Minnesota Exhibition Hall

The Pioneer Jews of Minnesota

Minnesota Centenial Stamp

Minnesota Centennial Stamp


St. Paul, Minnesota was the northern-most steamboat landing on the Mississippi River.

It was there that the first Jewish pioneers created Mt. Zion Hebrew Congregation in 1856

Most of these early German Jewish pioneers became clothing and dry goods merchants, fur traders and cigar makers.

Minnesota Welcome Vintage Postcard

Minnesota Welcome Vintage Postcard

The Eastern European Jewish pioneers who arrived in the last 1880’s, became craftsmen on the new railroads, scrap metal dealers, and workers in garment factories.

Jewish pioneers spread into newer towns, such as Austin, Albert Lea, and Mankato, mostly as merchandisers of dry goods.

Once iron ore was discovered, Duluth’s Jewish population soared, reaching a peak of about 4,000.

New towns, such as Virginia, Hibbing, Chisholm, and Eveleth then flourished with Jewish merchants.


Jewish Organizations

Mount Zion Temple of St. Paul, Minnesota’s First Synagogue, 1856

Chevra B’nai Ya’akov/Beth Jacob of St. Paul, Minnesota

Shaarai Tov / Temple Israel of Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1878 –

Early Jewish Pioneers

Julius Austrian, Early Jewish Pioneer Merchant of Northern Minnesota & Wisconsin

The Elfelt Brothers, Edwin, Charles & Abram, Early Jewish Pioneer Merchants of St. Paul Minnesota

Isaac Marks, Jewish Pioneer Merchant of Manketo, Minnesota

Jacob Jackson Noah, Pioneer Jewish Attorney of St. Paul, Minnesota

Maurice Mordecai Samuel, Jewish Pioneer Fur Trader and Civil War Army Officer of Early Minnesota



Cowgirl Minnesota Vintage Postcard

Cowgirl Minnesota Vintage Postcard