Henry Wartenberg: Early Pioneer Jewish Businessman and Los Angeles Community Leader

Henry Wartenberg

Values Code: I-E-P


Henry Wartenberg was born in Kempen, Prussia in 1830

Wartenberg came to Los Angeles in 1857, and was considered “one of the top Jewish leaders in this period.”

He became a naturalized American citizen on January 9, 1861.

Wartenberg became prominent in the city’s political, business, and social life.


Business Life

Henry Wartenberg went into partnership with Wolf Kalisher in operating a general merchandise store selling dry goods, clothing, and groceries located first in Bell’s Row.

Other business interests included establishing the Los Angeles Pioneer Tannery – the city’s first leather tanning factory.


Civic Life

In 1866 Henry Wartenberg served on the County Grand Jury.

Wartenberg was elected as a Councilman to the Los Angeles City Council in 1868, 1869, and 1870.

He was a founder of the local Democratic Club in 1868

Henry Wartenberg joined numerous civic organizations, including helping found the Los Angeles Volunteer Fire Department and serving as its first President, in 1869.



Henry Wartenberg was a member of the Odd Fellows, where he became a Worthy District Deputy Grand Master.

Wartenberg was also a Mason.



Henry Wartenberg was the founding President of Gan Eden Lodge No. 8 of Kesher Shel Barzel, a national Jewish fraternity.

He was elected Secretary of Congregation B’nai B’rith (now the Wilshire Boulevard Temple).

Wartenberg served as President of the Los Angeles Hebrew Benevolent Society, the 1860’s predecessor of today’s Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles


Henry Wartenberg’s untimely death in 1879 ended the career of an “influential and prestigious leader of Los Angeles Jewry.”

He is buried at the Home of Peace Cemetery in Los Angeles.

Henry Wartenberg Tombstone, Home of Peace, Los Angeles

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

  • Wartenberg, Henery. Henery Wartenberg: Businessman and Community Leader, 1930-18 79. Includes the Wartenberg Report to the Hebrew Benevolent Society, 1870. Norton B. Stern.; 38/3&4.


If any of our visitors  or member’s of the Wartenberg Family have additional photographs, please contact us.


More Early Los Angeles Jewish Pioneers

For more Early Los Angeles Jewish Pioneers click here for the Table of Contents.

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