Though economic conditions continued to be strong, the coverage of the Jewish community never rebounded to its levels at the start of the decade during the earlier boom. The “Local Briefs” column, for years the best source of tidbits about the doings of people in the town, started off the year quite short, and though by March it was back to its previous length, there were almost no mentions of Homestead’s Jews, whereas before I’d find many. There were also far fewer longer news articles than in previous years. As the town grew rapidly, the bar for what counted as news was continually raised, leaving out the kinds of stories that were commonly printed in the past.
Nevertheless, what stories the paper did cover demonstrate the growing prominence of individual members of the community, as well the community’s ability to organize as a whole.
1/19: “The Homestead Hebrews met in their club rooms last night to discuss politics. There were 65 voters present and the meeting proved most interesting. By a unanimous vote the body endorsed the following candidates out for nomination at the Republican primaries tomorrow: Burgess, Louis Rott; councilmen, Second ward, George Gessner; school director, Second ward, Joseph Lasdusky.”
- 2/15: “It doesn’t often occur that a candidate for public office receives the unanimous vote of his own party at the primaries, and then to the be given unsolicited indorsement of the leading opposition party, shows that the man so honored, must have been qualifying himself through many years of past private and business life to receive such singular tokens of confidence and appreciation at the hands of his fellow citizens, among whom he has resided and by whom he is so well known.” Lasdusky‘s endorsement article goes on give the history of his time in Homestead — read it in full below.
- 2/21: The vote polled was the largest in the history of the borough — 2,114 votes cast total with 574 in the Second ward… and Lasdusky was elected as school director for 2 years!!!! “Joseph Lasdusky won out for school director handily. Mr. Lasdusky is the first Hebrew to be elected to a public office in Homestead, and the large vote he received testifieds to the high esteem in which he is held by the Gentiles.” He beat his opponent 268-202.
- 3/6: Lasdusky got sworn in! His name came up throughout the year when school board meetings were reported on. For example, when the board was accepting bids for text books, he was one of the people with the requisition list (7/26).
- 1/10: The Homestead Savings Bank and Trust company elected its directors, who included B. Hepps, I.S. Grossman, and Morris Half. Half was new; the other two had been elected previously.
- 1/10: Morris Half gave a talk at the Homestead businessmen’s meeting about value of newspaper advertising. His firm had a large ad in the paper daily.
- 1/24: Morris Half and Leo Half were the only two Jewish men listed at the Businessmen’s banquet.
4/16: Although there have been other suggestions along the way that various members of the Jewish community belonged to the town’s secret societies, here is early proof. “The joint dedication committee of Odd Fellows are requested to meet tomorrow night in the parlors of Odd Fellows hall at 8 o’clock when business of important will be transacted. All members are requested to be present. By order of chairman, Joseph Lasdusky.”
- 4/18: More on the dedication of Old Fellows’ new temple building: The plan for the day was that “after a visit to the mill is concluded lunch will be served at one of the principal hotels, after which the dedicatory ceremonies will be held in the Temple on Ninth avenue…Joseph Lasdusky was made permanent chairman of the joint committee…Chairman Lasdusky stated this morning that each of the local lodges had contributed liberally to make the dedication a success.” Chairman Lasdusky then appointed committees to take charge of the different aspects of the dedication, but they did not include any fellow Jews (perhaps there were no others whom he could have chosen). He certainly had plenty of experience with arranging dedications of buildings after having been president of the shul when its building was dedicated. Articles mentioning him in connection with the planning continued through the dedication, which took place on 5/14 (see article at right).
- 5/17: The annual Founders’ Day for the Schwab Manual Training school was celebrated the previous evening — the governor and 1500 other people attended at Carnegie Musical Hall. The article included a photograph of “school director Joseph Lasdusky, member reception committee.”
- 8/20: “Harry Aarons of Dickson street, leave tomorrow morning for Du Boise, where he will camp for a week with the Uniform Rank Knights of Pythias, of Pittsburg.”
- 10/10: The Odd Fellows elected new officers, including Lasdusky as a director.
10/18: Starting 10/18 the paper printed the women entered into, essentially, a popularity contest it sponsored where the prize was a diamond. Early in the running, Mrs. Morris Frankel was in first place with 58 votes! She quickly fell behind, though. By 10/22, when the leading woman had 330 votes, she had dropped out. One of the five judges of the contest was Mr. Lee Half.
- 12/7: The officers of the local conclave of the Improved Order of Heptasophs included Samuel Fogel as prelate.
- 2/28: Four young men from Homestead, including Louis Lebovitz, were amongst those who passed the state pharmaceutical examining board to receive their final certificates to become druggists. “Those from Homestead are all well known young men and their friends are pleased.”
- 5/8: The graduating class for the commercial department of the high school (the two-year program) included Louis Segelman.
- 5/22: The list of the town’s eighth grade graduates included Arthur M. Grossman, Hazel Rose Hepps, and Jennie Lebovitz. Grossman was slated to perform in “Double Trio, ‘Night’.” The graduation was held the evening of 5/28. It was the largest 8th grade class ever in Homestead.
- 5/31: The high school graduation was the previous evening. Louis Segelman was one of twenty-two graduates. The article mentioned he was going to work at the National Tube Company. On 6/3, a funny notice was printed: “The members of the graduating class of the Homestead public schools, the Eighth grade can receive their diplomas by calling at Lasdusky‘s People’s store on Eighth avenue. Owing to the absence of the president of the school board, David Rogers, it was impossible to have them properly signed in time for commencement.”
- 6/5: Once again Minnie Segelman was elected to teach in the Fifth ward.
- 12/28: “Charles Cohn, a student in the Baltimore medical college is spending the holidays visiting his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Cohn of Eighth avenue.”
On 2/12 the paper reported that there were 2,953 applications for liquor licenses in Allegheny county – one more than last year. In Homestead there were 72 applicants, including Philip Cohn, 404 Dickson street; Bernard Hepps, 406 Dickson street; and Isaac Hertz, 543-545 Fifth ave. (Munhall was the only borough outside of the prohibition towns to be without an applicant.) “There is small chance for an increase in the number of licensed houses in Homestead and the only hope of the new men is that some of the old ones will be knocked out” (2/26). The wholesale applicants included Adolph Hepps, 465 Fourth ave.; Ruben Schermer, 412 Dickson street; Louis D. Moskowitz, 206 Sixth ave.; and Sam W. Schwartz, 100 Eighth ave. (3/10).
License court opened 3/19, and on 4/2 the Homestead applicants were up. “The second ward was then taken up and the list gone over very rapidly Two steel works officials were in court to testify against certain applicants in this ward and several sensations are promised before the Homestead list is completed, which will be late this afternoon.”
- 4/3: The sensation is that this year things did not go smoothly for Hepps and Hertz!
The Second ward applicants for liquor license occupied the attention of the court nearly al of yesterday afternoon…The Second war list is distinguished by the unusual feature that about one-third of the applicants are new ones, and almost each and everyone of these gave the court the plea that there were not enough hotels in the ward at present to accommodate those who want to board there…
The next league remonstrance was brought against Bernard Hepps, who conducts a hotel at 404 Dickson street, Second ward. Detective Carl C. Mong appeared against the applicant and testified that he had twice visited the saloon and had on one occasion seen a drunken man buy whiskey on trust. One his second visit he saw the same violation repeated.
The next applicant called was Isaac Hertz, of 543-545 Fifth avenue and again Detective Mong was called upon to testify by Attorney Paul S. Ache. He stated that on the evening of December 26 he had called at the applicant’s saloon and found the barroom crowded, several men being visible under the influence of liquor but still allowed to buy drink. Mong further stated that two foreigners dressed in gay uniforms paraded up and down the barroom giving a short of millinery drill. The applicant denied the accusation that he sold to drunken men, but admitted that on the evening mentioned the Slavonians attired in the bright uniform on some secret society had visited the saloon, but asserted that they had not given any drill or caused any disorder.
- 4/17: “Homestead was hit rather hard by the license court this year and the temperance people are wearing a broad smile this morning.” My great-grandfather got lucky: “Bernard Hipps (sic) was suspended until July 3rd, as he is erecting a new building and the court wished to give him plenty of time to finish it.” Hertz lost his license, and the attempts of Schermer and Cohn to gain one for the first time were refused. On the wholesale side there were no changes — Adolph Hepps, Sam Schwartz, and Louis Moskowitz were granted; Schermer was refused.
- 5/1: “This is the beginning of the new license year. In the houses where licenses are renewed there is nothing noticeable, as they go on just the same…On the other hand there are four places that will close up temporarily. Barney Hepps, of Dickson street, has been suspended for sixty days, one of the longest suspensions made by the license court this year.”
- 1/11: Herman Schoenfield was convicted of “simple assault,” but he was “let off on payment of the costs.” The article below explains how when a employee asked for an advance in salary, during the ensuing argument Schoenfield “choked him and jolted his head against the counter.” The conviction was odd given that a witness corroborated Schoenfield, but no one corroborated the employee. Hmmm.
- 1/22: “Schoenfield’s store is in the hands of Mr. Charles Harlem, receiver for the creditors of the firm.” Ads for the closing out sale started running a couple days later, though the store remained in business after.
- 1/27: The grand jury found true bills against Mrs. Fannie Pettit, for stealing $2000 of merchandise from Lasdusky, and her parents, Mr. and Mrs. William Wood, who helped her hide the goods. (Go back to 1905 if you don’t remember this story.) The paper notified its readers not once, but twice, about the date set for the trial. 2/10: “After due consideration by the court and a request on the part of the prosector that the cases be dismissed the court allowed a nolle-pros to be entered. It is understand that the goods and merchandise in question in this case were all returned to Mr. Lasdusky and that the costs were paid by the defendants, after Mr. Lasdusky had stated to the court that he did not wish to further prosecute.”
- 2/9: The team of horses belonging to M. Levkovitz, a Heisel street butcher, dashed 2 miles up Eighth avenue until the buggy to which they were attached collided with a street car.
- 2/28: Herman Schoenfield won his lawsuit against McKeesport after they “claimed that the clothing company was conducting a bankrupt sale contrary to a city ordinance.” The article below details his plans to sue the city for damages.
- 3/9: “Yesterday while excavating for the new hotel to be built by B. Hipps (sic) at the corner of Fourth avenue and Dickson street, the workmen dug out into the side walk and exposed the six inch water main leading to the fire plug, and also damaged the pipe slightly. About 4:45 a.m. the plug bursted (sic) and the water shot out with terrific force, the entire pressure of the town being turned into the main, and in a few minutes all the cellars in the neighborhood were flooded…” Whoops! Full article below. (This was a particularly exciting find for me, since I had wanted to know when he built his hotel, and now I do!)
- 4/4: “Joseph Kline, a Hebrew, was arrested for violating a borough ordinance. He was let off with the costs.”
- 4/6: “Word was received this morning by telephone from Waynesburg stating that the Grossman building and store at that place was destroyed by a disastrous fire which started at 5 o’clock this morning. Mr. Grossman is a cousin of Isaac Grossman an Eighth avenue merchant, and is well known here. The building was a four story structure and built at the cost of $60,000 and the stock was valued at $25,000. There was in all only $20,000 insurance.”
- 6/6: “William Weisz, a fruit dealer of Homestead, entered suit to recover $5,000 damages from Adolph and Bernard Hepps, James Cox and J.T. Morris, a Homestead constable, for an alleged illegal levy on his store. Weisz states that by reason of the levy, which was unwarranted, his stock of good (sic) was allowed to spoil.”
- 6/11: The Half Bros. warehouse was gutted in a fire while the members of the firm were out of town attending the wedding of Moses Half. Their loss was $15,000. They paper reported on 6/13 after they arrived home that their business was not interfered with as their second warehouse not damaged. They had already ordered new stock. 6/26: “Half Bros. have rented the building at 226 Sixth avenue, opposite the one recently damaged from fire. They will use it as a storage house.”
- 6/27: In Munhall police court, “Herman Schoenfield, the Homestead clothier, was before the burgess on the charge of violation ordinance… had a force of men distributing handbills in the borough… imposed a fine of $5 and costs. Mr. Schoenfield took transcript and says he will carry the matter to court.” I’m starting to see a pattern here.
- 7/1: Man, this was not Half Bros.‘ month. The warehouse where there was a fire collapsed during a rainstorm. “Half Bros., have been very unfortunate these two accidents coming so close together, but they are meeting the situation with their usual courage. After the fire they rented a new store room…”
- Starting late June, townspeople complained to the burgess about merchants, esp. in the Second Ward, who kept their businesses open on Sunday. “Burgess Rott holds the opinion that these merchants…must be taught that the spirit of the people of this country, outside of any religious sentiment, is that unnecessary business should be prohibited” (6/27). The complaints continued, so he issued an official notice that he would enforce the blue laws (7/13). The penalty for violating the law was unusually severe. A week later, the problem persisted and two men were arrested for keeping open “stores in which goods are sold which can as well be purchased on a weekday.” One claimed that “if a man came in and wanted a clean collar he would sell it to him, law or no law.” (7/22). It came out the next day that that man was Morris Frankel! He defended himself, saying that his full comment was that “if a man wanted a new collar so he could go to church he would give it to him.” He related an incident in which something similar happened, concluding that “everyone in the Second ward knew he did not keep his store open on Sundays are had not for six or eight years past.” The back-and-forth continued through the summer — a reverend complained about the lack of observance, and an anonymous letter writer pointed out that the Christian Sabbath was not the one instituted in the Bible, “Christ himself broke the Sabbath of the Jews, and did not regard it as of any account,” and “for nearly three hundred years after the death of Chris the Christians had no ‘Sabbath.'” These kinds of exchanges were fairly typical.
- Another issues that had been ongoing all summer was garbage removal. On 8/17 the paper reported that “a warrant was served for failing to have his garbage removed from the rear of his store on Dickson” on Max Grinberger, of 218 Dickson street. “Grinberger, who has been fined twice before for the same offence (sic) claims that he has notified the garbage men time and again to remove the garbage, but up to the present time they have failed to do so. He also claims that he has asked for a permit to remove the garbage himself, but was refused, as that work is left to the garbage men only.” The next day the paper reported he was released after he proved he had notified the garbage men.
- 8/21: “Harry Freidman and Joseph Grinberger, who conducted a cleaning and dyeing establishment on Dickson street, were arrested yesterday on the charge of fraudulently disposing of goods to defraud creditors…they had taken all the goods of the establishment and it is understood left town with them at midnight.”
- 9/11: Two shoplifters were arrested for stealing from M. Marks‘ jewelry store while being waited on by Mrs. Marks. It was Marks who tracked them down and recovered the stolen property.
- 9/12: “A horse attached to the meat wagon of Max Gross, of Heisel street, ran off in front of Munhall postoffice at 1 o’clock this afternoon. The animal was captured at McClure street. There was no damage done but the wagon narrowly escaped from being struck by a street car.”
- 10/29: “The New York Bakery wagon was struck by a Homeville street car on Ravine street about 11 o’clock this morning and knocked over into the creek, bread being scattered in all directions. The driver escaped injury by jumping. The wagon was badly wrecked but the horses escaped unhurt.” (This is Max Markowitz‘s business.)
- 12/19: “A stove on the second floor of the two story frame building of Samuel Markowitz, corner of Second avenue and City Farm Lane, which is occupied by a Slavish family and about thirty boarders, was the cause of a small fire…The loss to the building is fully covered by insurance…The damage amounted to $500.”
1/4: “Lee (sic) Half of the firm of Half Bros. is in Chicago on business connected with the firm.” 1/13: “Leo Half of the firm of Half bros. furniture dealers, arrived home this morning from Chicago, where has been since Christmas. While away Mr. Half purchased a lot of furniture for their spring trade.”
- 1/24: Many business houses were changing locations due to high rents. They could spread out because of the ongoing expansion of the steel mills. “Joseph Lasdusky will move the People’s store from the Steenson building to the Walton building next door.” An article on 3/21 notes that the reason is “the raising of the rent to an exorbitant price at his location in the Steenson building.” 4/2: “Joseph Lasdusky is doing business today in his new stand next door to the room he formerly occupied.” A long article on 4/14 praised the new building, “which gives them more room and a better opportunity for the display of goods.”
- 2/23: “Grinberg Bros. have purchased the entire stock of D. Brown & Son, no. 12 Murray street, New York, which they have brought to Homestead and are selling at surprisingly low prices.”
- 3/8: Another business relocation. “M. Marks, the jeweler, will move from the corner of Tammany alley and Eighth avenue, to 251 Eighth avenue, April 1st.” 4/5: “M. Marks, the jeweler, is now located at 354 Eighth avenue. He is making some extensive improvements and will soon have one of the finest stores in town.”
- 3/13: “Half Bros. will hold their annual spring opening Thursday. Prof. Dolin’s orchestra will furnish the music.”
- 4/5: “A. Marcus, a former Eighth avenue merchant, moved his family to South Side, Pittsburg, today, where he will go into business.”
4/12: The new proprietor of The New Bon-ton was Leon Trau!
- 4/18: “M. Goldman and family have moved from Greensburg to 326 Third avenue Homestead where he has purchased property. Mr. Goldman will go into business here.”
- 5/14: “Max Seigel, of Dickson street, left this morning for Youngstown, Ohio, on business.”
- 6/5: A large article announced that the Half Bros. furniture store was going to building a five story structure, “the biggest building operation prosecuted at one time ever contemplated in Homestead.” Along with other building projects, the paper projected that the “trend of business” was “destined to center near the corner of Amity street and Eight avenue.” 7/24: Work started on the $50K building, which would include freight and passenger elevators.
- 6/7: For many years the town held an annual merchants’ picnic. On that day all the stores in town would closed while the merchants, their families, and probably many others picnicked in a nearby park. This year there was opposition to the picnic by some businessmen who wanted to stay open: “Realizing that the objects sought to be accomplished by the annual merchants picnic have in recent years utterly failed, that the said picnic with its incidents is no longer of benefit either to the merchants or their employees or to the families of the town… picnic is an actual detriment to the people of Homestead and vicinity… on the 19th day of June our places of business will be open as usual.” Signatories included Joseph Lasdusky, Jesse Wolk, and M. Marks. On 6/13 the paper published a glowing preview of the picnic and predicted that less than a dozen business houses would be open on the day of the outing. The only one listed from the Jewish community was Little’s shoe store. On 6/20 the paper reported that it was the most successful business men’s picnic ever, with 2,300-2,400 people in attendance. “A few of the store were kept open, but little business was transacted.”
- 6/23: “Meri W. Coulter has sold his fast pacing mare to Samuel Glick, of Heisel street.”
- 8/20: “Myer Grinberg, of Grinberg Bros., left for New York last night to buy a fine line of Holiday goods.” 8/29: “Meyer Grinberg, of the Star Novelty store, has returned home from a trip to New York. He combined business with pleasure,b esides purchasing his fall and winter stock, saw the sights of the wonderful city.”
- 8/27: “Miss Nellie A. Cohen, formerly of Du Boise and recently of the firm of Kolb Bros. & Huntsman wholesale millinery establishment, of Pgh, has been engaged to take the management of the millinery department of Lasdusky’s People Store. The young lady comes highly recommended as a trimmer and designers, and by her genial disposition will doubtless make many friends and conduce (sic) greatly to the success of this dept.” (On 5/22 it was announced that his previous head milliner was headed to a shop in Allegheny.)
- 9/28: Two “rivals in the grocery business,” Joseph Klein and Andy Yuhas, had a hearing before the burgess. An argument in which “one the blamed the other for stealing his customers…led to a wordy argument and later ended in a fistic combat. Klein claimed that Yuhas handed him a few choice ones when he was not looking for it. He also alleged that Yuhas called his wife vile names. While Yuhas did not deny striking Klein, he claimed he was justified in the matter.” Yuhas lost and had to pay $1 and costs.
- 9/29: Robberies were reported in an area of the Second ward called “Moskowitz row.” Presumably this was an area of housing owned by a Moskowitz? 9/12: There was also a Markowitz building at 624 Eighth avenue, where someone leased a storeroom to open a restaurant.
- 11/1: “Mr. Seigel has gone to Atlantic City on business trip.”
- 11/28: “Morris Frankel, a well known Second ward business man, has the foundation completed for 12 brick houses in Duquesne. These he will either sell or rent as soon as they are completed. He say (sic) he intends to start work on 2 more. He says Duquesne is on the boom. Mr. Frankel is also a large property holder here.” The context for this work is that in mid-October it came out that US Steel was building two blast furnaces and eighteen open hearth furnaces in Duquesne — over $10MM in spending — which “should cause a big boom,” the paper predicted. Clearly Frankel was trying to capitalize on that boom!
- 12/15: An ad in the appear announced a “Gigantic Removal Sale” in advance of the Half Bros.’ relocation to their new building.
- 1/2: “The detectives at work on the Philip Cohn robbery have at last struck a clew (sic) and there will likely be something doing before long. The parties who committed the robbery are said to be known to Mr. Cohn and unless they make his loss good as once, their arrest will follow. The parties are said to be well known to Mr. Cohn and familiar with all his habits. This accounts for their big haul as they knew he had the money in his clothes.”
- 2/6: “Mrs. Rachel Grinberg, aged 76 years, wife of Samuel Grinberg, died this morning at 1:30 o’clock at the family residence, Eighth avenue, after three weeks’ illness of Bright’s disease. Mrs. Grinberg has been a resident of Homestead for 12 years and was well known among the Hebrew people. She and her husband moved here from McKeesport…” The article goes on to mention her children. Her burial was not in Homestead, but McKees Rocks.
- 6/12: “Meyer Grinberg, of the Star Novelty store, who has been suffering with rheumatism, is able to be about again.”
- 9/17: Max and Selma Klein sued the Pennsylvania Railroad Company for $20,000 in damages because “employees of the railroad left a hand car standing on the tracks near the home of the Kleins in Homestead June 16 last, and that a fast train came along and struck the car” which “[smashed] a hole in the side of the house.” Mrs. Klein received permanent injuries, described in the article below.
- 10/4: Former Homestead resident Jacob Steinberg, now of Pittsburgh, “was the victim of a series of assaults yesterday. While walking along Miller street he was suddenly attacked by an unknown colored man, who struck him on the head with a brick.” Full details in the article below.
- 11/5: “Miss Ida Lebowitz is reported on the sick list.”
- 11/17: “Samuel Fogal, of 405 Fifth avenue is out on a farm in Verona for his health.” 11/17: “S. Fogal 404 Fifth avenue is able to able about again after a few weeks illness with a sore hand.”
- 11/17: “One man was killed and 13 other person were injured shortly after 7 o’clock last evening in a rear-end collision between two Homestead, Shady and Penn cars near the corner of Shady avenue and Fair Oaks street.” Mrs. Frankel of 533 Fifth avenue was amongst the injured. She was shaken up and taken home.
- 12/17: “Max Silver, of 413 Fourth avenue, reported to the police yesterday morning that robbers entered his house early Sunday morning and stole $267 in cash from under his pillow…Silver is employed by J.K. Lowry, the wholesale liquor dealer as driver and the money stolen belongs to the latter. There are several very suspicious circumstances in connection with the robbery and the police will make a thorough investigation.”
- 12/28: Morris Frankel‘s brother, J.L. Frankel, a wholesale liquor dealer in Hazelton, Luzerne county, was killed in a runaway accident on Christmas eve. Full article below.
- 3/22: “Announcement has been made of the engagement of Morris Half to Miss Carolyn Israel of Black Street, East End, Pittsburg. Mr. Half is a member of the firm of Half Bros., successful furniture dealers of Homestead and the bride is a young Jewess well known in the East End. The engagement will be followed by their wedding sometime next summer.”
- 3/27: “The engagement of Samuel S. Cohen a well known business man of Homestead, and Miss Eva Goldstein of Allegheny, was announced last evening their engagement to be followed by their wedding which will take place sometime in June. The wedding will be a society event in Hebrew circles in Allegheny as the bride-to-be is one of the most popular and handsome girls in her set on the North Side. Mr. Cohen is among the prominent Hebrews of Homestead. He has been in business on Eighth avenue for many years and is held in the highest esteem by all who know him.”
- 6/13: A funny article about the marriage in Chicago of Mose (sic?) Half and Carrie Israel, concluded, “it thus happens there are six halves, or three Halfs, or three Half and Halfs here.”
- 6/15: Samuel S. Cohen and his new wife, the former Miss Eve Goldstein, returned from their honeymoon trip. Full article below.
- 6/16: “A marriage of considerable interest to many people of Braddock and Homestead will take place tomorrow morning at the Ammon street Synagogue, Homestead, when Miss Julia Hepps, of 405 Dickson street, Homestead, will be married to David Roth, of No. 407 Fourth street. The wedding will be a large affair and many friends of the contracting parties from Braddock and Homestead will be in attendance at the affair. After the wedding celebration, the bride and groom will go to the home of Mr. and Mrs. B. Hepps, where a wedding breakfast will be given and later a reception will be held.”
- 9/4: “I. Grossman, of 504 Fifth avenue, is a happy man today and all his business and social acquaintances are smoking at his expense. It’s a boy baby, and his first, and he has a right to be happy.”
- 10/11: “Meyer Grinberg of the Star novelty store, is the father of a big girl baby and is as happy as can be.”
- 10/30: “A very enjoyable surprise party was held in honor of Isaac Hertz, of Fifth avenue, last evening, and an enjoyable evening was spent in the different amusements. Morris Frankle (sic) acted as toastmaster, and presented, Mr. Hertz with a fine smoking jacket, the gift of the Duquesne Turners. At 11 o’clock a very delicious lunch was served, after which the guests departed for their homes. About eighty guests were present from Braddock, Duquesne, McKeesport and Homestead.” (To be fair, I have no idea what is the occasion being celebrated here.)
- 12/5: “Mr. and Mrs. M. Marks were surprised by a large number of friends at their home, Margaret street, Munhall, Monday night, the occasion being the sixteenth anniversary of their wedding. The evening was spend in pleasant social intercourse. Among those present went: Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Lasdusky, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Cohen, Mr. and Mrs. Morris Frankel and son, Mr. and Mrs. I. Grossman and son, Mrs. Friedman and Miss Friedman, Mrs. M.D. Weiss, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Markowitz, Mr. and Mrs. J.K. Fisher, of Braddock, and many others.”
- 12/11: Although the below article says confirmation, based on his birthday, they mean Bar Mitzvah! (And last night = Monday evening.)
The birthday party and confirmation of Ralph Lasdusky, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Lasdusky, was celebrated last night at their home on Ammon street The house was elaborately decorated in honor of the occasion and everything in connection with the event done up in style. The family was served with dinner at 5:30 and at 7:30 the reception to the guests took place, there being over 100 present, they coming from the city and all the surrounding towns.
Master Ralph made a splendid speech in connection with his confirmation, along the lines of morality and right living.
Music was furnished by Prof. Alderman, of Pittsburg, and some good local talent was also introduced. In the midst of the merry making a surprise was sprung by the announcement of the engagement of Miss Annie Lasdusky, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. M. Lasdusky, of Pittsburgh, and a sister of Joseph Lasdusky, to Max Glick, a well known you man of this place. Mr. Glick is the manager of Mr. Lasdusky’s store in this place. The engagement will terminate in an early spring wedding.
- 12/18: Under the hilarious headline, “Birthday Party Held On Miss Anna Lasdusky“: “A very enjoyable birthday party was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Lasdusky, of 528 Ammon street last evening in honor of Miss Annie Lasdusky’s birthday a very pleasant evening spent in singing and music, after which the guests were treated to a very delicious lunch, and at a late hour they departed for their home wishing Miss Lasdusky many happy future birthdays, there were about twenty five couple (sic) present.”
- 12/28: “An elaborate Hebrew wedding has been planned for next Sunday in Rudof Schulam synagogue on Ammon street, when Miss Bessie Siegle, of this place, will be married to Albert Gross, late of New York, who is now resident with his mother in McKeesport…The bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Siegle and for the past five years has been making her home with her sister, Mrs. H. Arons, of 545 Dickson street.” Many more details in the article below. This is a happy ending to a sad story — in 1902 the paper reported Bessie’s father beat her and her brother.
- 1/11: “Mrs. B. Friedlander of Eighth avenue left last evening for New York were (sic) she will spend two months visiting friends in Eastern cities.”
- 2/13: “Max L. Siegle, formerly of Aarons & Siegle, left last night on a Western trip of about six weeks. Mr. Siegle was a member of the Johanson Drug company, and before leaving settled all claims against the concern.”
- 6/13: “Leon Half returned from the West this morning where he attended his brother’s wedding and is busy today making an inventory to the goods destroyed in their warehouse on Sixth avenue.”
- 6/14: “Max Glick, who has been employed in Lasdusky’s People’s store, will leave this evening for New York, where he will sail for Europe. He will be away three months and will visit Germany, France, Italy, and Hungary.” (On 6/11 the paper had reported on the “unusually large number of well known people who will visit Europe during June and July, some of whom will go over the pond to visit their old homes and friends there,” and on 6/22 the paper listed “many voyagers booked for Europe, both “well known people” and also “many foreigners.”) 9/12: “Max Glick, a clerk in Lasdusky’s store, returned home this morning from a trip to Europe.”
- 6/21: “Mrs. Samuels and daughter, Mrs. Wilner, of Third avenue, left today for Mt. Clemens, Michigan, where they will spend a few weeks.”
- 6/28: “Daniel Grosman, a leading merchant of Denver, Col. is spending a few days at the guest of his brothers, I.S. and Igantz Grossman…Morris Frankel returned home from Cambridge Springs this morning. He says things are slow about that well known resort at present owing to so much rainy weather.”
- 7/10: “Mrs. Harry Arons and children of Dickson street, have left for Saxonburg, where they will spend several weeks.”
- 7/12: “Miss Sisenwain, of New York, is the guest of her aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Morris Grinberg, of Twelth avenue.”
- 7/17: “Mrs. Max L. and Mrs. David Siegle left yesterday for Saxonberg Springs, where they will spend a couple of weeks with their sister, Mrs. Harry Arons, who has been there for the past two weeks…Max Seigel, of Dickson street, has recovered from his illness and is able to be about again.”
- 7/23: “Max Seigle, of Dickson street, is home from Saxonburg… Mrs. Harry Arons and children, of Dickson stret, are home from Saxonburg, where they spent a couple of weeks…Dave Segelman, the popular young jeweler, left Saturday morning on a joint business and pleasure trip to New York. He will be gone about two weeks…Joseph Lasdusky and three sons Ralph, Louis and Isadore, left Saturday for New York city and Atlantic City, where they will spend two weeks. While away Mr. Lasdusky will purchase his fall stock.”
- 7/30: “Joseph Lasdusky and three sons, Ralph, Louis and Isadore have returned from an outing at Atlantic City and New York.”
- 8/1: “Mrs. Bessie Seigel, of Dickson street, has returned home afer spending a couple of weeks’ vacation at Conneaut Lake.”
- 8/6: “Mrs. Findburg and daughter, and Miss Steinburg, of Pittsburg, Miss Gusie Levy, of East End, Sam Broady, of Saxonburg, and Mr. York, of Carnegie, were the guests yesterday afternoon and evening of Mr. and Mrs. H. Aaron of Dickson street.”
- 8/13: “Jesse Wolk, of Eighth avenue, left yesterday for a two weeks’ trip to Cambridge Springs.”
- 8/16: “Robert Blueck (Glueck?), of Eighth avenue, West Homestead, left yesterday for Cambridge Springs, where he will spend two weeks.”
- 9/4: “B. Glueck, of West Homestead, left yesterday for several weeks stay at Mt. Clemens.”
- 10/12: “Louis Lasdusky, of 1214 Franklin street, Pittsburg, was the guest of his brother, Joseph Lasdusky, today…Mr. and Mrs. Samuel S. Cohen of the Odd Fellow apartments, entertained the following people Wednesday: Dr. Rudolf Caffee of San Francisco, Cal.; Dr. M. Fried, minister of the Tree of Life Congregation, Pittsburg; Mr. and Mrs. A. Goldstein, of Allegheny, the parents of Mrs. Cohen; and Nathan Goldstein, a brother. In the afternoon the party were shown through the Carnegie steel works and were later entertained at dinner by their guests and spent the evening very pleasantly. Dr. Coffee and Dr. Fried leave soon for New York. The latter intends going west to locate.”
- 10/17: “Louis Beck, who has been visiting at Butler Pa., will be a Homestead visitor Thursday.”
- 10/29: “Mrs. Lebowitz, of Fourth avenue was calling on friends in Braddock, yesterday.”
- 10/30: “Miss Rachel Goldstein, of McKeesport, spent Sunday with friends here.. Miss Ruth Grossman, was the guests of relatives in Pittsburg, yesterday.”
- 11/1: “Mrs. Morris Frankle, was calling on friends in Pittsburg yesterday.”
- 11/9: “Miss Rose Fogal, of 405 Fifth Avenue was a Pittsburg visitor yesterday.
- 12/5: “Miss Ida Fogel has returned from a two weeks visit with her brother in Verona…Miss Pearl Fogel, of Frankstown avenue, East end, was visting her brother of Fifth avenue.”
- 12/7: “Miss Ida Fogel was the guests of friends in Duquesne yesterday.”
- 12/27: “Mr. Herman and Max Schoenfield, attended a reception last night given by their uncle Jacob Schoenfield, of Allegheny.”
- 1/16: “The Hebrew club will hold a select dance tonight in Casino hall on Eighth avenue, and it is expected to be an usually pleasant social function. There will be guests present from Pittsburg, Duquesne, McKeesport and other surrounding districts. The reception is not limited to the Hebrews but all who desire to attend will receive a cordial welcome. The music will be furnished by the Munhall orchestra, Prof. Milde, director.
- 2/14: An article came out reminding “the Hebrew people [and] their gentile friends” about the Hebrew ball tomorrow (read it below). Interestingly, the article says, “The funds raised from this social event will be devoted toward enlarging the synagogue on Ammon street. Owning to the increase in the Hebrew population during recent years it has been found that the present edifice is not large enough to accommodate the congregation.” The committee are Joseph Lasdusky, chairman, Max Gross, H. Haupt, Joseph Fried, and Max Silver.
- 2/16: After the ball, the paper reported that “all had an enjoyable time. There was good music for the dance which lasted from 8 p.m. until 2 a.m. Some of the costumes of the ladies were very elegant and presented a brilliant scene.” Full column below.
- 3/10: From other records we know that the Ladies’ Auxiliary was founded in late 1905. Here is the first mention of them in the local paper! “The first annual masquerade Purim ball by the Ladies Auxiliary of Rodof Sholam will be held at the Casino, 500 Eighth avenue, on Monday evening for the benefit of the Home for Aged People. It is expected that the function will be largely attended as the object is such a worthy one and besides arrangements have been made for an exceedingly enjoyable time.”
- 3/13: The Ladies’ Auxiliary mask party got a long write-up in the paper (in the slideshow below). Half of those present attended in costume, and the paper claimed, “there was never a masquerade party held in Homestead where there were so many novel costumes.
The prize winners were as follow: First ladies’ prize, Mrs. Heilbraun, representing Father Purim, an umbrella; second, Mrs. Morris Frankel, who appeared as a Salvation Army lassie, a vase; third, Miss Bessie Seigel, as a News-Messenger reporter, a ladies’ purse; first gentlemen’s prize, Max Gross, Hungarian gypsy, military hair brushes; second, Herman Glick, who represented a telephone, a muffler; third, Joe Fried, who was dressed in a barrel, cuff buttons. I.J. Goldston, as a German, also deserved a prize, as did Philip Cohn, who represented “Kaiser Sweany” of Austria.
The affair was in the charge of Mrs. Morris Frankel, Mrs. Marks, and Mrs. Gluck, to whom great praise is due. The ladies’ society will realize handsomely from the proceeds.
- 3/15: “The Hebrew club of Homestead held a reception and banquet in their rooms at the corner of Eighth avenue and Tammany alley last night to a number of their gentile friends and the occasion was greatly enjoyed by all who were present.” The article below describes the event in more detail. “Among those who entertained the banqueters” were Dr. M.H. Moss, I. Grossman, Joseph Lasdusky, Harry Pollock, and an even larger number of prominent, non-Jewish Homesteaders!
- 4/12: “Jewish Passover week began at sundown,” began an article (below) which described the general observance in the Passover area.
- 5/10: The Ladies’ Auxiliary donated $200 to charity — $100 to the “home for the aged in Pittsburg,” $50 to “the home for consumptives in Denver,” and $50 to the earthquake victims (see below). “The society was formed solely for charitable purposes less than a year ago.” A guest at their meeting was Mrs. B. Davis, the president of the Hebrew Ladies Hospital Aid society of Pittsburgh.
- 6/25: So, the synagogue had rule that disputes amongst members had to be arbitrated first by members of the community, and only if that failed — and with their permission — could it be taken to court. “The officers of the Hebrew church…obtained the information that [Joseph] Weinberger had entered suit against [Morris] Fogel [formerly a policeman for Homestead] without submitting the matter to the congregation and they both being members, made them amendable (sic) to the church authority…A committee of the church, composed of Joseph Lasdusky, Morris Grinberg and Bernard Hepps, were in attendance at the hearing of the case Saturday…The judge dismissed the case, saying…the agreement was binding between the parties.” The whole fascinating article is below. Also, it confirms at last the Morris Fogel I’ve been reading about as a policeman in Homestead is from the Jewish community!!!
7/30: “At a meeting of the association of the Hebrew Home for the Aged for Western Pennsylvania held in Pittsburg yesterday, Joseph Lasdusky was elected a director for one and a half years and Morris Grinberg was chosen an honorary director. Rabbi A. J. Newman, formerly pastor of the Homestead synagogue is the superintendent.”
- 9/11: “At the annual meeting of the Homestead Hebrew congregation held Sunday for the ensuing year, the following officers were elected: President, Morris Grinberg; second term. Vice president. M.D. Weis; first term. Secretary Mark Fishchel (sic); third term. Treasurer, Samuel Mervis; first term. Trustees, Joseph Fried and Harry Arons.
9/15: “Every Hebrew resident in Homestead is preparing to celebrate a series of religious and other holidays that are fast approaching…”
- 9/19: “The Jewish New Year, 5567, will commence this evening at sunset and throughout the city the people of Israel will usher in the solemn occasion with prayer service…Rabbi Newman will conduct special services in the local synagogue on Ammon street during the holidays…”
- 9/28: “The day of Atonement, the most sacred day in the calendar of the Jewish Church, will begin tonight…the Rev. Newman will preach on, ‘There is a God.'” Services will begin tomorrow morning at 9:30 o’clock and during the morning the rabbi will preach on ‘The Rise of Man.'” This is surprising since the financial records suggest that Newman finished in June 1906 and Widom started in August 1906.
- 10/29: In the “Local and personal mentions” column, the paper reported, “the Ladies Hebrew society, will hold a meeting Friday evening.”
- 12/8: “The Hebrew club of this place will hold a select ball in the Casino, next Tuesday evening. Music for the evening will be furnished by the St. Clair Orchestra of Braddock and all those holding tickets are requested to attend as they are assured a good time. The following committee will have charge. Morris Frankel, chairman, Joseph Lasdusky, secretary, Samuel Mervis, H. Arons, Max Gross, Joseph Free (sic), H. Haupt, Max Silver, M. Margolis, S. Margolis, M. Marks, Benjamin Markowitz, Adolph Hepps, Samuel Markowitz, and Barney Hept (sic). Many other prominent Hebrews will assist which assures its being a great social success. Tickets are now on sale at Lasdusky’s store and by Morris Frankel.”
San Francisco Earthquake
On 4/18 the paper carried a large headline about the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, which took place that morning. The following day the headline was, “San Francisco is Doomed.” The day after, “The beautiful city of San Francisco will be transformed into a heap of ashes. Not a house left on the peninsula.” Major front page coverage, including photographs, continued for days — an unparalleled focus on any event, local, national, or international, and Homesteaders couldn’t help but respond to the tragedy. On 4/20 they began to raise money. Amongst the earliest Jewish contributors were the usual leading business men — Half Bros., who gave $25, Morris Frankel $10, Schoenfield Co. $5, and Wolk $2. Then on 4/27 the paper announced the the Hebrews were initiating their own fundraising effort. “M. Marks, Joseph Lasdusky and J. (sic?) Grossman are the committee to solicit subscriptions among the Hebrews, and as will be seen by today’s issue they have secured almost $100 in the last two days.” The fundraising efforts, both within the Jewish community and in Homestead at large, went on through early May. The Jews raised $95 of the town’s $1,042.55. The Hebrew Fund, printed in the paper on 4/27 and reprinted 5/1, included:
Homestead Lodge 586, I.O.O.B….$5.00
Mrs. Ig. Grossman…1.00
Miller & Friedlander…1.00
Mrs. E. Klein…1.00
Ladies Society (Rudeff Shulem)…25.00
Morris L. Israel…1.00
Louis D. Moskowitz…3.00
Mrs. C. Segelman…1.00
2/16: The local Homestead basket ball team was scheduled to play the Zion Council team of Pittsburg! “The name of the visiting team sounds a good deal like an aggregation of Sunday school lads but all the same they play basket ball some and have been holding their own with the strong teams of Allegheny county.” 2/19: Alas, Homestead “had no trouble in defeating the Zion Council team of Pittsburg…the score standing 60 to 28.”
- 6/13: A new mission opened at 408 Eighth Avenue. “Rev. Maurice Ruben, a converted Jew, is expected to preach at the evening services.”
- 6/18: The headline read, “Slaughter of Hebrews. Over 2,000 are Reported to Have Been Slain by Russians,” and the long article elaborated that “the end is not yet. The slaughter at Bialystok has been worse than the awful affairs at Kishineff, Kieff, Odessa and Homel.”
- 6/23: “Morris Caplan, a huckster, from Pittsburgh was arrested by officer Davies yesterday for chastising James Boyle, a little son of Felix Boyle, on Tenth avenue. It appears that some boys had been annoying Capan and the latter accused young Boyle of crossing the lines of his horse and caught him and stuck him. He was fined $1 and costs by Burgess Rott.”
- 6/26: The sensational murder of Sanford White by Harry Kendall Thaw on 6/25 was noted by the Homestead paper since Thaw was a “young Pittsburg millionaire.” The trial would continue to receive coverage by the Homestead paper because of the local angle.
- 6/29: Another! “Rev. John Legum, a converted rabbi, now in charge of the Lutheran Jewish mission of Pittsburg, will preach in St. John’s Lutheran church on Fourth avenue next Sunday night at 7:30 o’clock on the subject ‘The Modern Crucifixion of Christ’…The subject he will discuss is one of extreme interest at all times but when looked at from a Jewish standpoint it is doubly interesting.”
- 10/5: A strange article (included above) about Jewish persecution explained that “the Jew…is the most spiritual man alive. He has been pounded through the ages, robbed and massacred, but he yields neither his traditions nor his ideals. Had he been materialistic he would have sold out long ago and bought peace.”
- 11/26: An article with the headline “Jewish Landowners. In Europe They Hold 218 Times as Much as They Did 40 Years Ago,” began, “The anti-Jew faction in Russia declares that even with the present restrictions the Jews have managed to acquired a large portion of land.” The rest of the article quotes figures from a Jewish publication that support this claim.
- 12/13: “On next Sunday evening Miss Kern, a converted Jewess, will speak…She is a fluent speaker, of great earnestness. Since uniting with the Christian church she has been the object of much persecution, but in spite of this she was true to her convictions. She will tell why she became a Christian and a Christian only, on Sunday night. The church extends a cordial invitation to all to be present and hear the converted Jewess.”
In 1906 ads appeared in the paper for:
- Grinberg (Eighth Avenue above Dickson St., 605 Eighth ave)
- Philip Cohn (349 Eighth Avenue to 343 Eighth ave)
- Half Bros. (Realty Building, Eighth Ave..moving to 126-128 east eighth ave)
- Wolk’s (“Homestead’s Big Shoe Store,” 313 Eighth Ave.)
- S. Samuels (227 Eighth Ave)
- Busy Bee Hive (between Dickson and Ammon streets, 519 Eighth ave)
- I.J. Goldston (617-619 Eighth Ave.)
- M. Marks (jeweler and optician, 513 Eighth Avenue)
- Little’s Shoe Store (“Homestead’s leading shoe store,” 321 Eighth Ave)
- Lasdusky’s People’s Store (337 Eighth ave to 335 Eighth)
- The New Bon-Ton (237 Eighth Ave)
- Segelman (“Old reliable jewelry store,” 231 Eighth ave)