Early Pioneer Jewish Merchants of Santa Ana, California

Early Jewish Pioneers of Santa Ana, California

Values Codes I-E-L


The twenty-four blocks that were to be the new City of Santa Anna were laid out in 1870, 19 years before the area was split from Los Angeles County to became a part of Orange County.


Louis Lewin & A. (David) Hirshfield

Louis Lewin and his brother-in-law, A. (David) Hirshfield are listed in 1872 Los Angeles County Directory.

Both were born in Loebau, Prussia

In 1873 the Anaheim newspaper noted that Lewin & Hirshfield was a large store in Santa Ana.

Louis soon moved to Los Angeles where he operated a stationary store and married Jeannette Lazard, daughter of Solomon Lazard.

Hirshfield moved to Bakerfield where he became a prominent merchant.


The Frankel Brothers

The Frankel Brothers took over the Lewin & Hirshfield business.

In 1874 the local newpaper wrote: The store of Messrs, Frankel Brothers is one of the leading features of the town. They face the town square and do a large trade.”


The Frankel Brothers, Samuel, Michael, Amiel, and Marcus were born in Bohemia.

They came West and opened a store on Los Nietos Rancho, today known as Downey.

Santa Ana was their second store.

However, it closed in 1875


Leopold Goldsmith

Leopold Goldsmith settled in Tustin, a village three miles from Santa Ana, in 1876

Goldsmith was born in Prussian-occupied Poland in 1850.

He was made a citizen in Los Angeles in 1873.

When the Southern Pacific Railroad opened a terminal in Santa Ana, Goldsmith moved his store there.

In Santa Ana, he was joined by his brother, Adolph.

They operated under the name of “Goldsmith Brothers.”


Levi (Levy) Gildmacher

Levi Gildmacher was born in Germany in 1831.

Levi Gildmacher was made a citizen in Oroville, California in 1867

Gildmacher Building, 1887 courtesy Guy Ball

Gildmacher Building, 1887.  Photograph courtesy of Guy Ball

In 1878, Gildmacher was operating a general merchandise store in Santa Ana.


Levi Gildmacher married Hulda Reinhaus.

Gilsmacher soon sent for his brothers-in-laws and their sisters to help run his large and prospering store.

When her four brothers and three sisters arrived in 1879, they became the largest Jewish family in Santa Ana.

The Reinhaus Brothers

The Reinhaus brothers worked in the Gildmacher store until 1886, when Max, Julius and Gustave opened their own dry goods store, Reinhaus Bros.

Reinhaus Adv in The Daily Evening Blade of Orange County CA

They all learned to speak Spanish and developed a large business relation with the many Basque sheepmen in the area.

Max & Julius served as officers in the Masons.

Their three sisters, none of whom married, opened a successful millinery store.


Marcus Hoff

Marcus Hoff opened a dry goods store in Santa Ana in1886, known as the Great Eastern Dry Goods and Clothing House.

He had been born in Austria in 1841 and became was naturalized in Los Angeles in 1876.


Abraham Goldstein

In the 1880’s Abraham Goldstein also operated a dry goods store in Santa Ana.


Jews in early Orange County?  You Bet!

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

  • Santa Ana, California: Its First Jews and First Congregations, by Norton B. Stern, Vol. 44, #3/4

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