Values Codes I-E-L-P
Among the many Jews who settled in Martinez, Simon Blum was outstanding.
Simon Blum was born in 1834, in France.
He had come to this country in 1850 at 16 years of age, and arrived in San Francisco early in 1853.
In the fall of 1854, Simon Blum established himself in Martinez, California.
Simon Blum was naturalized in Martinez in 1856.
Within a short time, Simon Blum’s brothers, Gabriel Blum and Elias Blum arrived in Contra Costa County and became part of the family business.
Elias Blum, born in 1839, became a citizen on May 18, 1861
Gabriel Blum was born in 1838, and was naturalized in 1867.
In 1882, at the general merchandise firm of S. Blum & Brothers had sold over one million dollars worth of goods in retail alone.
S. Blum & Brothers also had a grain firm called Fish & Blum of Martinez, plus two stores in Lassen County in the northern part of California.
An idea of the dealings of S. Blum & Brothers may be had from an 1885 news item which detailed the arrival of four schooners bearing materials for them.
“One carried 7,500 fence posts, another had 120,000 board feet of redwood, the third contained a load of bricks, and the last one carried coal, lime and lumber.”
In 1892, a newspaper reported that forty-five schooner loads of hay, amounting to 12,000 bales, had been shipped that season from the Blum warehouse.
In 1895, the Blum firm began manufacturing brick at Pacheco.
Eventually, the Blum brothers were operating eleven warehouses, four in Martinez, four in Pacheco, and one each in San Pablo, Brentwood and Byron.
These were used mainly for grain and hay storage.
For the new Contra Costa County Hospital, Simon Blum offered one to three tracts of land, without charge.
When the Bank of Martinez was organized in 1872, Simon Blum became one of the five directors.
Simon Blum was elected to the Martinez City Council in 1896.
Simon Blum married Leontine Alexandre, who had also been born in France, in June, 1861.
Together they had three sons and two daughters.
In 1875, Simon Blum built a large mansion on a commanding eminence in the center of Martinez.
It was the largest and finest residence in town.
Simon Blum died there in 1913, at the age of seventy-nine.
Blum Road in Martinez memorializes his name.
For more information on Simon Blum see the following issue of Western States Jewish History:
- Pioneer Jews of Contra Costa, by William Tornheim, WSJH, Vol. 16, Issue #1
Pictures of his family or would be appreciated.
Thanks to his great-Granddaughter for correcting the year of his passing. This is one of the “Pluses” of having a virtual museum.