Ilsa Rubenstein

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Marble Springs 2.0 screenshot of Ilsa Rubenstein

What we know

1862 - 1929
Daughter of Jeremiah Cohen, banker in San Francisco. She grew up in San Francisco and married Jacob Rubenstien, who ran the Marble Springs Bank. One daughter, Miriam. Two other children stillborn. Jacob gave Mariam to Michael Nolan, who took her away the day after the county auditor found discrepancies in the bank’s acounts. Falsely accused of embezzlement, Jacob spent fifteen years in the Canon City prison, and Ilsa became a recluse within the town.


Ilsa used to gaze out from the bay
windows of her Nob Hill girlhood
to store up visions of the sun melting
on the backs of blue herons.

She banked her visions
at the far corners of the moon,
hugging the grey-gold shadows of
her investment safely tucked away:

away from the portly brass of her
father’s pocketwatch
—an Old World shipper
turned New World banker—

away from the diamond panes
of the window when her
father traded her for interest
in Marble Springs Bank

away from the smoke-silver
of her husband’s cigar-filled den
where he mortgaged her1 only
daughter to Michael Nolan

away from the poured gold
of her daughter’s curls
which shone in
the pungent pine church

away from the stern iron bars
when they took Jacob away
for 5 to 10 after someone
had gone off with the money—
and also

away from her grey locks tucked
under her trim, worn bonnet
when she went up to Caňon City
to fetch him home 15 years later.





Uchill, Ida Libert.Pioneers, Peddlers, and Tsadikim. Denver, Colorado: Sage Books, 1957.

Stanly, Edward.Arguments of the Hon. Edward Stanly of Counsel for the Receiver, and T.W. Park, Esq.of Counsel for Alvin Adams, with the Charge of the Court, at the Trial of Alfred A. Cohen, on a Charge of Embezzlement in the Case of Adams & Company, by H.M. Naglee, Receiver, Versus Alfred A. Cohen,in the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District of the State of California, Hon. John S. Hayes, Presiding, March, 1856. San Francisco:Whitton, Towne, and Company, 1856. Available at the Western History Department, Denver Public Library.

Portal caption and links

A drawing of a pocket watch on a chain.
Ingrid Jenson
Miriam Nolan
Ruby Mateson

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Portal for secret connections
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