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Hebrew Benevolent Association of Leadville

(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.382, The Chronicle, October 22, 1879)

 

The committee from the Hebrew Benevolent Association held a meeting last evening [October 21] at the office of Joseph Samuels, and Messrs. B. Loeb and Jacobs were appointed to select a suitable site for a cemetery.  These gentlemen entered upon the duties today and are inspecting vacant plats in different portions of the suburbs.

They require about four acres and desire to find it as near the city as possible, that the transit to and from may not be impeded by snow in the winter.  The proposed burial ground is intended for Jews in general and will be owned and controlled by the Hebrew Benevolent Association recently organized in this city.  [With the establishment of Evergreen Cemetery, the association secured acreage in it.]

 

(Griswold, p. 1228, Chronicle, August, 1883)

 

The picnic given Sunday [August 19] by the Hebrew Benevolent society, at the old race track, was a very pleasant affair and was well attended.  The day was fine and all enjoyed themselves.  Ample refreshments were on hand and fine music was furnished for those who wished to dance.  His Honor Mayor Fleming and a number of the councilmen were present.

(Griswold, p. 1296, December 28, 1883)

 

Adding to the festivities of the week between Christmas and New Year's was the Jewish ball in commemoration of the Feast of the Dedication:

 

Conspicuous among the innumerable events that have passed into history, since the last anniversary of our Lord, is one which occurred last night [December 27] in the City Hall on Sixth Street, and which was unquestionably among the consummate successes of the season.  It was the offspring of a festival that occurs annually in commemoration of that joyous hour of the deliverance of the Jews from Persian captivity and persecution.  Since that time the event has been observed right loyally in almost every city, and the Chanukah has been most prominent in the bulletin of observances.  Several weeks past it was determined to celebrate the holiday in the Clouds, and in anticipation of the event elaborate preparations were made by the Hebrew Benevolent Association.  City Hall was selected, and the doors were thrown ajar last night upon a scene such as is rarely witnessed or surpassed in any city of the most pretentious endowments.  A large gathering

 was expected and the arrangements were accordingly extensive, and it may be said that the affair eclipsed any former demonstration of the kind in the records of Leadville sociology.  At an early hour the First Brigade Band, under the direction of Professor Henry Simon, took their places upon the stage, and when their instruments were in accord, the hall was crowded with the most select and representative citizens of the place, together with wives and daughters, all attired most elegantly.  The various committees were on hand promptly and were constituted as follows:

 

On Arrangement--Messrs. Sam Mayer, M. D. Altman and Sol Herman. On Reception--Messrs. J. H. Monheimer (chairman), J. Kahn, J. Schloss, S. Mooney, S. Selix, and M. Kahn. On Floor--Messrs. M. H. Monheimer (chairman), Sol Rice, Cahn, H. J. Eliel, Charles Sands, and I. Bernheimer.

 

(Griswold, pp. 1124-5)

 

Further counterbalancing Leadville's reputation for wickedness were the altruistic deeds of individuals and of the numerous charitable and benevolent societies as put on record in the Chronicle (January 18, 1883):

HEBREW BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION OF LEADVILLE

 

This society was instituted in February, 1882.  The membership at the time was fifteen.  Its objects are the burial of the dead, the education of their orphans, visiting the sick, and relieving the distressed.  Its work is within itself reaching out only to the families of its members.  Connected with it, and under its control, are the Hebrew Burial Ground association and the Hebrew Sabbath school.  The latter meets in the morning between 10 and 11 o'clock, at Germania hall.  It has seventy-nine members, and Isaac Baer is the superintendent.  Since its organization the society has dispensed over $400 in charitable work, and has now about $200 in the treasury.  Its officers are:

 

      Isaac Baer, president.

      David Loeb, vice president.

      M. D. Altman, secretary.

      Nathan Cohn, treasurer.

      Trustees, Sam Mayer, D. Frey and Ben Davies.

 

This week, application will be made for a charter of incorporation, under which will be included the burial association and the Sabbath school.

Temple Israel Foundation

208 West 8th Street

Leadville, Colorado 80461

303.709.7050

Temple Israel Museum

201 West 4th Street

Leadville, Colorado 80461

longled@longled.cnc.net

Hebrew Cemetery

Within Evergreen Cemetery

North end of James Street, Leadville

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