Lewis Jacobs & Lewis Meyerstein: The Jewish Pioneer Bankers of San Bernardino

Lewis Jacobs & Lewis Meyerstein

Values Codes I – E – L – P


Lewis Jacobs was born in Prussia, in 1832.

He immigrated to the United States in 1847, at the age of 15.

Lewis Jacobs San Bernardino Store WS#1589

Lewis Jacobs’ San Bernardino Store, #WS1589

San Bernardino

Louis Jacobs arrived  in San Bernardino in 1852, without money.

In a few short years, he had his own store and was recognized as a leading merchant in the city.

He later partnered with Isaac Brunn, who had been a wholesale dealer in foreign and domestic wines, liquors, and cigars since 1856.

Lewis Jacobs is also recognized as one of the founders of the city of Redlands.

He died in 1900.

Founder Plaque in Redland, Lewish Jacobs, Banker, WS#1590

Founder plaque in Redlands, Lewis Jacobs, banker, #WS1590


Lewis Meyerstein

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Lewis Meyerstein was born in Germany in 1829.

Lewis Meyerstein, San Bernardino & San Francisco

Lewis Meyerstein, San Bernardino & San Francisco

Along the way . . .

Coming to America as a young lad, Lewis Meyerstein’s first business was a small store in San Francisco.

He spent some time in New York City before being lured back to San Francisco, where he established himself in the retail clothing business.

After a number of years, he entered the wholesale and manufacturing business of men’s apparel. He was very successful.


San Bernardino

Lewis Meyerstein was a member of a large family that had lived in San Bernardino from the 1860’s.

He established a mercantile store in San Bernardino, which kept him traveling between San Bernardino and San Francisco, where he also had real estate interests.

Lewis Jacobs & Lewis Meyerstein partnered in 1875 to create the Bank of San Bernardino.

The Bank of San Bernardino aided in building up the city in her infant days, providing funds for the people and serving as a safe repository for surplus funds.

The bank soon became recognized as the leading financial institution of the city.



Lewis Meyerstein was a member of Congregation Emanu-El of San Francisco.



Meyerstein married Miss Jane I. Lilienfeld in 1861.

They had 2 children: Alfred L. and Mrs. E. L. Rothschild.


Lewis Meyerstein died in 1906.

“He was a many of many friends, out-spoken and frank.  He was a highly intelligent man, an idealist and full of loving kindness and charity to all deserving it.”

— Rabbi Martin Meyer, 1916


  • “A Few Jewish Businessmen in San Bernardino in 1892,” Western States Jewish Historical Quarterly 15/2.
  • Martin Meyer, The Jews of California (San Francisco: Emanu-El, 1916).


Jews in the News

      About this Time

And the Governor was at the Wedding Reception in San Bernardino, California — 1888

Few, if any, of the social events of San Bernardino have ever been as brilliant as that which took place on Sunday evening, the 22nd [January 22, 1888], at the palatial residence of Mr. and Mrs. Louis Ancker on the corner of C and Fourth Street. The occasion of the event was the reception tendered their nephew, Mr. Albert Ancker, and his young bride, who were married in Los Angeles the Wednesday previous.

The family being one of our leading young men and a rising young merchant of the firm of Ancker & Marx, the spacious parlors were filled and overflowing with guests from San Bernardino, Los Angeles and Riverside.

From 8 to 9 the time was passed in pleasant discourse and congratulations of the many friends of the young groom and his bride.

Noticeable among the guests was the Governor of the State, Governor Robert W. Waterman, whose home was in San Bernardino.

At 9 o’clock it was announced that a musical and literary programme had been prepared and was now ready to be carried out. Each member of the programme, which was arranged by William Marx, was well rendered and warmly received.

— The Jewish Progress, San Francisco, Feb. 11, 1888 (WSJHQ 9/4)