Charles Rhine General Merchandise Store
The Charles Rhine store sold everything it's customers might desire from food to hardware, toothpicks to mowing machines.


Charles Rhine's store sat on the Southwest corner of Main Street and Diablo Street.


The Rhine Hotel, built by Jacob Rhine in the 1880's.
After it burned down, the National Saloon replaced it.

Photos courtesy of Clayton Historical Society
From the book Images of America: Clayton

Charles Rhine's General Merchandise Store was on the spot now occupied by Skipolini's Pizza at 1033 Diablo St. Interesting to note that the first place I ate in Clayton was Skipolini's Pizza, not realizing until I spoke to the Clayton Historical Society that it was where my great-grandfather's store was situated in 1857. Great pizza at Skipolini's!!

THEN NOW

Photo Courtesy Clayton Historical Society
From Images of America: Clayton
 

THEN NOW

Photo excerpt Courtesy Clayton Historical Society
From Images of America: Clayton
 


Hilda Rhine and family
photo excerpt Courtesy Clayton Historical Society
From Images of America: Clayton

Excerpt below: from "Clayton: Not Quite Shangri-La"
by George A. Pettitt

CHARLES RHINE

EARLIEST MERCHANT, POSTMASTER TELEGRAPHER (CONTRA COSTA TELEPHONE CO), UNOFFICIAL BANKER, NOTARY PUBLIC, CIVIL LEADER beginning in 1858.

CHARLES RHINE (1838-1922) was a native of Rogasen Germany. He came to Contra Costa County in 1857 and opened the Rhine General Merchandise Store
(where Skipolini's Pizza now runs their business on Main Street). Charles also owned and operated a 900-acre farm in the area. Most of the goods he grew he sold in his store.

In 1868, Charles married Cecelia Lobree (who was born in 1847 in Pudewitz, Prussia). They had eight children (*see Rhinesville family tree). It is believed that the nearby "Rhyne [sic] Quicksilver Mine" was also named for him. It operated as far back as 1875 and helped to turn the tiny community of Clayton into a thriving town. Deposits of the hard blue serpentine and red cinnabar became a valuable source of mercury for the country's munitions industry.

The first house remembered in what is now the village, was a small dwelling that stood on the site of the present residence of Charles Rhine, occupied by Mrs. Rees. In 1857, Charles Rhine moved his business from the point where he had first located, two miles out of town, and opened a store next to Mauvais' hotel; thus had the town its start, and prospered for a few years.

Charles maintained his General store and becomes Clayton's Postmaster and Notary Republic. Charles engaged in farming and owned nine hundred acres of land. He sold the produce in the Rhine General Merchandise Store.

On February 28th 1864, a fire of considerable magnitude caused the destruction of property to the amount of about fifteen thousand dollars. Among the buildings consumed were the Clayton and Union Hotels, as well as Rhine's
General Store and other places of business.

Charles & Jacob moved their large families to San Francisco in 1900. Cecelia died April 20th 1912. Charles died May 23rd 1922.

 

JACOB RHINE'S SALOON

"As coal mining trade increased, the barrooms in these hotels were Augmented by several additional saloons, notably one started by Jacob Rhine, brother of the merchant, Charles Rhine."

George A. Pettitt Clayton: Not Quite Shangri-La



Photos courtesy of Clayton Historical Society
From the book Images of America: Clayton

Jacob Rhine, a German Jew, spent time in Coos Bay Oregon and came to, what is now Clayton, by covered wagon with his future wife Dina Ottenberg.

Upon arrival they stayed with Jacob's older brother Charles Rhine, wife Cecilia and their baby Rachel. Jacob helped his brother Charles by working at his General Store which sold supplies to coal miners.

JACOB RHINE married DINA OTTENBERG on Dec 1st 1874 in Clayton, CA. Dina was born 22 Jun 1854 in Domstock by Wormes, Germany. Jacob became a U.S. citizen April 22, 1874, the same year he and and Dina Married.

By the 1880 Census, Jacob had his own household in Clayton, Contra Costa including his wife Dina and their first 3 daughters. Jacob and Dina eventually had 14 children (*see Rhinesville Family Tree).

In the 1880's Jacob owned the Jake Rhine's Saloon and Hotel and a place called Rhine Hall (a dancehall and bar.)

Jacob retired around 1900, when they moved to S. F. but is a part owner of Rhine Optical Company. That was a joint venture with 5 of Jacob's sons. Jacob was an Odd fellow for 59 years and a Mason for 50 Years.

Jacob died in San Francisco September 10 1926. Dina died 20 Jan 1937 in San Francisco.

Click here to read about LARRY RHINE (1910 - 2000) prolific TV comedy writer and WW2 hero to the Philippines


Click on photo to watch Archive of American Television video interview with Larry Rhine


RHINE CANYON (in Mount Diablo State Park) Named for Charles Rhine

RHINE CANYON (F5) Charles Rhine (1838-1920) was a native of Poland. He came to Contra Costa County in 1857 and opened a general merchandise store with partner Joel Clayton (see Clayton Oaks Road) near the present town of Clayton. He also owned and operated a 900-acre farm in the area. Most of the goods he raised he sold in his store. Charles was also the postmaster in Clayton. In 1868, Charles married Celia Lobree Rhine, a native of Prussia. They had eight children. It is believed that the nearby "Rhyne [sic] Quicksilver Mine" was also named for him. It operated as far back as 1875 and helped to turn the tiny community of Clayton into a thriving town. Deposits of the hard blue serpentine and red cinnabar became a valuable source of mercury for the country's munitions industry.

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