Simon Blum: Pioneer Master Jewish Merchant of Martinez, California

Simon Blum, #WS2319

Simon Blum, #WS2319

Simon Blum

Values Codes I – E – L – P


Simon Blum was born in 1834 in Oberbronn, Alsace, France.

He immigrated to the United States in 1850, at 16 years of age, and arrived in San Francisco early in 1853.


Martinez, California

In the fall of 1854, Simon Blum established himself in Martinez, California, where he was naturalized 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 1832, be­came a citizen on May 18, 1861

Gabriel Blum was born in 1838, and was naturalized in 1867.

In 1882, the general merchandise firm of S. Blum & Bros. sold over one million dollars worth of goods in retail alone.

S. Blum & Bros. also had a grain firm called Fish & Blum of Martinez, plus two stores in Lassen County, in the northern part of California.

An 1885 news item detailed the arrival of four schooners bearing materials for S. Blum & Bros.

“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.

Blum General Merchandise Store, 1849-1880s, still used today.

Blum General Merchandise Store, 1849-1880’s, still used today in Martinez.


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.

Original Bank of Matinez

Original Bank of Martinez


Simon Blum  married Leontine Alexander, who was also French born, 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.


  • William Tornheim, “Pioneer Jews of Contra Costa,” Western States Jewish History 16/1.

Thank you to Carolyn Bruno Axler of San Antonio, Texas, for corrections and additional family information.