Wolf Kalisher: Early Pioneer Jewish Merchant & Indian Advocate of Los Angeles

Wolf Kalisher

Values Codes I – E – L


Wolf Kalisher was born in Russian-occupied Poland in 1826.

Wolf Kalisher

He received his United States citizenship papers in Los Angeles in 1855.


Los Angeles

Wolf Kalisher was one of the earlier merchants occupying Bell’s Row.

After the Civil War ended, Kalisher purchased a quarter section of Rancho Santa Gertrude, consisting of 800 acres and an adobe house. Today, this area includes the cities of Downey and Santa Fe Springs.

A few years later he offered it for sale, not wanting to remain in the “horse” business.

He later partnered with Henry Wartenberg in one of Los Angeles’ first manufacturing enterprises, a tannery, in 1871.

As a merchant, Kalisher was noted for hiring local Indians as workers and household help, and for helping the Indians with their disputes.

Community Involvement

Wolf Kalisher was listed among the early minyan that eventually developed into Congregation B’nai B’rith (today’s Wilshire Boulevard Temple).

Once the synagogue was formally established in 1862, he was listed as vice-president.


Kalisher and his wife, Louise, had four children: Simon W., Mannie, Fannie, and Rose.

Louise was founding president of the Ladies’ Hebrew Benevolent Society.

Wolf Kalisher died in 1899.

Street sign honoring Wolf Kalisher in Granada Hills












  • Richard L. Carrico, “Wolf Kalisher: Immigrant; Pioneer Merchant and Indian Advocate,” Western States Historical Quarterly 15/2; Western States Jewish History 38/3&4.