Louis Rosengarten

Louis Rosengarten was born in Sedziszow (Sendishev), Poland, in 1878. After arriving in the United States and traveling from North Carolina to St. Louis, he arrived in Memphis in 1904.  Two years earlier, in Chicago, he became a citizen, with paperwork showing that he disavowed his allegiance to Franz Joseph, the Emperor of Austria, as his area of Poland had been annexed by Austria at that time.

He and his wife, Anna, had three children, Norton, Hilda, and Jerome. They all lived above a store, “Gents’ Furnishings”, located at 340 South Main in Downtown Memphis.  In the late 1920s, his business was declining and he sought another site in Germantown.  He operated a store in a rented site until he determined that he could actually make a living in this small farming community. 

He eventually constructed a building, Rosengarten’s Market, at 2285 South Germantown Road, traveling daily by train from Memphis to operate it.  This was a dry good and general store, selling everything from sliced bologna and clothing to horse collars to accommodate the population’s demands.  It operated from 1932 to 1945. At the top of the building, as was often done, he had his name and the year, 1932, etched into stone to mark his site.  At the time, Louis was one of the first Jewish people in Germantown and, possibly, the first Jewish merchant there.

Years later, after another long-time owner put the property up for sale. The property and the lot behind it for parking were purchased by Carolyn Rogers, his son Jerome’s wife, for a real estate company.  After that, she sold the property and it was converted into a restaurant site, with subsequent owners operating Dundee’s, then Three Oaks Grill, Elfo’s (Grisanti restaurant family), and today, Southern Comfort.

Currently, there is a Historical Marker in front of the building, with this same picture on it, denoting his place in Germantown’s history, as well as the site being on the Walking Tour of “Old Germantown”.

Following in Louis’ footsteps, his son, Jerome, was a Germantown City Attorney, then later a City Prosecutor.  His Grandson, Sheldon Rosengarten, a local real estate Broker, served on the Germantown Charter Study Committee in 1981-1985, which eventually revised and re-wrote the City’s charter.  His Grandson, Jay Miller, was also a Germantown Assistant City Attorney from 1982 to 1988.  His Granddaughter, Barbara Miller Hermann, and her husband, Jerry, were honored in 2008 by being named Volunteers of the Year for the Germantown Community Theatre.

Louis Rosengarten

Germantown Historical Preservation Association Board