Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


David Schwartz, of the mercantile firm of Blum & Schwartz, proprietors of the Arcade dry goods store at Monterey, is one of the best known and most progressive merchants of that city. He is of European birth but has been a resident of this country since the days of his boyhood and of California for about twenty-five years, his connection with this state having had its beginning upon his return from army service in the Philippines following the insurrection in the islands. The command to which he was attached was quartered at the Monterey presidio upon its return and while finishing out his term of service he became so attracted to the situation in and about Monterey that he decided to make this his permanent home. This decision was clinched when he presently married one of Monterey's fair daughters and became engaged in business in the city which ever since has been his home and where he has done very well in his mercantile enterprises. Mr. Schwartz was born in the kingdom of Rumania in eastern Europe in October, 1884, a son of Israel and Etta Schwartz, and remained in that country until he was fifteen years of age when, in 1899, he came to America and after spending six months in New York city made his way to Texas.

After a bit of boyish adventuring in Texas, David Schwartz got a job as a clerk in a store at Crockett, going to work at a wage of three dollars a week, and he remained there for a year, at the end of which time he returned to New York and in that city presently enlisted for service in the United States army. That was in the days following the Spanish-American war and American troops were having a touch of foreign service in connection with the native insurrections in the Philippine islands. Mr. Schwartz was assigned to service with the Fifteenth United States Infantry and with that command spent two years in the Philippines. Upon this regiment's return to the United States it was quartered in the presidio at Monterey and there Mr. Schwartz was on duty until the completion of his term of service, spending his leisure time to advantage in further schooling. The social side of a soldier's life was not neglected by him and while stationed at the presidio he became acquainted with the young lady who presently became his wife, Miss Mollie Specter, daughter of Mrs. J. L. Blum, who was carrying on a small mercantile business in the Osio building in Monterey.

Upon the completion of his military service Mr. Schwartz engaged in business in connection with Mrs. Blum, his mother-in-law, and this association, under the firm name of Blum & Schwartz, has since been continued quite successfully, the little store having been gradually developed. On April 18, 1918, the present Arcade department store of this firm, with its three well stocked and admirably equipped departments, was opened for business, the cavalry band furnishing the music on that auspicious occasion.

In this connection, it is but fitting to preserve here the story carried by one of the local newspapers following the opening of this store. It started with the statement that "for a long time the people of Monterey have demanded an up-to-date department store." Continuing, the newspaper set out that "the Arcade is a part of the modern growth of Monterey, having had its beginning in a modest way when Mrs. Blum started a little store in Monterey fourteen years ago (1894). From that very small beginning the business of the firm has kept pace with the growth and development of Monterey. While but little in the beginning, the Arcade has always endeavored to keep abreast of the times so far as was within its means. It was the first store to introduce to Monterey the 'big sales' and these have always been popular with our people. It has been the policy of the Arcade from its beginning under Mrs. Blum's management, and afterward under the management of Blum & Schwartz, to keep business in Monterey and in pursuance of this policy, as the capital of the firm increased, the money was put into enlargement and a bettering of the merchandise service. Each move to new quarters has been to better and larger stores and today the entire ground floor of the Rowe building with its three splendid storerooms has been taken to house the largest and finest stock of merchandise ever gathered together in California's first capital."

Mr. and Mrs. Schwartz have three children: Nathan, Rosalie and William, the first named of whom now (1925) is in high school. Mr. and Mrs. Schwartz are democrats and he is a member of the local lodge of the Knights of Pythias and is also affiliated with the Loyal Order of Moose. He is one of the active and influential members of the Monterey Chamber of Commerce and during his business career in that city has been regarded as one of the "live wires" in the promotion of its general commercial and industrial interests, a helpful factor in pushing forward such movements as have been designed to further the city's material advancement, and thus has earned a well recognized and definite place in local commercial circles.

Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California's history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925, 890 pgs.