Henry Wartenberg: Early Pioneer Jewish Businessman and Los Angeles Community Leader

Henry Wartenberg

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Henry Wartenberg was born in Kempen, Prussia, in 1830.


Los Angeles

He came to Los Angeles in 1857 and was considered “one of the top Jewish leaders in this period.”

He became a naturalized American citizen on January 9, 1861.

Wartenberg was prominent in the city’s political, business, and social life.

He partnered with Wolf Kalisher in operating a general merchandise store selling dry goods, clothing, and groceries, located first in Bell’s Row.

Other business interests included establishing the Los Angeles Pioneer Tannerythe city’s first leather tanning factory.



In 1866, Henry Wartenberg served on the County Grand Jury.

Wartenberg was elected as a Councilman to the Los Angeles City Council in 1868, 1869, and 1870.

He was a founder of the local Democratic Club in 1868

He joined numerous civic organizations and helped found the Los Angeles Volunteer Fire Departmentserving as its first president in 1869.



Henry Wartenberg was a member of the Odd Fellows, where he became a Worthy District Deputy Grand Master.

He was also a Mason.



Wartenberg was the founding president of Gan Eden Lodge No. 8 of Kesher Shel Barzela national Jewish fraternity.

He was elected secretary of Congregation B’nai B’rith (now the Wilshire Boulevard Temple).

Wartenberg served as president of the Los Angeles Hebrew Benevolent Societythe predecessor of today’s Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles.

Henry Wartenberg tombstone, Home of Peace, Los Angeles















Wartenberg’s untimely death in 1879 ended the career of an “influential and prestigious leader of Los Angeles Jewry.”

He is buried at Home of Peace Cemetery in Los Angeles.


  • Norton B. Stern, “Henery Wartenberg: Businessman and Community Leader, 1830-1879,” Western States Jewish History 38/3&4. (Includes the Wartenberg Report to the Hebrew Benevolent Society, 1870.)