International Order of B’nai B’rith, Rocky Mountain Lodge, Number 322 (or 373?)

(Reprinted with the very gracious permission of the Don L. Griswold Trust and the Colorado Historical Society in cooperation with the University Press of Colorado, publishers of the History of Leadville and Lake County, Colorado: From Mountain Solitude to Metropolis by Don L. Griswold and Jean Hervey Griswold, Boulder, 1996.)

(Griswold, p.391, The Chronicle, November 5, 1879)

 

The Jewish people in Leadville had two religious groups, the orthodox and the reformed, with the former meeting in private homes and the latter using the Union Society Temple above Kamak's clothing store on East Chestnut.  For charitable purposes the two groups worked together smoothly, this article appearing in the November 5 Chronicle:

A Hebrew Ladies' Benevolent Association has been organized in this city.  The first meeting was held at the residence of Mrs. Jacob Schloss.  The objects of the organization were discussed at length, and a permanent society was formed by the election of Mrs. Schloss, president, Mrs. S. Kahn, Vice-president; Mrs. Mandy Samuels, Treasurer; and Miss Rosa Schloss, Secretary.

 

The charter of the Rocky Mountain Lodge No. 373, I.O.B.B. [B'nai B'rith] was recorded [in the county clerk and recorder's office] yesterday by Isaac H. Kamak, and the installation will take place next Sunday morning at nine o'clock in their new lodge room on upper Chestnut street.  The banquet will be given at the Hotel Windsor, at nine o'clock on the same evening.

(Griswold, pp.391-3, The Chronicle, November 10, 1879)

 

Under the headings of A Grand Banquet by the Order Last Night and The Wealth, Wit and Beauty of the City Present, a Chronicle newsman praised the Jewish people and the banquet in these paragraphs:

 

It must have been apparent to every visitor to this city, the most enterprising city on the American continent, that the majority of those who are the most prominent in business, are of that class commonly known as Jews.  The public spirit of this numerous class is seen on every hand.  They are building hospitals, cemeteries, and public halls, and yesterday morning they organized a lodge of the order known as the Independent Order of B'nai B'rith. It is purely a charitable association, founded in Philadelphia thirty-one years ago last April, since which it has spread till now a lodge of the order may be found in almost every city on the American continent.  In caring for the sick and providing for the widows and orphans, the B'nai B'rith excels all other charities.  Their Orphan Asylum, at Cleveland, Ohio, is the largest institution of the kind in the land. The American continent is divided into seven districts, Leadville being in the seventh. The movement to organize a lodge of this order in Leadville was inaugurated some weeks since, but not till yesterday was the work fully consummated by the election and installation of the following officers:

Isaac H. Kamak, President;

Adolph Baer, Vice-President;

Lee Schoenberg, Secretary;

Isaac Hattenback, Treasurer;

Leopold Lindauer, Warden;

Sigmund Marx, Outside Guard;

Joseph E. Shoenberg,

Henry Frankle, and

David Loeb were chosen Trustees.

The lodge room is on upper Chestnut street, over the Boulder clothing house.  It is unquestionably the largest and best furnished lodge room in Colorado.  The floors are lain with the most costly Brussels, the chandeliers are of the most elegant pattern.  Costly paintings adorn the walls, and the President's and Vice-President's seats, at either end of the hall, are covered by happily designed pagodas.  That occupied by the President is of scarlet and the Vice-President's of blue red.  Each is elaborately trimmed with gold fringe and the effect on the eye of the visitor as he enters the elegant hall is pleasing.

 

Fifty members were enrolled at yesterday's meeting...

 

A subscription taken for the orphan asylum at Cleveland, at the close of the business meeting, resulted in a purse of three hundred dollars.

 

The lodge being successfully launched as per expectation, the event was honored with a grand banquet given at the Hotel Windsor last evening. The large dining hall was handsomely festooned with flags, under which two hundred guests marched to the seats at the well arranged tables to the music of [Patrick] Bradley's band.  After being seated, the banquet hall unquestionably presented the most elegant scene ever witnessed in Leadville.  As to the character and variety of the viands the bill of fare will better show.

It is printed on the finest of satin and reads as follows:

 

Click image to view menu.

At each plate was found the following address of welcome, also printed on the finest of satin:

 

TO THE INVITED GUESTS OF ROCKY MOUNTAIN LODGE, I.O.B.B.:

 

Welcome, thrice welcome! be your entry into this hall.  Far removed from the scenes of our childhood, even of our manhood, we have, as denoted by the name of our Lodge organized a Society of Brethren, whose chief motive and aim, aside from friendship, is benevolence.  This noble gift instilled into the human breast, can find a full field for its display, even in this altitude, so much nearer the Heavens than our fellow men in other parts of this glorious Union.  To this feast of reason and display of wit, we are pleased to number among our guests, His Honor the Mayor of this prosperous mining camp, and his supporters, the Hon. Board of Common Council.  We are pleased to greet them, and to show them that we too have the interests and future prosperity of Leadville at heart, and are willing to contribute our mite to its future welfare.  As already indicated, it is proper to add that this organization has no political significance; its main-spring is charity and aid to its fellow man. Though secret in principle, its acts are entitled to the respect and confidence of the public at large.  For the successful establishment of this enterprise, so worthy in its nature, too many thanks cannot be bestowed on the endeavors and labors of Mr. I. H. Kamak and others.  Citizens of such activity in any place are sure guarantees of its future prosperity.

 

Now, Ladies and Gentlemen, repeating the welcome already extended, we cordially invite you to participate in this Banquet; assured, if everything else were wanting, that the presence of the fair sex, always so influential and enlivening to man, and producing real happiness and joy, will make this an eventful evening in the minds and hearts of those who have been at our social board.

 

Respectfully,

 

LEE SHOENBERG, Chairman

ROBERT M. LAMM,

SAMUEL L. GOLDING,

LEWIS JACOBS,

ISAAC FEIST,

Reception Committee

 

Speeches were made at the banquet table by His Honor, Mayor James, M. J. Waldheimer, Alderman Kavanagh, Judge Daniel Sayer, Henry W. Shannon, I. H. Kamak, Jacob Schloss, D. I. Ezeikel, Robert Lamm, Captain R. G. Dill and Mr. W. E. Jones of the Herald.

 

The following are the names of those occupying seats at the tables, so far as the reporter has been able to ascertain: His Honor Mayor James and members of the City Council, Lee Shoenberg and lady, Adolph Baer, I. Hattenback, S. Marx and wife, L. Lindauer and Miss Frey, David Loeb and wife, Joe Schoenberg, J. Miller, N. Kohn and lady, A. Eliel, Robert M. Lamm and wife, Wm. B. Loeb, S. Schoenberg and wife, Wm. Lobasky and lady, Louis Jacobs and Miss Jennie Schoenberg, Simon Hirsch, Samuel Kirschberg, L. Janowitz and wife, I. Kahn, Louis Levy and wife, Louis Shoenberg and Miss Hattie Schoenberg, Oscar Zwilling and Miss Addie Schoenberg, Wm. Ruwitzer, Isaac Feist and lady, Samuel Rich, H. J. Eliel, Eli Hart and Miss Becky Samuels, Sol Herman, I. Baer and Miss Lena Samuels, J. Schloss and wife, J. S. Bruckman and wife, I. H. Kamak and lady, J. Ezeikel, Professor H. Simons, Walt Lanser, W. H. Shannon, Sam Pettibone, David May, Ben Wood, Mr. Jones and Captain Dill of the Herald, M. Goldenberger and wife, J. Martin and lady, J. Sonshine and lady, I. Samuels and lady, A. Weinert and lady, L. Franklin and lady, Sam Golding, W. A. Root of the Eclipse, L. A. Kent of the Reveille and others.

 

The banquet guests arose at twelve o'clock when dancing was commenced and continued till four this morning.

 

One important person in connection with this most noticeable event, and who probably contributed more to the real pleasure than any other, came near being forgotten.  His name is Mr. J. H. Tepfer. He is the steward of the Windsor, and under whose sole management and supervision the elegant supper last evening was provided. The Windsor proprietors may be assured of this fact, that in Mr. Tepfer they have secured the services of one of the very best caterers in this Western country, and to this sentiment every one who sat down to his tastily dressed tables last night will give a most hearty endorsement.

 

(Griswold, p. 728-9, November 9, 1880)

 

Two evenings later, the New Turner Hall again was filled with joyfulness as the members of the B'nai B'rith, Rocky Mountain Lodge No. 322, celebrated the group's First Anniversary Ball, a reporter noting:

 

Leadville's lodge of this vast order is probably the most flourishing one in the United States.  The Hebrew population of the Carbonate camp is, to a greater degree than elsewhere, a progressive, energetic and prosperous one, and no small percentage of Leadville's wealth and importance is due to it.  Leadville's lodge includes many of the most influential business men in the city.  The ball was a full-dress affair, and a visitor accustomed to the aristocratic assemblies of the older cities of the East would have been astonished at the successful way in which this, the youngest city on the continent, rivalled the older civilizations of the Atlantic States...

Dancing was the order of the evening, with the reception committee, made up of Sam Cohn, David May, Jacob Schloss, Joe Shoenberg and David Loeb, welcoming the members and guests.  Professor John Parker's orchestra provided the music, and Professor Henry Simon called the dances.  Included in the long list of beautifully gowned ladies attending the ball were:

 

Miss Hattie Kahn was in pink and blue silk, white lace and pompadour.  One of the richest toilettes New York could furnish.  The young lady, who is beautiful and accomplished, has just come out.  Miss Phoebe Jonas was pronounced the belle of the ball in a green silk and white overskirt.  Miss Carrie Pflugradt, a universal favorite, looked charming in black silk.  Miss Rachel Jonas looked, as usual, bewitching in rose-colored silk and lace.  Mrs. Moses Shoenberg was in old-gold colored, gros-grained satin underdress and overdress of brocaded satin, with cord and tassel trimmings, and diamond ornaments.  Mrs. C. C. Lowe had on an exquisite black silk with long train.

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