Louis Cole, Early Jewish Pioneer Merchant of Hanford, California: An 1891 Description

Louis M. Cole

Values Codes I-E-L

Curator’s Note: We recently found part of a large book that appears to have been published in 1891 titled Memorial and Biographical His­tory of the Counties of Fresno, Tulare, and Kern, California. 

It lists many of the German born Jewish merchants and professionals that formed an important and interconnected part of the San Joaquin Valley’s economy. In reading these biographical sketches, please note the language of the time, as well as the affection given to the subjects. The author is unknown. Below is one of the entries, edited slightly for our Museum’s “style.” These are 1891 “facts.”


Louis M. Cole was born in Chicago, in 1870.

Louis Call and Ed Weisbaum, Hanford,CA [1923’s ] #WS2317

His father, Samuel Cole, a practicing physician of that city, moved to Denver in 1871, practiced his profession there fourteen years and then returned to Chicago, where he still resides.

Louis was educated in the Denver high school and took a course of study at the Bryant & Stratton Business College of Chicago.


Hanford, California

In 1887, he came to Hanford, and under the instruction of his uncle, Arthur Dinkelspiel, he learned the mercantile business.

Louis M. Cole is associated with E. E.Manheim, they being partners and managers of the firm of Kutner, Goldstein & Co., general merchants at Hanford.

The business was started in 1881, by Kutner, Goldstein & Co., with Mr. S. Rehoefer as manager in a store building 25 x 100 feet, located on Sixth Street.

In 1886, Mr. Rehoefer sold his interest to Mr. Arthur Dinkelspiel, who then assumed the management.

The business having grown to such proportions that greater facilities were necessary, an addition of 25 x 100 feet was made, and the capac­ity of the store doubled. A warehouse, 50 x 50 feet, was also added.

Downtown-Hanford, CA [1877], #WS1359

Business was then continued very successfully until September, 1890, when that portion of the town was swept away by fire, the store and contents being entirely destroyed.

Before the debris had ceased to smoke, operations to rebuild had commenced, and, sixty days from the date of the fire, their present handsome store, 50 x 150 feet, was ready for occupancy.

In December, 1890, Kutner, Goldstein & Co., “The Universal Providers,” was incorporated.

Mr. Dinkelspiel then went to Fresno to reside and Messrs. Cole and Manheim, former clerks, were placed in management of the Hanford branch of their extended business.

The new store is very handsomely and completely fitted, and their extended stock is all graded in the several departments for convenience of handling.


For more information on Louis Cole, see the following issue of Western States Jewish History:

  • 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

Since most of this exhibit is built on “facts” from 1891, any additional information or pictures would be appreciated – for the “Rest of the Story.”