Jacoby Bros.

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Jacoby Bros. store at 128–134 N. Spring Street, around 1896
The Jacobys' first store: "Harris & Jacoby, successors to H. W. Hellman", and forerunners to both Harris & Frank and Jacoby Bros., in the Old Downey Block around 1870. M. Kremer is also nearby, forerunner of the City of Paris department store

Jacoby Bros. (late 1930s, Jacoby's) was one of Los Angeles' largest dry goods retailers in the 1880s and 1890s, developing over the decades into a department store, which closed in the late 1930s.[1]

In 1870,[1][2] Isaac, Nathan, Charles, Abraham, and Lessor Jacoby had joined with him and Leopold Harris in buying out Herman W. Hellman's store, to form Harris & Jacoby.[1] The Jacoby brothers, Leopold Harris and Harris Newmark all came from the same town of Löbau, West Prussia (later part of the German Empire, now Lubawa, Poland). The Jacoby's sold clothing, home furnishings, boots, shoes, hats, et al., both wholesale and retail.[1]

In February, 1878, Loewenstein sold his business at in the Downey Block, 63 N. Main St. (post-1890 numbering: 163 N. Main), on the west side of Main, just north of Temple, opposite Commercial Street, to Lessor Jacoby and "Jacoby's Clothing House" started business there later that year.[3]

Temple Block stores (1879-1891)[edit]

From 1879, the store (first promoting itself as "L. Jacoby", then "Jacoby Bros." was located at 103 N. Main (pre-1890 numbering) in the County Bank Building of the Temple Block, which then became the separate Jacoby Bros.' Philadelphia Shoe Store,[4] while the Jacoby Bros. ' Retail Clothing House opened in storefronts just south, still in Temple Block, at 121-127 N. Main St. (post-1890 numbering: 221-227 N. Main St.) advertised as such through March 1891, and then simply as Jacoby Bros, through August 1891.[5]

From Feb 1891 the Philadelphia Shoe House was advertised at 128-130 N. Spring St. (post-1890 numbering). In May, 1891, the Shoe House moved to 215 N. Spring St. three doors north of the City of Paris department store.[4] This was so that Jacoby Bros. could level it as well as the adjacent storefronts at 132-134 N. Spring, and build in its place a new, palatial store encompassing 128 through 134 Spring St.

New store at 128-134 Spring Street (1891-1900)[edit]

On November 14, 1891, Jacoby Bros. held the grand opening of its new store at 128-134 Spring Street in the Larronde Block (building) with a connected wholesale department at 125 N. Main St. The building itself was praised as "handsome architecturally", a "rare combination of pressed brick, terra cotta and Sespe sandstone, with graceful columns and arches, a great arch over the central balcony flowing with streamers, beautiful signs and other ornamental features". The show windows were impressive for the time, two were 12 feet long and one was 22 feet long., all being 8 feet deep. There were two 12-foot-wide entrances with tiled vestibules and polished white marble steps. The ground floor retail space measured 9,800 square feet (910 m2), while an equal amount of space in the basement was dedicated to wholesale boots and shoes, and an equal space on the second floor to wholesale clothing and hats. It incorporated new concepts such as having a single open selling space per floor, with much natural light, rather than walled off departments.[4] The separate Philadelphia Shoe House closed.

In August 1896, Jacoby Bros. added the premises vacated by H. Jevne grocers at 136-138 N. Spring, and thus occupied all of 128 through 138 N. Spring St.[6] through February 1900.

Broadway store (1900)[edit]

In 1900, it moved, as many upscale retailers did, west to Broadway and south, to 331-333-335 S. Broadway, between Third and Fourth streets. The new store was a project of Homer Laughlin (as was the nearby building that now is home to Grand Central Market) and the architect was John B. Parkinson.[7] It opened on March 3, 1900 and had four stories plus a basement, 60,000 square feet (5,600 m2) of selling space, a sixty-foot frontage and two elevators. The second floor featured men's clothing, the third floor, ladies', and the fourth floor attended the wholesale business. The store boasted that a 25-by-40-foot center court allowed light to permeate the store, and that its 13,125 sq ft (1,219.4 m2) basement shoe department was the largest in the Western United States and three times as large as any other shoe store in the city. The store was exclusive retailer for clothing by Hackett, Carhart & Co.[8][9] The building remains with only two stories; several such older buildings in the area had upper floors removed after the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

Liquidation (1935)[edit]

In 1935 the Jacoby Bros. liquidated their Broadway premises, unable to renew their lease, and sold their stock to the May Company.[10] A Los Angeles-based Boston Store (not the Inglewood-based Boston Store, which would become a large chain) occupied the premises in the late 1930s.[11]

The concern reopened in early 1936 (dropping the "Bros." and advertising as Jacoby's) at 605 S. Broadway, southwest corner of Broadway and 6th,[12] but went out of business in 1938,[13] and in 1940, retailer Zukor's leased the majority of the premises.[14] The Zukor's sign is still visible on the portion of the Jacoby Bros. building that it occupied.


1^ Several sources from the 1920s-1930s state that the Jacoby's opened their first store in Wilmington in 1875, and then in Los Angeles in 1877. However, photographic evidence in Wilson's book contradicts this, showing Harris & Jacoby in the Old Downey Block which was torn down in c. 1870. Also, advertisements for seeds sold at the Hellman store at No. 2 Downey Block, Los Angeles, cease in January 1870[15] while an ad for the Harris & Jacoby store at No. 2, Downey Block, started appearing in the same newspaper in December 1870.[16] It is currently difficult to establish the exact date in 1870 that the business changed hands from Hellman to Jacoby, as online archives for Los Angeles newspapers have a gap between the 1864 (for the Star) and 1873 (when the Herald archives commence). Jacoby Bros. themselves, in advertising in 1900, referred to a start date for their business of 1867.[17]


  1. ^ a b c "The Jacoby Brothers: Pioneer Jewish Merchants of Los Angeles". Jewish Museum of the American West. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  2. ^ Wilson, Karen (3 May 2013). Jews in the Los Angeles Mosaic. p. 6. ISBN 9780520275508.
  3. ^ "Legal notice". Los Angeles Express. February 15, 1878. p. 2.
  4. ^ a b c "Concentrating: The Growth of a Business and a Great Bazaar: A Grand Rally of Wholesale and Retail: Outposts and Pickets Under One Large Roof: The Jacoby Bros. Occupy Their New and Magnificent Building and Receive the Congratulations of Their Many Friends". Los Angeles Times. November 14, 1891. p. 3.
  5. ^ [Advertisements in Los Angeles newspapers for Jacoby Bros. during 1891, via newspapers.com]
  6. ^ Ad for Jacoby Bros., August 7, 1896, p.8
  7. ^ "Will Go Up Rapidly: Work on the Jacoby Building Was Begun Today: Most of the Material for the Big Business Structure Is Already on the Ground". Los Angeles Evening Post-Record. September 1, 1899. p. 1. Architect John Parkinson
  8. ^ "Grand opening: Jacoby Brothers' outfitting store on Broadway". Los Angeles Times. March 4, 1900. p. 35.
  9. ^ "Los Angeles Herald 22 August 1899 — California Digital Newspaper Collection". cdnc.ucr.edu.
  10. ^ "Advertisement for Jacoby Bros./May Co". Los Angeles Times. May 19, 1935.
  11. ^ "Boston Store Los Angeles 1939 - 331 S. Broadway (Old Jacoby Bros.) and 4755 Whittier BLVD". The Los Angeles Times. 6 November 1939. p. 10.
  12. ^ "Pioneers' Modern Home: Jacoby Bros.Will Open New Store Soon". Los Angeles Times. January 31, 1936. p. 11.
  13. ^ "Advertisement for liquidation of Jacoby Bros". Los Angeles Times. September 30, 1938. p. 45.
  14. ^ "Downtown Broadway Store Leased in $1,000,000 Deal: Business Prepares to Expend $150,000 in Converting Property to Its Uses". Los Angeles Times. February 11, 1940. p. 63.
  15. ^ "Ad for Hellman's store, Los Angeles". Arizona Weekly Miner, Prescott, AZ. January 8, 1870. p. 3.
  16. ^ "Ad for Harris & Jacoby". Weekly Arizona Minor (Prescott, AZ). December 17, 1870. p. 3.
  17. ^ "Ad for Jacoby Bros". Los Angeles Times. January 7, 1900. p. 20.