The Rosenzweig Family created and ran longtime successful jewelry stores in downtown Phoenix, Arizona during the era of the mid-1890s to the mid-1980s. The Rosenzweig family not only were active as jewelry store magnates but also were active as developers/investors, politicians, and philanthropists. While their stores no longer exist, the Rosenzweigs' most prominent development, Rosenzweig Center, actively persists on North Central Avenue. In addition, there are public facilities such as a public library branch and a boys club named Rosenzweig. Let's learn more about the Rosenzweigs and search for memories of their roles here.
Within the 1st block of Washington Street, East of Central Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona, from the mid-1890s up to the mid-20th century, stood the jewelry store of one the Jewish merchant princes of Phoenix, AZ, I. Rosenzweig and Sons.
These 7 decades were the ones in which the regular folk came to downtown Phoenix to shop. Arriving here penniless and having to borrow money to start his jewelry store, Isaac Rosenzweig, nevertheless, made a go of it, serving his customers well enough, to warrant their business.
Isaac and Rosa (Gross) Rosenzweig arrived in Phoenix in the late 1800s from Austria. Isaac opened his jewelry business close to the other Jewish businesses in central Phoenix, one block away from Korricks' The New York Store, Diamonds' The Boston Store, and several blocks from Goldwaters' department store. He procured housing for his family close to where the Goldwaters lived on Central Avenue and the 2 families became friends. The 3 Rosenzweig children, Harry, Newton, and Anna played with the 3 Goldwater children, Barry, Bob, and Carolyn.
After college, Newton and Harry joined their father in his jewelry business. The store eventually acquired larger space and opened several branch stores.
Along with their jewelry business success, both Newton and Harry became active in Phoenix' political, social, and Jewish religious life. For example, they helped found the Phoenix Symphony Association and were participants in reforming Phoenix city government through the Charter Government Committee.
Both Newton and Harry served on the Phoenix City Council. In addition, Harry served as Chairman of the Republican State Committee, as President of Temple Beth Israel, and President of the Phoenix Jewish Federation.
Together, in the 1950s, Newton and Harry formed the North Central Development Corporation. By 1959, with the Del Webb Corporation, their Rosenzweig Center built on North central Avenue a few miles north of downtown Phoenix was among the leaders of building vertically outside of the immediate central business district.
Rosenzweig Center, now re-named City Square
For many years afterward, the two brothers remained involved in continued developments both downtown and further afield in Phoenix. They actively led the way for such projects as the Phoenix Convention Center and Auditorium.
Both brothers also served in many Phoenix voluntary capacities and fund raising programs. Betty Rosenzweig, Newton's wife, and Sandy Rosenzweig, Harry's wife, participated in this philanthropy. Reflecting their involvement, for example, today there is a Phoenix branch library named Rosenzweig.
The Rosenzweig Family followed a pattern of other Phoenix Jewish families: success in a particularized business, participation in local politics, development and investment in real estate, joining in civic programs and institutions, and fund raising for charitable and religious organizations. The Rosenzweigs particularly were outstanding in their high level of participation.
Today, the most prominent reminder of their work is the Rosenzweig Center, which we'll stop by.