Leopold Gundelfinger: Jewish Pioneer Merchant & Banker of Fresno, an 1891 Description

Leopold Gundelfinger

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.


Leopold Gundelfinger is a native of Germany, born in Wurtemburg, in 1853.

At the age of thirteen he emigrated to America, settled in New York and there received his education.

Gundelfinger entered upon a business career in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, from which place he went to McGregor, Iowa.

1872 is the year of Mr. Leopold Gundelfinger’s arrival on the Pacific Coast.

After stopping a few months in San Francisco, he opened an establishment in Plumas County, in the northern part of California.

Leopold Gundelfinger came to Fresno in 1874, accepted a position in the store of Jacob & Co., and remained with that firm several years. While in their employ he went to Kingsburg and opened a branch store, of which he had the management for eight years, until it was closed out.

After that, Gundelfinger spent a year in Europe, returning to California the latter part of 1886.

About this time the present flourishing Bank of Cen­tral California was established, and he became one of its direc­tors and the cashier, positions which he still fills.

He is also one of the stockholders of the corporation of Louis I. Einstein & Co., the well-known “Pioneer Store” of Fresno.

Mariposa Street, Fresno, turn of last century, vintage postcard

In a quiet and unassuming way, Mr. Gundelfinger has been closely identified with the interests of this city.

He organized the Fire Department in Fresno, for a long time having in charge the hook and ladder company.

In 1887, Leopold Gundelfinger wedded Miss Minnie RoweThey have one child, a daughter.


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