Edward Erlanger: Jewish Pioneer Merchant & Hotel Owner of Lemoore, California, an 1891 Description

Edward Erlanger

Values Codes: I-E-L


Curator’s Note: We recently found part of a large book that appears to have been published in 1891, titled Memorial and Biographical His­tory of the Counties of Fresno, Tulare, and Kern, California

The book lists many of the German-born Jewish merchants and professionals played an important and interconnected role in the economy of the San Joaquin Valley.

In reading these biographical sketches, please note the language of the time, as well as the affection given to the subjects. The author is unknown.

Below is one of the entries, edited slightly for our museum.


Edward Erlanger was a native of Germany, born at Marburg, in 1852.

His father and ancestors were all engaged in the banking business.

His cousin, Emil de Erlanger, made the Confederate loan, and married the daughter of Slidel, of Confederate fame.

The South­ern Railroad System is owned by a syndicate of Erlangers.

Edward Erlanger was educated at Marburg University, a very prominent college of instruction.

At the age of sixteen years, he entered the Vereins Bank at Frankfort-on-the-Main, and remained until 1870, when be came to the United States.

Then, traveling by easy stages through the South, visiting Old and New Mexico, Edward Erlanger arrived in San Francisco in 1871.

Through letters of credit, he then visited the leading banking houses, with a view of studying the American banking system, to apply in his own country on his return.

In February, 1872, Erlanger went to the Sandwich Islands but on his return trip was taken sick at Honolulu, and then came back to San Francisco, where he lay in the German Hospital for many months.

While convalescing, Erlanger sought the warm climate of the San Joaquin Valley.

In VisaliaEdward Erlanger met Louis Einstein, of Einstein & Jacobs, and was employed by them as bookkeeper at their store at Kingston, then a prominent trading point in the San Joaquin Valley, about 7 miles south of Hanford.

At a certain age all the young men of Germany were obliged to enter the army, and upon recovery of health Edward Erlanger discovered that it was too late for him to return, as he would be considered a deserter.

He then took action toward becoming an American citizen, to secure the protection of the American flag, and also to be enabled to return home at will.

In December, 1873, Kingston was raided by that noted ban­dit and robber, Vasquez, and thirty-two men were tied down, Edward Erlanger among the number, while they committed their depreda­tions.

Erlanger remained in Kingston until 1877, when the town of Lemoore was organized.

Erlanger attended the original Lemoore auction sale, purchased property, and came to work as bookkeeper for J. J. Mack & Co., General Merchandise.

Edward Erlanger built the Park Hotel in 1878

He opened a general merchandise store in his own behalf, and the same year built the Masonic Hall – both of which were destroyed in the fire of 1882, except his stock of merchandise which had been moved to another locality.

He lost, however, a valuable scientific library with a collection of curiosities which he had gathered in his travels.

Edward Erlanger retired from mercantile life in 1885 with the intention of returning to Germany, but land interests had so increased, along with his stock interests of thoroughbred and standard bred horses, that he postponed the trip and entered the real-estate business with Dr. Brandt, a prominent landholder of the locality.

In 1889, Erlanger again engaged in the mercantile busi­ness which he still continues.

He is a genial, affable gentleman and deeply interested in the advanced improvement of the town of Lemoore.

Lemoore turkey farm, vintage postcard


  • “Jewish Businessmen of the Counties of Fresno, Tulare & Kern Counties,” from Memorial and Biographical History of the Counties of Fresno, Tulare & Kern, California (1891), reprinted in Western States Jewish History 34/4.