Bernard Silberstein
Early Duluth Businessman and Politician
A Notable Jewish Professional from the Greater Duluth-Superior Region

Bernard Silberstein (1846-1922) was born in Budapest, Hungary, and was an early Jewish settler in Duluth. He was married to Ernestine Nettie Weiss (1850-1932) and they had four children. Both passed away in Duluth. More information about Bernard is available on the webpage for Nettie Weiss & Bernard Silberstein in the password protected area of this website.

In 1866, eighteen-year-old Hungarian-born Silberstein left Vienna, where he had been educated, to immigrate to the United States. He eventually landed in Detroit, but soon after headed to Duluth, as he often said, "only to look around." Silberstein must have liked what he saw. He returned to Detroit to marry Ernestine "Nettie" Rose Weiss, a native of Budapest, then took his bride to the Zenith City for their honeymoon. The Silbersteins stayed, helping to establish its first synagogue, Temple Emanuel. Bernard and Nettie, along with brothers Asa and Henry Leopold, are considered Duluth's first Jewish residents.

Silberstein began his career in Duluth selling items from house to house before he and William Farrell opened what is thought to be Duluth's first dry-goods store, which, according to his obituary, sold "everything imaginable." (Dry goods described anything not considered hardware or groceries.) Before the year was out, the pair had joined forces with a man named Whitcher to form Whitcher, Silberstein & Company, referred to in newspapers as Whitcher & Silberstein's Fancy Furnishings Store. The partnership was short-lived. By 1872 Silberstein was working with Isaac Bondy under the name B. Silberstein Company. Bondy, who lived and worked in New York City, acted as the company's purchasing agent. In 1881 they organized the Silberstein & Bondy Company; the firm's 1884 building still stands at 9-11 West Superior Street.

---------------------------------------------- source: Zenith City Press - - - backup pdf ----------------------------------------------

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