Herman Shwarz and Elizabeth Fleishman Shwarz, Early Jewish Pioneers of Napa, California

Herman Shwarz and Elizabeth Fleishman Shwarz

Values Codes  I-E-L


Herman Shwarz was born in Germany, in 1848.



Herman Shwarz arrived in Napa, Californi,a in 1871.

In 1871, Herman Shwarz and his new wife, Elizabeth, opened a hardware store that, by 1906, was the largest of its kind in the North Bay area serving Napa, Sonoma and Solano counties.

Along with the usual tools and farming implements, the store sold stoves, paints, camping equipment, hunting and fishing supplies and all manner of household goods.

The store even provided a gasoline pump in front.

The store was eventually turned over to their sons, William, David and Max Shwarz.



Herman Shwarz married Elizabeth “Lizzie” Fleishman shortly after he arrived in Napa.

Herman and Elizabeth Shwarz’s daughter, Minnie, received as a wedding gift an ornate Queen Anne home with stained glass windows.

This home still stands today at the corner of Seminary and Calistoga Streets and is known as La Belle Epoque Inn.


Minnie Swarz's wedding gift

Minnie Swarz’s wedding gift



Max Shwarz married Jeanette Manasse, the daughter of a prominent Napa Jewish family.

The couple had three daughters: Henrietta, Minnie and Helen.


Jeanette Shwarz passed away while the girls were still quite young which led to a second marriage for Max Shwarz to Jeanette Marks, the first woman graduate of Tulane College in New Orleans.


William Shwarz married Hattie K. Zeimer of San Francisco.

Their daughter, Muriel Hilda, born ca. 1901 would marry Roland Rummelsburg and later Walter Grauss, son of Felix and Mattie Grauss.


Upon her death in 1989, the Muriel Hilda Grauss Trust dispensed $1.7 million to the Napa synagogue, Congregation Beth Sholom, for a new sanctuary in memory of her parents, William and Hattie Shwarz.


For more information, see:

Under the Vine and the Fig Tree: The Jews of Napa Valley, by Lin Weber, ISBN 0-9667014-4-5, 2003

Napa Valley’s Jewish Heritage, by Henry Michalski and Donna Mendelsohn, ISBN 978-0-7385-8898-8 Arcadia Publishers

Both books are available thru the Jewish Historical Society of Napa Valley, info@jhsnv.org



H. Shwarz Co. store located in Napa City

La Belle Epoque forthcoming

Click on photos to enlarge them.

Lauren Chevlen is curator of this Shwarz Family Exhibit.