Henry Sinsheimer, Early Jewish Pioneer Merchant of San Luis Obispo, while Living in San Francisco

Henry Sinsheimer

Values Codes: I-H-E-L-P


Henry Sinsheimer was born in 1854, at Burstadt, province of Daerstadt, Germany, son of Simon and Claire Sinsheimer.

Two of his brothers, Aaron (A.Z.) (1838) and Bernhard (1848), were also born in Burstadt.


Along the Way . . . .

Henry Sinsheimer found his way to San Francisco in the mid-1870’s and was employed as a bookkeeper for Koshland Brothers, wool merchants.

After his marriage to Nettie Koshland in 1881, Henry Sinsheimer became a “member of the firm” of S. Koshland & Company, and a leading figure in the San Francisco Jewish community.

Koshland Building-San Francisco,CA, #WS2296

Koshland Building-San Francisco,CA,

Henry Sinsheimer’s older brother, Bernhard Sinsheimer, had come to San Luis Obispo in 1874.

Bernhard Sinsheimer and Henry Sinsheimer, his brother, created Sinsheimer Brothers General Merchandise in San Luis Obispo in 1876.

Sinsheimer's Bros. Store-San Louis Obispo,CA, #WS1652

Sinsheimer’s Bros. Store-San Louis Obispo,CA,

Bernhard ran the business in SLO, while Henry acted as its purchasing agent in San Francisco.


In 1884, the Sinsheimer Brothers purchased a lot on the east side of Monterey Street at Rose Alley, in San Louis Obispo, building a brick store 40 feet wide and 100 feet in depth with a custom cast iron front.

Today, the Sinsheimer Store is regarded as one of the best preserved structures of the iron front style in the nation.


In 1898, Bernhard and Henry dissolved their San Luis Obispo partnership, and Bernhart moved up to San Francisco.


A new corporation was started, using the same name, Sinsheimer Brothers, which was owned by their brother, Aaron (A.Z.) Sinsheimer, who had worked in the business for years.



Henery Sinsheimer was a member of Temple Emanu-El in San Francisco.

He became one of the leaders of the San Francisco Jewish Community.

He was President of the Hebrew Board of Relief and also served as President of the Eureka Benevolent Society for over a decade.

Eureka Benevolant Society-San Francisco,CA [1916], #WS1995

Eureka Benevolant Society-San Francisco,CA [1916], #WS1995

Henry Sinsheimer also served as vice-President and then President of the Federation of Jewish Charities



Henry Sinsheimer was a member of the Concordia Club.



Henry Sinsheimer married Nettie Koshland, in 1881.

Together they had two sons, Stanley and Edgar.


Henery Sinsheimer died, in 1932.


Loss of Legacy

Henry Sinsheimer’s two sons changed their names from Sinsheimer to Stinson, in 1917, because of the pressure of anti-German sentiment at that time.


For more information see the following Issue of Western States Jewish History:

  • The Sinsheimers of San Luis Obispo, by Norton B. Stern and William M. Kramer, WSJH, Vol. 6, Issue 1, 1973.


David Epstein is Curator for this Henry Sinsheimer Exhibit.

Family Pictures and addition and corrections are graciously accepted especially a picture of Henry and Nettie.

Please “Share” this exhibit with friends on Facebook so more people discover our Virtual Museum..