Henry Levi Leavitt: Jewish Pioneer in Hoquiam, Washington

Henry Levi Leavitt

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Henry Levi Leavitt was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1868.


Hoquiam, Washington

In 1897, after the Alaskan Gold Rush, Henry Leavitt decided to join the miners out West.

On the way to the Klondike region, Henry Leavitt stopped in Seattle, Washington, where he was advised to go into business in Hoquiam, a small logging town in Northwest Washington.

Hoquiam Washington 1911, Postcard

Hoquiam Washington 1911, Postcard

Around 1900, Henry Leavitt and Julius Baer, his brother-in-law, opened The Horseshoe Store, a clothing store for men and boys.

By 1907, they changed the store’s name to Levi & Baer.

Henry Leavitt and his family lived at 501 Emerson Avenue in Hoquiam.



Henry Leavitt belonged to Hoquiam’s local Elks and Masonic Lodges.

For seven years, Henry Leavitt was treasurer of the Masonic lodge.

Hoquiam Elks Lodge circa1900-1910, Postcard

Hoquiam Elks Lodge circa 1900-1910, Vintage Postcard



Around 1911, the Leavitt family moved to Seattle for a few months so that their son, Mel, could prepare for his bar mitzvah at Temple De Hirsch, the Reform congregation.

In 1920, Henry Leavitt served as the first vice-president of Temple Beth Israel in Aberdeen, Washington.



In 1893, Henry Leavitt married Lena Gertrude Baer in Chicago.

They had one son and three daughters: Melbourne, Ruth, Adelaide, and Margaret.

Henry and Lena Leavitt’s twin nephews, Sylvan and Everett Baer, were likely the first Jewish children born in Hoquiam.

Sylvan Baer later opened Baer’s Department Store in Los Angeles.

In 1913, their nephew, Milton Baerbecme the first Jewish boy to graduate from Hoquiam High School.


Henry Leavitt died in 1939 in Los Angeles, California.



  • “A Hoquiam, Washington Saga,” Western States Jewish Historical Quarterly 13/2.

Samantha Silver is curator for this Henry Leavitt exhibit.