The 1870’s

Timeline of Jewish History in Los Angeles

Originally published by the Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles, 2002.

Information from:
Newmark, Harris. Sixty Years in Southern California 1853-1913. NY. 1926.
Vorspan, Max and Gartner, Lloyd. History of the Jews of Los Angeles. Huntington Library. 1970.

Thanks to Wendy Elliott Scheinberg: Timeline of Boyle Heights 1900-1939; to Harriet Rochlin for her insight, her many additions and corrections; to Bob Hattem, JGSLA Archivist.

Federal Census lists Los Angeles total population of 5,728 of which there were 330 Jewish individuals in the city or 5.76% of the total population.
It had taken seven years to form a congregation out of the Hebrew Benevolent Society. The construction of a synagogue took many more years. However, money for a building fund was solicited much earlier. On July 12, 1870, the retiring president of the Congregation, Henry Wartenberg, gave a report of the accomplishments of his tenure to the Los Angeles Star for publication. Published in book form, authored by Norton Stern.
Ladies’ Hebrew Benevolent Society was the first women’s philanthropic organization (led by Rosa Newmark) in Los Angeles.
Banking and the railroad came to Los Angeles.
Forerunner of all social clubs was the Los Angeles Social Club. Social clubs were rapidly expanded in the 1880’s.
Chinese Massacre, during which patrolman Emil Harris tried to protect the Chinese, earning their friendship in the future.
L.A.’s first synagogue. Congregation B’nai B’rith stood from 1872-1895 on Fort St. (now Broadway) between 2nd and 3rd. The congregation’s Wilshire Blvd. Temple was built about 1925, where it remains today.
Depression / “Panic of 1873”
Independent Order of B’nai B’rith began in Los Angeles
Ephrain Greenbaum and his wife established the White House Hotel
David d’Ancona made a brief trip to Los Angeles. He wrote in his diary, “Los Angeles is the Damascus of America.” There is a book written about him by the late Dr. Norton Stern and Rabbi William Kramer.
1877 and 1878.
Emil Harris, born in Prussia, organized the Los Angeles Turnverein, a German social and athletic club. He served as Los Angeles Police Chief.
Bernard Cohn, Jewish politician, served briefly as mayor pro-tem, and was nominated for mayor by the People’s Party. Cohn lost the election but was reelected to the council.


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