Object: Milton Anfenger’s copy of a 1905 program honoring President Theodore Roosevelt at the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver, Colorado.
Jewish pioneers began arriving in Denver as early as 1859, but it is not until the 1870s that the community began to establish firm roots. It is said that Denver’s first synagogue, Congregation Emanuel, was founded in 1874 after the birth of Milton Anfenger, the eldest son of Louis and Louise Anfenger. Louis Anfenger migrated to the Colorado Territory from Syracuse, New York in 1870 during Colorado’s formative years. He became a leader of Denver’s Jewish and general community and married Louise Schlesinger in 1871. Their son, Milton Anfenger, graduated from East Denver High School in 1892. He attended Stanford University and graduated with a L.L.B. in 1895. At Stanford he was a classmate and roommate of future United States president Herbert Hoover.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Milton Anfenger became a leader in the Denver community. Anfenger became a lawyer and was admitted to the Colorado Bar Association in 1896. He also went into politics, was elected a Colorado State Senator in 1904 and served during the fifteenth and sixteenth Colorado general assemblies. As a prominent local politician, he attended the program honoring President Theodore Roosevelt which was sponsored by the Denver Chamber of Commerce and Board of Trade in 1905. The Anfengers were staunch Republicans, although two of Milton Anfenger’s sisters married prominent Democrats. In 1905, his sister Flora Anfenger married Philip Hornbein, who went on to become the chairman of the state Democratic Party from 1918 to 1920. Milton, himself, married Essie Wolfshon in 1911.
Milton Anfenger was an avid sports fan and became the owner of the Denver Bears baseball team in the 1920s, serving as president of the team from 1923-1932.A member of the Elks Lodge, Milton later served as President of the local lodge as well as Treasurer and President of the District Grand Lodge. He was also a central figure in the Denver Jewish community as an organizer of the Allied Jewish Council and was active in the Central Jewish Council, Central Jewish Aid Society, a Treasurer of the United Health Appeal Board of the Allied Council, and worked as editor of the Jewish News. He was Treasurer of Beth Israel Hospital and President of the National Jewish Hospital Board from 1945-1952. A member of several civic organizations, he was also actively involved in the National Guard, Masons, Odd Fellows, Denver Chamber of Commerce, board member of the Green Gables Country Club, and organizer of the Sons of Colorado. Milton Anfenger died December 9, 1952.