Sigmund “Sig” Steiner: Escondido Pioneer & The Grape Festival

Sigmund “Sig” Steiner

Sig Steiner, Mayor of Escondido, CA

Sig Steiner, Mayor of Escondido, CA

 

Values Codes I-E-L-P

 

The son of Leopold and Julia Steiner, Sigmund Steiner was born in Auburn, California in 1865.

The family later moved from Auburn to San Francisco, where Sigmund attended public school.

 

Still a teenager, Sig Steiner came to San Diego where he clerked for his uncle, Samuel Steiner, for five years in his store, Steiner & Klauber.

Learning quickly, Sig Steiner left and opened his own business in Escondido with his new partner, P.A. Graham in 1886, the year that the new town’s site was laid out by the new Escondido land & Town Company.

A second store was opened in Bernardo, a few miles south of Escondido.

Graham & Steiner Store, 1890s WS#1501

Graham & Steiner Store, 1890s
WS#1501

The Graham & Steiner firm was a general merchandise business, the supplier of all needs for rural living in these small towns north of San Diego.

“Our prices talk and our name is a guarantee of the best goods and square dealing,” the new store advertised.

Graham & Steiner prospered for many years.

 

Civic

The Graham & Steiner store added a much-needed auditorium for use by Escondido residents.when they built a new, two story brick building.

Sig Steiner also helped organize the First National Bank in 1905.

Sig Steiner was a city trustee, and served as Mayor of Escondido for twelve years, 1894 to 1906.

Grape Day in Escondido, 1913. Postcard

Grape Day in Escondido, 1913.
Postcard

Sig Steiner also was known as father of Grape Day, a grand festival, which rivaled Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses. The Grape Day Festival began in 1908, celebrating the burning of irrigation bonds, and was named for the grapes that were a major part of the area’s agriculture.

Sig Steiner and the Burning of the Water Bonds of Escondido, 1905, WS#1504

Sig Steiner and the Burning of the Water Bonds of Escondido, 1905,
WS#1504

Grape Day continued until 1950.

 

Fraternal

Sig Steiner was a lodge man and a Second Degree Mason.

 

Family

Sigmund Steiner married Luna Kies Andrews.

 

He then retired to Los Angeles in 1912 where he helped manage a number of companies.

Sigmund and Luna Steiner visited Escondido every year until 1930 to celebrate Grape Day and greet old friends.

 

Sigmund Steiner died in 1945 at the age of 80.

“Although he is no longer among the living, he will not be forgotten.”

 

More information can be found in the following issue of Western States Jewish History:

  • Sig Steiner: Father of Escondido’s Grape Day; San Diego; Ryan, Frances B.; 8/4

Additional Pictures. (We need a photo of Sig Steiner)

Click on pictures to enlarge

The Original Graham & Steiner Escondido Store, 1890s, WS#1502

The Original Graham & Steiner Escondido Store, 1890s,
WS#1502

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Linda Kern is Curator for this Steiner Exhibit.