Herman W. Hellman (1843–1906) was a German-born businessman, banker, and real estate investor in Los Angeles, California.
Herman W. Hellman
|Born||September 25, 1843|
|Died||October 19, 1906|
|Resting place||Home of Peace Cemetery|
|Occupation||Businessman, banker, real estate investor|
|Children||4, including Irving Hellman|
|Relatives||Isaias W. Hellman (brother)|
Warren Hellman (great-grandnephew)
Herman W. Hellman was born on September 25, 1843, in Reckendorf, Bavaria. He emigrated to the United States with his brother Isaias W. Hellman, arriving in Los Angeles, California on May 14, 1859, as a sixteen-year-old.
He started working as a courier from Wilmington, California to Los Angeles for Phineas Banning. In 1861, he worked for his uncle, Samuel Hellman, who had a store in Los Angeles. Shortly after, he opened his own store at Downey Block.
He established a wholesale grocer's called Hellman, Haas & Co. with Jacob Haas, the brother of Abraham Haas. They sold groceries in Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. As his business prospered, he became one of the wealthiest men in Los Angeles by the 1880s. The company later became known as Baruch, Haas, & Co.
In 1890, he became vice president and general manager of The Farmers and Merchants Bank of Los Angeles, a bank established by his brother. He was later demoted by his brother, who found his lending practises too lenient. He resigned in 1903, and became the president of the Merchants National Bank instead. He also became a co-founder of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.
Hellman was a large landowner in Los Angeles. He had many buildings constructed bearing his name over the years: had built buildings also known as "Hellman Building" (also "H. W. Hellman Building" & "New Hellman Building"):
- one mentioned in 1876 on Third Street between Main Street and Spring streets, where a musical boarding school was located
- one built in 1882 on Main and Commercial streets "next to Litchenberger's", between Court and First streets
- one at Third and Main streets in 1892
- another at the northeast corner of Second Street and Broadway in 1897
In 1903, he hired architect Alfred Rosenheim to design the Hellman Building at Fourth and Spring streets. The eight-story building in Downtown Los Angeles still stands today, converted to residential use.
He married Ida Heimann (1851–1923) who was one of his cousins, on July 26, 1874, while on a trip in Italy. They resided on South Hill Street in Los Angeles and owned a secondary home in Alhambra. They had five children:
- "HELLMAN IS DEAD: Local Banker Dies Suddenly; Multi-Millionaire's Relatives at Bedside During His Last Moments; Attended to Vast Interests Until His Strength Gave Away; Was One of Best Known Men of Finance in Western World" (Oct 19, 1906) Los Angeles Times
- Jewish Museum of the American West: Herman W. Hellman
- H.D. Barrows (1906). "Herman W. Hellman". Tenth Annual Report of the Pioneers of Los Angeles County and the Annual Publication of the Historical Society of Southern California. University of California Press. 7 (1): 82–83. JSTOR 41168619.
- Sam Watters (December 26, 2009) "Hellman buildings were inspired by national spirit," The Los Angeles Times
- George Ward Burton (1904) Men of Achievement in the Great Southwest, p.59, Los Angeles Times
- Search for "Hellman Building" in Los Angeles, California newspapers, newspapers.com
- Untitled news item, Los Angeles Express, October 6, 1876, p. 3
- Untitled article, Los Angeles Herald, March 18, 1882, p.3
- Untitled news item, Los Angeles Times, September 2, 1892, p.8
- Hellman Building, Water and Power Associates
- Frances Dinkelspiel (2008) Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, St. Martin's Press, New York ISBN 978-0-31235-526-5