Jacob “Jake” Bergerman: Liquor Jewish Merchant and Saloon Proprietor of Colorado & Salt Lake City, Utah

Jacob “Jake” Bergerman

Utah Liquor Store Jug by Jake Bergerman

Utah Liquor Store Jug by Jake Bergerman

Values Codes I – E – L


Jacob “Jake” Bergerman was born in New York in 1855.

His parents, Marks and Sarah Bergerman, had emigrated from Prussia.


Colorado Territory

In 1868, the Bergerman family headed west, settling in the town of Pueblo, Colorado Territory.

Marks Bergerman worked as a stock dealer and dry goods merchant before opening his clothier store.

In 1874, at the age of 19, Jake Bergerman became apprenticed to a printer.

Three years later, in 1877, he traveled further west, to Ourey, a town in the Rockies, where he found work as a clerk.

In 1879, he used his savings to open a grocery store in Kokomo, Summit County.

He also worked as a miner in Ten Mile and Carbonateville, New Mexico.

Around 1881, Jake Bergerman entered into a partnership with Frank Ralph, the postmaster. They opened a mercantile firm in Robinson, Colorado.

In 1884, Bergerman went to Leadville, Colorado, where he and his brother, Abraham, opened a branch of the family’s clothing store.

In 1886, Abraham left the business and the partnership.

In 1887, the clothing store closed. Jake Bergerman found a job working as a bookkeeper for the Baer Brothers wholesale liquor and cigar company in Leadville.

In 1889, Bergerman worked as a bookkeeper for Alfred Schayer’s liquor and cigar firm.

At this time, Bergerman opened a saloon between the businesses of Baer and Schayer, which were a block away in opposite directions. This business was opened in his wife’s name.

In 1894, after several years of selling liquor and cigars at his establishment, Jake Bergerman added a confectionary to his business.

In 1895, the mining interests in Leadville, Colorado dwindled. So, Bergerman and his family moved to Utah.


Salt Lake City, Utah

In Salt Lake City, Jake Bergerman opened the Utah Liquor Company at 167 S. Main Street. The store included mail order services.

The Utah Liquor Store of Jack Bergerman, Salt Lake City

The Utah Liquor Store of Jack Bergerman, Salt Lake City

An astute businessman, Bergerman minted a metal token with the Mormon Tabernacle on it.

The token was good to trade for 12½ cents worth of liquor at the Utah Liquor Company.

Bergerman Tokens in Salt Lake City

Bergerman Tokens, Salt Lake City

He also developed stylish containers for the various liquors that he sold.

In 1902, Jake Bergerman tried to revitalize the local Lagoon Baseball Team, but the effort caused his business to suffer and he filed for bankruptcy.

The following year, he became the manager of Calder’s Park, Salt Lake City’s amusement park (established 1864),  featuring a dance pavilion, race track, baseball field, merry-go-round and boating lake. He opened a saloon there, too.

Running the amusement park helped his business, and he re-established the Utah Liquor Company in a larger facility at 223 S. Main Street.

In 1904, Bergerman opened his saloon in a resort called The Lagoon.”

In 1908, he invested in large lots of real estate and established the Bergerman Resort an Amusement Company.”

In 1910, he incorporated the Utah Liquor Company.

Prohibition changed the nature of Bergerman’s business in 1911. He changed his company name to Bergerman Co.

In 1917, Simon Bamberger, the owner of “The Lagoon” and later Governor of Utah, passed a law to ban the manufacture, sale, and consumption of alcohol.

Utah Liquor Co of Salt Lake City, of Jake Bergerman, closing

Utah Liquor Co of Salt Lake City, of Jake Bergerman, closing

Jake Bergerman sold his liquor stock and continued with his real estate investments.

He entered into a brief partnership with Isaac Glaser (d.1920). They auctioned furniture at Bergerman & Glaser.

In 1923, Bergerman bought a major residential building.



Jake Bergerman and his family were active members of Congregation B’nai Israel in Salt Lake City.



Jake Bergerman was a member of the Elks, the Free and Accepted Masons, and the Royal Arch Masons.



In 1886, Jake Bergerman married Esther Bernstein (1871-1940).

Together they had two daughters: Sadie (b.1893-1980) and Rose (b. early 1890s).


Jake Bergerman died in 1928 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

He is buried in the B’nai Israel Cemetery.

Bergerman Gravesite

Bergerman Gravesite

Closing Adv for Utah Liquor Store

Closing Adv for Utah Liquor Store

Utah Liquor Co Ashtray by Bergerman

Utah Liquor Co Ashtray by Bergerman


  • Jack Sullivan and Victoria Fisch, “Jake Bergerman in the Colorado Territory and the Land of the Mormons,” Western States Jewish History 46/1.

Samantha Silver is the curator of this Jake Bergerman exhibit.