Early Beaumont Jewish Community 7
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During the 1890’s, Hirsch’s Cordova Hotel and Bar were among the showplaces of Beaumont. The latter knew no peer between Houston and New Orleans in 1895, containing 211 incandescent lights, 11 ceiling fans, 2 private wine rooms, a bar and French plate mirrors valued at $5,000, and a stock of beer, liquors, wines, and tobaccos that one might expect to find only in a northern city. In 1897, his elegant 3-story brick residence, with its oriental cupola tower, similar to those of the first synagogue, was among the most ornate of the mansions on Calder Avenue, and a photo of it survives in a 1900 edition of the Sabine Pass News. It was the first resident to be dedicated by a secret organization, the Sons of Herman.27

H. Peristein, whose career began at fifty cents a day, worked as a blacksmith for Tom Ridley until the former acquired his own shop on Pearl Street in March, 1892. By means of frugal living, he acquired real estate at a rapid pace, and assisted further by the oil boom of 1901, he built Beaumont’s first ‘skyscraper’ in 1907, at the time the tallest building between Houston and New Orleans. S. H. Kress and Company occupied the first floor of the Peristein Building for several decades.28

In April, 1897, a disastrous fire destroyed fourteen Beaumont business firms, none of them Jewish, but three Jewish dry goods stores were heavily damaged, namely F. Deutser’s on Crockett Street, Mothner Brothers, and S. Sternberg.29

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27Biography of M. H. Hirsch, Sabine Pass News, May 5, 1900; ibid., for photo of H. Hirsch’s residence; see also “Emerald of the Neches,” pp. 540-541; biography and photos, Cordova Hotel Bar and Hirsch residence, Oil Exchange, Advantages and Conditions of Beaumont and Port Arthur Today, 1902, pp. 14, 83.

28Blurn et al., “Founders and Builders,” pp. 4-5; E. P. Weinbaum, Shalom, America: The Per/stein Success Story (San Antonio: 1969), pp. 1, 16; see also photo, Peristein Building, B. C. C., Beaumont: The Twentieth Century City, 1912, p. 11.

29”Big Blaze at Beaumont,” Galveston Daily News, April 18, 1897.

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