Updated: Jun 25, 2022
The Shoenberg Farms Restoration Project would not exist, had it not been for the philanthropist nature of Louis D. Shoenberg.
Louis Dudley Shoenberg was born on April 26, 1857 in Dayton, Ohio, to Elias and Fannie (Mook) Shoenberg. He was one of six children born of the couple. His siblings include Hattie Brahm, Moses Shoenberg, Joseph E. Shoenberg, Leobold Shoenberg, and Rosa May. There is not much insight into his early life, other than he made his way at some point during his early years to New York, which is where he married his first wife, Flora (Rothschild) Shoenberg. Together, they would have a son, Dudley Cleveland Shoenberg.
During Colorado’s Gold Rush, which is historically recorded as 1858-1859, many people began settling in the area. With the potential in Colorado booming, Louis and his family eventually settled in the state. His business partner, David May married Louis’ sister Rosa in 1880. David already had a relationship with the Shoenberg family, having opened a dry goods store in Leadville, Colorado, with Moses in 1877. A decade later, David would partner with Louis on additional Manhattan Clothing Co. stores.
Louis lost Flora in 1891 and Dudley died from consumption less than two decades later in 1910 at the age of 24. The loss of his only child to consumption is the foundation of how Shoenberg Farms came to be. Even in the loss of his son, Louis was able to give back to the community – which is a mission set forth by the Shoenberg Farms project today. Giving back history and a functional resource for the community.
The National Jewish Hospital sent out a plea for help. The establishment was having trouble feeding the patients (including those who were non-paying or had consumption), but did not have a farm to sustain them like the other sanitorium in the area, Jewish Consumptives Relief Society (JCRS). Having lost his own son to consumption, Louis stepped in with his philanthropist spirit and decided to help the hospital.
Situated about a days walk from the hospital, Shoenberg Farms was constructed to help satisfy the needs of the hospital – providing dairy goods, fresh vegetables, and eggs to the patients of the hospital. Shoenberg always wanted to build a farm closer to the hospital, but at the request of the hospital built a nurse’s home on the hospital campus, he obliged.
In 1926, Louis married Australian-born opera singer Helene Marguerite Thomas in London. The couple took the name Beaumont, settling on the French Riviera after their wedding. Together, Louis and Helene had one daughter, Vivian. Louis died in 1942 at the age of 85, leaving behind his legacy and Shoenberg Farms – which would later be renamed as Dudley C. Shoenberg Memorial Farm, after the benefactor’s son.