May 11

Sinsheimer home, Marsh St.

Sinsheimer home on Marsh St. circa 1960. Photo courtsey Guy Crabb

Last week you, the readers, delivered more information than I could find about a 1963 era San Luis Obispo construction site.
Thanks to all [Kristi, Bill Cattaneo, Aaron, David Garth, Matthew] who contributed the information that made this followup possible.
Once the location was determined it was time to open up Guy Crabb’s book “San Luis Obispo, 100 years of downtown businesses Monterey and Marsh Streets.”
His research shows the 1020 Marsh Street location as the site of the Sinsheimer home beginning in 1905. Guy generously shares a photo from his book here, from 1960, shortly before the home was torn down. If you want information on what used to be downtown take a look at his books.

Guy also referred me to the book “San Luis Obispo Discoveries” by Paul Tritenbach.
That book outlines the local history of the Sinsheimer family beginning in 1874 with the arrival of Bernard in San Luis Obispo. Brother Henry came two years later and they opened a store in the adobe at the corner of Monterey and Chorro. Success enabled them to build the Monterey St. brick building, with cast iron façade, that still bears their name, within sight of the Mission. When the brothers returned to San Francisco the business was taken over by sibling Aaron (AZ) Sinsheimer.
He and his wife Jeanette had seven sons and three daughters. One daughter died at age 10, leading to confusion over the number of children in some sources.

Upon the death of AZ, the house was inherited in 1919 by children Louis, Otto and Gertrude.

AZ’s son Louis, would be elected mayor of San Luis Obispo for 20 years from 1919-1939.
Louis died in July 1951. Tritenbach’s book places the demolition of the house shortly after Gertrude’s death, at age 88, in 1960 and construction of the savings and loan in 1962.

AZ’s great grandson, Warren Sinsheimer, continues the family tradition of civic involvement. He is founding partner of Sinsheimer Juhnke Lebens & McIvor and was one of the key leaders supporting the construction of the Performing Arts Center on the Cal Poly campus.

According to Warren Sinsheimer, Otto died in 1926 and both Louis and Gertrude lived in the house.  He recalls a front page story in the then Telegram-Tribune when the house was demolished in 1961-62. Something to look for in the microfilm.

Maino Construction built what was initially called the Sinsheimer Trust Building, soon to be called San Luis Obispo Savings and Loan. The magnolia tree that still stands on Marsh Street was a gift from Ah Louis to AZ. The tree was brought back from China. Floods from San Luis Creek deposited rich topsoil, producing lush gardens. Warren Sinsheimer remembers the lavish growth contributing a mysterious quality to the home. Author Tritenbach worked in the garden while attending Cal Poly in 1949 and said the house was like a museum of the 1890s.

Thanks to Warren Sinsheimer for fact checking details gleaned from books and websites and for sharing his recollections.

A future post will cover Santa Barbara Savings.

Related posts:

  1. Marsh St. Construction
  2. SLO Stadium dugouts at Sinsheimer Park
  3. Wheel Estate, mobile home living
  4. Marsh Street Parade
  5. 1963 Marsh at Garden