The family of Julius Blach Lowenstein did not follow the typical Jewish immigration pattern of “Eastern Europe to the East Coast” at the turn of the last century. Instead, his maternal and paternal grandparents emigrated from Germany to the South and Midwest in the 1860s—his father’s parents to Tennessee and his mother’s parents to Indiana, making Julius, born in 1905 in Nashville, a second generation American Jew (very unusual for the early 1900s!). The eldest of five, Julius grew up going to the Vine Street Temple, which in 1873 became a founding member of the Reform movement, and attended Vanderbilt University, where he joined ZBT (Zeta Beta Tau), the world’s first and largest Jewish fraternity. In 1936, one year after his father died in a car accident, Julius moved to Orange County and opened Lowenstein’s Radio, a radio sales and repair shop in Santa Ana; in the 1950s he added televisions to his booming business. He met Wilma Barger shortly after arriving here and they married in 1938, living in Santa Ana and raising two sons, until her untimely death in 1960 at the age of 55. Julius closed up shop and moved to Washington state, where he passed in 1972. His newspaper ads, especially during the 1940s, are a wonderful example of Orange County Jewish-owned businesses.
Dalia Taft, archivist of the Orange County Jewish Historical Society, highlights images from the archives every month. For more information, please visit www.jewishoc.org/history. You can also contact Dalia at email@example.com or at (949) 435-3400. The Orange County Jewish Historical Society is a program of the Merage Jewish Community Center and is fully funded by the Jewish Community Foundation Orange County.