view all images ( of 4 shown)

Male, born 1838

Associated with the firms network

Lenzen, Jacob and Son, Architects; Lenzen, Jacob, Building Contractor

Professional History

Principal, Jacob Lenzen, Jr., Building Contractor, San Jose, CA, 1862-18??; US IRS tax assessment lists of 1864 and 1865 listed his occupation as "architect," but an 1866 document lists it as "contractor." The US Census of 1870 lists it as a "carpenter" and that of 1880, as a "builder"; it appears that at this time, various job titles such as "architect," "contractor," and "builder" were synonymous in some parts of the country. Partner, Jacob Lenzen and Son, Architects, San Jose, CA, c. 1887-1910;

According to the "California Blue Book or State Roster 1909". (Sacramento, CA: State Printing Office, 1909), Jacob Lenzen was still registered as an architect in the Northern District of CA.


According to one source, Lenzen was born on his family's farm outside of Cologne, Germany (see "Prominent Architect of San Jose," Accessed 07/30/2008); according to the U.S. Census of 1860 (and that of 1880), however, Lenzen and his family came from Prussia; in 1856, at age 18, he moved with his family to Chicago, IL, staying 6 years. In 1860, the family lived in Ward 7 of Chicago, on the city's southeast lakefront periphery, his block filled with fellow German immigrants, many of them carpenters. He apprenticed as a carpenter and builder here; Lenzen'z family moved to San Jose, CA, in 1862, where Jacob built a successful practice as an architect and building contractor. The block in which his family lived in San Jose in 1870 was also filled with German natives, although more ethnically mixed than that of Chicago. He lived next door to his brother, Michael, a painter, and his family of 5; in 1880, he and his family lived at 495 Vine Street, San Jose, CA. Jacob Lenzen, Jr., appears to have died between 1909-1919.

According to the US Census of 1860, Jacob Lenzen was one of seven people in his family; his parents were "Nicolas" Lenzen (born c. 1808 in Germany) and Gertrude (born c. 1802 in Germany); the 1860 US Census indicated that his father's name was Nicholas, while the 1880 said "Jacob, Sr."; his brothers and sister included in 1860: Theodore (born c. 1834 in Germany), a carpenter; Joseph (born c. 1836 in Germany), a shoemaker; Michael (born c. 1840 in Germany), a painter; Margaret (born c. 1842 in Germany); Theodore's real estate was worth $800 in 1860 and he had a personal estate worth $400.

Jacob married Catherine Lenzen, (born c. 1840 also from Prussia); census data, often misspelled, gave her names as "Catherine." According to "Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated," he married Kathrina Heckenroth, who lived at that time of their marriage in San Francisco, CA.

Father of the architect, Theodore W. Lenzen, who incorporated with him to form, Jacob Lenzen and Son, Architects; in 1880, Jacob lived with his father, identified as Jacob, Sr., a widower and retired builder, his son, Theodore W.(born c. 1864 in CA) and daughter, Mattie (born c. 1876 in CA). Her name was probably, "Nettie," and may have been inaccurately entered into the 1880 census record.

His name was also spelled, "Lentzen"; Jacob Lenzen, Jr.'s, real estate was estimated to have a worth of $10,000, while his personal fortune was put at $8,000 in 1870. Much of the above census and tax information came from searches of Lenzen. Other biographical data was drawn from "Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated," H. S. Foote, ed., (Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888), p. 363, available at Accessed 07/29/2008; Member, San Jose City Council, San Jose, CA, 1874-1876.

Associated Locations

  • Prussia Germany (Architect's Birth)
    Prussia Germany

    OpenStreetMap (new tab)
    Google Map (new tab)
    click to view google map

PCAD id: 2119