

Hochheimer name still visible on store in 1920

Fire struck their Willows store, as well as other businesses in 1919.

Six weeks later, Hochheimers & Co. was up and running again in a temporary location.

Hochheimer Christmas Adv.

Hochheimer Christmas Adv.

By 1920, the new Bakersfield location at 20th and Chester was open for business.

Hochheimer's new store under construction in 1920.

Hochheimer’s new store under construction.


In 1922, the rice crop failure affected many of their credit customers, causing their Willows store to close.

Malcolm Brock, who had been in Alaska, returned to help reorganize the troubled family business.

He bought Hochheimers & Co. with the approval of its creditors, and renamed the store, Brock’s.

Brock’s eventually became part of the Gottschalk’s Department Store chain.



In 1877, Moses Hochheimer was named first Postmaster of Germantown, now Artois.

In later years he was a member of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.

Between 1896 & 1916, Amiel Hochheimer was a delegate to Republican National Convention from California.

In 1897, Amiel Hochheimer chaired a creamery association.



Moses Hochheimer married Hattie Crawford

Moses Hochheimer died, in 1911


Amiel Hochheimer married Bertha Blum

They had 4 children, three boys and a daughter: Ira, Monroe, and Jacob (Jack). Daughter Elsie became Mrs. Brownstein, of Los Angeles.


The boys entered the family business.


Amiel Hochhmeimer died, in 1928.

He is interned at the Home of Peace Cemetery, Temple Emanu-El Mausoleum, in Colma, California


Sam Blum of San Francisco, married Bertha Hochheimer

He was in the merchantile business and a banker in Cordova, Alaska.


Julian Brock married Mattie Hochheimer

He was a partner in Cohn & Brock, retail clothing store in San Francisco.


Malcom Brock was born, in 1878.

His first full-time job was working for his uncles Moses and Amiel Hochheimer in Willows, in 1894.

1906, Malcom Brock went to San Francisco to look into construction possibilities.

1909, he went to Cordova, Alaska to manage uncle Sam Blum’s Blum, O’Neill – General Merchandise Company and the First Bank of Cordova.

Malcom Brock became partner and President.

In 1922, Malcom Brock returned to Bakersfield to help rescue Hochheimer & Co.

He re-named the store – Brocks.



For more information on the Hochheimers, see the following:

  • We Brought Sinai to San Joaquin, The Story of the Jews of Kern County, by Shirley Ann Newman, Temple Beth El, Bakersfield, CA 1998.
  • Pioneer Merchants of Tulare County, California, by Annie R. Mitchell, WSJH, Vol. 2, Issue #3, 1970.
  • “Jewish Businessmen of the Counties of Fresno, Tulare & Kern Counties,” from Memorial and Biographical History of the Counties of Fresno, Tulare & Kern, California, 1891, WSJH, V34, #4, 2002

Regina Merwin is Curator of this Hochheimer Exhibit.

Any additional information or pictures would be appreciated.

The plaque below is in Bakersfield, California, in Kern County. Marker is at the intersection of 1918 Chester Avenue and 20th Street,

“This site was deeded by Col Thomas Baker to Agnes Stine in 1871. Dave Hirshfeld ran the Pioneer Store here in 1899. Succeeded by Otto Belau in the same year. In 1904 the business was sold to Hochheimer and Co. After the 1919 fire the structure was rebuilt in 1920. In 1924 the property became Brock’s Department Store, the present building was modernized following the earthquakes of 1952.” Erected 1970 by Kern County Historical Society.

Hochheimer token

Hochheimer token

Hochheimer/Brock Plaque

Hochheimer/Brock Plaque