Early Pioneer Jewish Merchants of Santa Ana, California

Early Jewish Pioneers of Santa Ana, California

Values Codes I – E – L


The twenty-four blocks that would later be known as Santa Ana were laid in 1870 — 19 years before the area split from Los Angeles County to become part of Orange County (1889).


Louis Lewin & A. (David) Hirshfield

Louis Lewin and his brother-in-law, A. (David) Hirshfield, are listed in 1872 Los Angeles County Directory.

Both were born in Loebau, Prussia.

In 1873, a newspaper mentioned Lewin & Hirshfield as a large store in Santa Ana.

Louis soon moved to Los Angeles, where he operated a stationary store and married Jeannette Lazard, daughter of Solomon Lazard.

Hirshfield moved to Bakersfield, where he became a prominent merchant.


The Frankel Brothers

The Frankel Brothers took over Lewin & Hirshfield.

In 1874, the local newspaper noted:

The store of Messrs, Frankel Brothers is one of the leading features of the town. They face the town square and do a large trade.”

The Frankel Brothers Samuel, Michael, Amiel, and Marcus — were born in Bohemia.

They came West and opened a store on Los Nietos Rancho, today known as Downey.

Their second store was in Santa Ana, but it closed in 1875.


Leopold Goldsmith

Leopold Goldsmith settled in Tustin, a village three miles from Santa Ana, in 1876.

Goldsmith was born in Prussian-occupied Poland in 1850.

He became a U.S. citizen in Los Angeles in 1873.

When the Southern Pacific Railroad opened a terminal in Santa Ana, Goldsmith moved his store there.

In Santa Ana, he was joined by his brother, Adolph Goldsmith.

They operated under the name of Goldsmith Brothers.


Levi (Levy) Gildmacher

Levi Gildmacher was born in Germany in 1831.

He became a citizen in Oroville, California in 1867.

Gildmacher Building, 1887 courtesy Guy Ball

Gildmacher Building, 1887.  Photograph courtesy of Guy Ball.

In 1878, Gildmacher was operating a general merchandise store in Santa Ana.

He married Hulda Reinhaus.

Gilsmacher soon sent for his brothers-in-laws and their sisters to help run his large and prosperous store.

When her four brothers and three sisters arrived in 1879, they became the largest Jewish family in Santa Ana.


The Reinhaus Brothers

Max, Julius, and Gustave Reinhaus worked in the Gildmacher store until 1886.

The brothers then opened their own dry goods store, Reinhaus Bros.

Reinhaus Bros advertisement,  The Daily Evening Blade, Orange County, CA

They all learned to speak Spanish and developed a large business relation with the many Basque sheepmen in the area.

Max and Julius served as officers in the Masons.

Their three sisters, none of whom married, opened a successful millinery store.


Marcus Hoff

Marcus Hoff was born in Austria in 1841 and became was naturalized in Los Angeles in 1876.

He opened a dry goods store in Santa Ana in 1886, known as the Great Eastern Dry Goods and Clothing House.


Abraham Goldstein

Abraham Goldstein also operated a dry goods store in Santa Ana in the 1880’s.


  • Norton B. Stern, “Santa Ana, California: Its First Jews and First Congregations,” Western States Jewish History 44/3&4.