Adolph, Leopold and Simon Goldsmith, AKA the Brothers Goldsmith, emigrated from Prussia in the late 1800s and made their way to California, where in 1870 they made a typical Jewish immigrant move and opened and operated a general store in San Bernardino County. This location worked quite well for a while, until Leopold decides there are greener pastures elsewhere and teams up with one Adolph Kolsky, an active member of the Los Angeles Jewish community, to establish Kolsky & Goldsmith General Store in the tiny town of Orange in 1874 (see image).
Less than two years later, Kolsky changes his mind and returns to LA, so Leopold gets back together with his brother Adolph and opens a general merchandise store in Santa Ana, under the name Goldsmith Brothers. Five years later, in 1883, brother Simon, who had stayed in San Bernardino, joins them. Not quite sure what the deal was with Simon, but four years later, in 1887, Leopold and Adolph leave him yet again and establish the Great Western Clothing Company in LA. Simon (taking the hint, perhaps) remains in Santa Ana and by the mid-1890s the store is handling boots and shoes exclusively. He advertises himself as “S. Goldsmith—the Shoe Man” and is a respected member of the community. He and his wife Emma stay in Santa Ana until 1903, when they retire to San Francisco to be closer to their son.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or at (949) 435-3400, ext. 360. The Orange County Jewish Historical Society is a program of the Merage Jewish Community Center and is funded by the Jewish Community Foundation Orange County.