Jews in the News, 1902

This is the year in which the first synagogue was completed and dedicated!  They newspaper coverage for this is in a separate series of posts:

Articles in this post are organized by the following themes:


  • 3/3:  Morris Fogel of the Second ward was a patrolman!  The earlier mentions I did not note, ack!, because I did not believe them!  The paper reported he arrested someone else on 3/29.
  • 4/2:  “Steve Gaurand was arrested this morning by Detective Frank Bell on a charge made before Justice George W. Giles by Morris Frankle, who alleges that the defendant called him names.   The hearing in the case will be held this evening.”
  • 5/13:  Half Bros. sponsored one of the train cars for the school children’s picnic.
  • 5/17:  The Penna. Guarantee Indemnity base ball club defeated the Fourth Avenue Sluggers by the Score of 33 (?) to 10. One Jewish player was a Markowitz, who played left field. “The Penna Guarantee base ball club would like to hear from all 11 or 12 year old teams. Address A. Mill 701 8th,” concluded this item in a typical fashion for these kids’ teams looking for more competition.
  • 5/21:  Only a few months after the tragic death of his wife, poor M. Devai was arrested for walking home from work.

M. Devai, a Heisel street jeweler, was given a hearing last evening before Burgess J. Clyde Miller.  He had been arrested early Monday morning by Officer Roll R. Calvin on a charge of being a suspicious character.  It is said the officer was coming up West street, when he saw a man with a satchel in his hand.  Mr. Devai says the policeman came up to him and asked him where he was going.  The jeweler replied that he was going home.  He had a satchel filled with jewelry and claims to have explained every thing to the policeman but that Calvin would not listen to him.  It is said the officer refused to take a forfeit for Devai’s appearance on Monday morning but that he put Devai in the lockup.  Burgess Miller discharged the man as Officer Calvin was not at the hearing.  It is said Devai will sue the borough and Officer Calvin for damages for false arrest.

  • 7/1:  “Jacob Seigle appeared yesterday before Jusice J.B. Jones and entertained suit against Susan Duster and Mike Kramer for disorderly conduct. The latter was fined $1 and costs while the Duster woman will be given her hearing Wednesday.”
  • 8/2:  “Morris Lefkowitz appeared this morning at the office of Justice J.B. Jones, on Dickson street, and entered suit against John O’Brien, of West Homestead, charging him with assault and battery. In the information it is alleged that the defendant beat the plaintiff in a bad manner yesterday. The arrest in connection with the case was made by Constable Walter Donaldson and the defendant gave bail for his appearance this evening.”
  • 8/14:  The Heisel Street Stars baseball team beat the Fourth Avenue Sluggers with the score 2-1. A Markowitz boy played middle field for the wining team.
  • 9/9: “The High school basket ball club has been re-organized with the following old players in line: Black, Luppold, Kenvin, Hamilton, Roberts and Skirball.”
  • 9/11:  This is pretty unpleasant, though the following day the cross suits were settled by each man paying half the costs:

Cross Suits Were Entered

Markwitz (sic) sued Pusateri and Latter Retaliated.

Samuel Markowitz and Mike Pusateri, both of the Second ward, are in the court and the case is very interesting. Last evening Mr. Markowitz sued Pusateri before Justice George W. Giles on a charge of assault and battery. The defendant then went before Justice J.B. Jones and entered suit against Markowitz for assault and battery on his minor son. Markowitz alleges that yesterday he was driving a team down Heisel street and that a boy threw a stone at him. He says he chased the fellow and it happened to be the son of Pusateri.

He alleges that he went to the father of the little boy and complained of what the youngster had done and then Pusateri beat him. In the information before Justice Jones, Pusateri alleges that Markowitz beat his son. The hearings in both of the cases are to be held this evening.

  • 9/23:  “Samuel Moranz appeared yesterday at the office of Justice George W. Giles and enetered suit against Abe Nathanson, charging him with assault and battery and disorderly conduct. The prosecutor alleges that the defendant beat him. The arrest in connection with the case was made this morning by Detective Frank Bell and the defendant will be given a hearing this evening.”
  • 10/14, 10/15:  Money was raised for the survivors in the Cawley family, whose mother and five siblings were murdered by their deranged brother.  The fund included the following contributions:  Half Bros 2.00, Phil Cohn 1.00, Sam Cohen 1.00, M. Frankel 2.00, Grinberg Bros. 0.50, I.S. Grossman 0.50, and S. Markowitz 1.00.
  • 10/24, 10/28:  Starting 10/23 Homestead had a week long “Fair of Nations” — covering countries like Scotland, Ireland, and Germany.  One night’s program included a violin solo of “Hearts and Flowers” by Mr. Skirboll and another night the Skirboll Orchestra (!) played two selections.
  • 11/19:  In a basketball game the library the Stocking beat the Third aveune team 10-6. A Skirboll played guard for the winning team.
  • 12/18: Is this a Jewish social club? Was it founded because the member weren’t welcome in any of the town’s many other social clubs?

You Know Club Was Formed

Young People Organization to Have Good Time Among Themselves.

A number of the young people of town have formed what is known as the “You Know Club” and at a recent meeting adopted rules and regulations governing the club. The membership is limited and the object of the organization is for the members to assemble and have a good time among themselves. The next meeting of the club will be held on Third avenue. The officers of the club are as follows:

President–Charles Pritzker.
Vice president–John Schotz
Secretary–William Ruben.
Treaurer–Miss Bessie Seigle.
Chairman–Charles Cohn.

  • 12/27:  “The You Know Club, composed of a number of young people of town, will hold their regular meeting tomorrow afternoon. They will decide on some kind of a function which will be held shortly. There is a great deal of enthusiasm among the members of the club and their organization promises to be a most successful one.”  Unfortunately, this is the last time we’d read about them in the paper.
12/31/1902: A newspaper ad touting the Republican slate in the upcoming Homestead borough elections.

12/31/1902: So far Morris Frankel is the only Republican candidate for the Second Ward council seat.

  • 12/29:  The year ended with a quite an interesting piece of news reflecting how far the Jewish community has come:

Morris Frankel for Council.

Morris Frankel, a well known business man and large property holder in the Second ward, has been prevailed upon by his friends to come out for the office of council. Mr. Frankel has always been a good Republican and will enter the party primaries with a large following. He has resided within the ward for about 14 years, and has gained a reputation for honestly and uprightness in business, and has been remarkably successful, and if elected can be depended upon to carry his business principal into council and work for the best interest of the community at large.

The exciting conclusion to this race is in the 1903 post!


  • 3/21:  “Miss Minnie Segelman is home for a vacation. She will leave again Monday for California State Normal.”
  • 5/21:  At the annual school picnic, the entrants for the Second ward potato race for boys ages 6 to 8 included Nathan Schachner and Hymen Mendelsohn, and the 100 yard dash for Second ward boys ages 6 to 8 included Charley Markowitz and Julius Cohen.  The baseball game named the catcher for the Fourth ward team as Louis Segelman.  Unfortunately, none of these boys won their races, and the Fourth ward baseball team lost their game, too.
  • 5/21:  Harry Ralph Skirboll was listed as a graduate of the Literary Course at the high school (as opposed to the commerical course).  On 5/27 the paper gave the program for the commencement.  Harry was to give an oration entitled, “The Duty of the Employee to the Employer” — a very Homestead perspective!  On 5/31 the paper reviewed the graduation.  “Harry R. Skirboll delivered an oration on the ‘Duties of the Employee to the Employer.’ He spoke of how we could read a book on the duty of the employer to the employee, but said that it was very seldom that a book of the opposite kind could be found. The address was a find one and everyone was well pleased with it.” Members of the class were taken to and from the hall in carriages decorated with the class colors.  Afterwards, they were received by alumni in Steenson’s Hall, where they and several hundred other “young folks” danced at a reception deemed “the finest ever given a class.”
  • 6/3:  Rose Skirboll was selected to be a teacher in the Fifth ward, her second year as a teacher in Homestead.
  • 6/11:  The graduating class at California Normal School, where girls trained to be teachers, included Minnie Segelman.
  • 10/6:  A brief mentions that Morris H. Moss of Dickson street and another student would “leave this evening for Chicago, there they are to enter the Eclectic School of medicine. They were formerly students at Atlanta, Ga.”

Real Estate and Landlording

  • 1/4:  The year kicked off with a major sale of lots in Munhall that are part of the so-called Carnegie Plan. $120K of property was sold in less than 24 hours. One of the purchasers was our Max Markowitz.
  • 1/10:  Our leading real estate investor took advantage of the boom, too:

To Erect a Block of Houses

Morris Frankel Invests in West Homestead Real Estate

Morris Frankel this week purchased three lots at the corner of Seventeenth avenue and Neil street, West Homestead and will erect thereon a block of houses. He will erect a large store room and dwelling on the corner and as many dwelling as possible on the other lots. He is now having plans drawn for the improvement and expects to start work in a short time. The house will be for rent.

  • 1/31: In an ad listing all the Carnegie lot buyers so far, included are Max Markowitz, Sarah Markowitz, Morris Frankel, and Philip Cohn.
  • 3/10:  “Morris Frankel has purchased the property of John Reid on the upper end of Fifth avenue for $3,500. Mr. Frankel will occupy the property as a dwelling for a short time, after which he will have the dwelling moved back and will erect a fine store room in front, which he will occupy with a first-class gent’s furnishing store. Mr. Frankel has great faith in the future of Homestead and is accumulating much real estate.”  On 7/14 the paper followed up,

Will Erect a Business Block

Morris Frankle to Make Use of Reid Property

Some time ago Morris Frankle, the well known Heisel street merchant, purchased the Reid property on Fifth avenue, near Dickson street. It is said he will in a short time begin the erection of a business blok which will be one of the finest along that street. The house which now stands on the lot will be moved back and the store rooms will be built in the front. Mr. Frankle is a far seeing citizen and sees a sure thing in the future of Homestead and is investing much money in properties in town.

On October 24, the paper described what the “Handsome New Building” would look like:

Morris Frankle, the well known Heisel street merchant, has plans prepared for a handsome three story brick and stone building, which he intends to erect on the upper end of Fifth avenue.  The building will be 25 by 60 feet and the lower floor will be fitted up as a store room, while the second and third floors will be given over to flats.  Their (sic) will be six rooms and a bath on each flat and both are nicely arranged and will be fitted out with all modern conveniences.  The front of the building will be constructed of cut stone and will contain two bay windows on the second and third floor.  There will also be a balcony in front of each of the upper floors and the building will be one of the most attractive in town.  Mr. Frankel is now taking bids on the construction of the building and the contract will be let and work started as soon as possible.

On 11/21 in an article about thousands of dollars going on to improve many sections of Homestead,

Architect Piatt has also completed the plans for the new business block which will be erected on Fifth avenue above Dickson street by Morris Frankle, the well known Heisel street merchant.  The building will be of brick, two stories in height.  The lower floor will be used as a store room by Mr. Frankle, while the upper floor will be a six room flat.  The building when finished will cost in the neighborhood of $6,000.  The plans for the structure call for one of the finest fronts in Homestead.  The contract for this building will also be let in a short time.

  • 3/28:  The paper published a legal notice of assessment for the expense of grading, paving, and curbing Cherry alley between Hays street and City Farm lane.   Included are: “Barney Hepps…36.81,” (one of the smallest amounts given) “Reuben Schermer…147.24,” another listing for “Barney Hepps…36.81,” and “Adolph Hepps…110.42.”   Another such notice for Elm alley between West street and City Farm lane included, “Philip Kline…39.75,” “Morris Frankel…176.57,” and another “Morris Frankel..54.23.”
  • 5/15:  An ad for the Carnegie plan of lots mentioned a buyers Max Markowitz, R. Schermer, Morris Frankel, and Philip Cohn.
  • 6/26:  Another ad for the Carnegie plan mentioned buyers Max Markowitz, R. Schermer, Sarah Markowitz, Morris Frankel, and Philip Cohn.
  • 9/16:  In an article about a one million dollar building boom in Homestead listing the buildings under construction, one soon to start was a brick building on Eighth avenue for Sam Markowitz at a cost of $15,000!  And another by B. Glick in West Homestead costing $3,000!
  • 11/11:  Mary Ann Cunningham, who was a tenant in a home Henry Moskowitz bought on Third avenue, refused to leave, so he sued her for trespass. She pulled a similar stunt previously in another house and the company eventually had to tear the house down to get her out.  More aggravating details in the slideshow below.
  • 11/21:  In the same article quoted above regarding Frankel’s building, two other relevant buildings were discussed:

I.S. Grossman, the Eighth avenue merchant, is also having plans drawn for the remodeling of his residence on Dickson street. It is his intention to tear the front of the house out and putting (sic) a store room in. The new part will be rented out while Mr. Grossman will still occupy the other part of the house.

M. Markowitz, a Pittsburg merchant who owns a lot on Eighth avenue, between McClure and Dickson streets, in the new Carnegie plan, will also erect a fine business block in a short time. As yet the plans are not drawn for building, but it is said to be the intention of Mr. Markowitz to make the building one which will be a credit to the street. The first floor will be used as a store room, while the other floors will be made into flats.

  • 12/1: In a list of new building permits, “Jacob Solomon, row of tenements in Gold alley, 29×64 feet, to cost $3,660.”

Liquor Licenses

1901 was an exciting year for liquor licenses — many in the community, including my great-grandfather, got licenses for the first time.  Homestead’s temperance people, upset with the broad acceptance from the previous year, determined to work to reduce the number in 1902 (1/7).

The list for retail license applicants included Bernhard Hepps, 404 Dickson St.; Henry Moskowitz, 611 Eighth Ave.; Samuel Moranz, 530-532 Heisel St; and Reuben Schermer, 448-450 Third Ave (2/23). Wholesale applicants included Samuel Markowitz of 616 Heisel street and Herman Markowitz of 206 Sixth avenue (4/10).

On 4/18 the retail applicants had their day in court. “Bernhard Hepps of 404 Dickson street was called and passed with the routine questions… Henry Moskowitz, of 611 Eighth avenue, stated that he had been refused license four times before he was granted. He said he had obeyed the law. Samuel Moranz, of 530-532 Heisel street explained to the court that he had procured a license on May 4 last, from Joseph Chelcote. He bought the real estate for $12,000. The place had been transferred several times but it was explained to the court by Attorney Cox….During the course of the hearings Judge Rodgers called Attorneys L.I. Davis and John F. Cox and stated that last year James J. McDonough and Henry Moskowitz had both received license last year at 611 Eighth avenue. This was explained by a change in the numbering of the houses.” Compared to the grilling some applicants got, it seemed like these men did well.

For wholesalers, Herman was accepted and Samuel rejected (4/18). Meanwhile, the retail applicants were growing concerned as it became there would be a “material reduction in the number of licensed places” in many towns, including Homestead, which “has too many saloons” (4/23). Furthermore, it was determined that unsuccessful applicants would not be permitted to appeal — they had one shot to convince both judges of the necessity for a saloon at the requested location (4/23).

On 4/29 the retail list came out…and indeed, “many of the old licensed houses having been knocked out and the total number of saloon considerably reduced, there being 30 licenses granted…and the balance of the 79 applicants refused.” Moranz got his license, but Hepps, Moskowitz, and Schermer were refused. Both Hepps and Moskowitz lost the ability to carry on the businesses they had been running for the past year. “The blow will be a severe one to some of the old applicants who were refused, as they have all their belongings tied up in their business, but they have no one but themselves to blame,” claimed the paper, but judging from the earlier newspaper article, it does not seem like Hepps and Moskowitz were amongst those who “payed (sic) little attention to the regulations” (4/29).

On 5/1 the paper reported that fourteen saloons were closed. “Among those who have closed their doors for good, having been refused licenses are…Bernhard Hepps.” For those who remained in business, thought, the paper reported some months later that “The past year has been a very hard one on the saloonists of Homestead and there are very few of them who have been making a great deal of money out of their business…It is a well known fact that many of the hotel men want to get out of the business right away” (8/22). An amusing side effect of this business lull is that one saloon keeper introduced free lunch, but after everyone followed, and then each made their free lunch more and more elaborate, the saloon keepers asked for free lunch to be outlawed to end the costly one-upmanship (7/14).

Anyway, seven licenses were for sale, which created an opportunity for my great-grandfather and others. A few weeks later the paper reported that the court approved a license transfer so “Bernhard Hepps opened the place formerly owned by John Masley” (9/13). Now he was back in business!

Business Doings

12/4/1902: An ad mentioning the 9th anniversary of the Grinberg Bros. Bargain Store.

12/4/1902: An ad mentioning the 9th anniversary of the Grinberg Bros. Bargain Store.

  • 1/7:  “Morris Half, of Half Bros., the furniture dealers, is in the Northwest, attending the furniture exhibition for the purpose of laying in an entire new stock for the new store in the Homestead Realty Co.’s building.”
  • 1/15:  “Morris Half, of the Half Bros. furniture dealers, leaves this evening for Chicago to finish purchasing goods for their new store in the Homestead Realty Co.’s building. The firm will carry a large stock of the finest make of furniture in their new place of business.”
  • 1/30:  “Wanted—An experienced lady bookkeeper at Grinberg Bros, Eighth avenue”
  • 2/4:  In a Half Bros. ad: “We will move to our new rooms in to the Realty building Eighth and Amity about March 1st.”  It turned out to be an overly ambitious deadline.
  • 2/26:  “H. Arons will open a clothing store in a new building which has been erected on Dickson street below Eighth avenue in a few days.”
  • 3/1:  The new Homestead Realty building at the corner of Eighth and Amity would be the new location for Half Bros. furniture story.  Other upcoming business changes included M. Marks, jeweler, at 507 Eighth moving into 227 Eighth, the former location of I. Fox, who was retiring?!
  • 3/4:  “I. Goldston, of Eighth avenue, is making great improvements at one of his store rooms. He has had a partition in the rear taken out and the lower part of the store has been greatly enlarged. Mr. Goldston’s increase of business warranted the improvement.”
  • 3/20:  The list of tenants for the new Homestead Realty Co. building at the corner of Eighth and Amity included Half Bros.  The Knights of Pythias were there, too, and on the third floor was a large meeting hall.
  • 3/27:  Somehow the new Homestead Realty Co.’s new building almost went up in smoke!  And yet, “Half Bros.’ opening will continue until 9 o’clock this evening. All are invited.”
  • 8/1:  “The grocery store of Jacob Seigle, on Dickson street, has been sold, the new purchaser being Isaac Jacobs, formerly of Pittsburg. The latter is an experienced groceryman and will make many improvements to the place.”
  • 8/2:  “Miss Sara Moore, an employee at Lasdusky’s People’s store, on Eighth avenue, leaves Monday on an Eastern trip to look at the fashions.”  8/13:  “Miss Sarah Moore, the popular milliner at Lasdusky’s store, Eighth avenue, has returned from the east where she was inspecting fall styles. While away Miss Moore combined business with pleasure and spent several days at Atlantic City. She was greatly benefitted by the trip and reports a very pleasant time.”
8/13/1902: Advertisement that Skirboll was quitting business.

8/13/1902: Advertisement that Skirboll was quitting business.

  • 8/13:  Skirboll printed the ad at right to announce that he was “positively going to quit business” after ten years!
  • 8/27:  “Joseph Lasdusky, proprietor of the millinery and notion store on Eighth avenue, is home after spending some time in the east purchasing goods. While away he combined business with pleasure and spent a few days at Atlantic City.”
  • 8/27:  “M. Marks, the Eighth avenue jeweler, is home from a seven weeks’ trip to Germany. Mr. Marks purchased a fine line of imported goods while absent and will have them on sale in a short time.”
  • 8/29:  “Yesterday afternoon one of the leading clothing and gents’ furnishing stores of Homestead, passed into the hands of new owners…The sale was made by M.D. Kaufmann…[who] has been in business in Homestead for the past four years and since that time his fair dealings and honesty shown to customers has made him one of the leading most respected business men of the town…it is with much regret that the people of Homestead part with him.”  Full article below.  On 9/11 a full page ad advertised that M.D. Kaufmann’s entire stock was about to be sold.
  • 10/29:  “Aron & Siegle are erecting a building on Dickson street, in which they will open a pool room.”
  • 11/12: “Miss Sarah Moore and Miss Stella Mailey, formerly with Lasdusky’s millinery store, are now located at 221 Eighth avenue, where they will be pleased to greet all their friends. Formerly Miss Reilly’s millinery store.”  Whoa — was this with the help and support of their former boss?  Or was this the ultimate betrayal?  Because as you saw above, Lasdusky sent Moore on a trip east to look at fashion, and not even two weeks prior they were both guests at his brother’s wedding… and of course, they made the break just before the critical Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping season.  Another reason why I suspect that latter is that two days later Lasdusky took out an ad to announce that the store had a new milliner, and a week-and-a-half later another ad announced that they had more business than ever. For the rest of the holiday season the they ran dueling ads.
11/14/1902: Damage control by Lasdusky in the aftermath of Moore & Mailey's departures.

11/14/1902: Damage control by Lasdusky in the aftermath of Moore & Mailey’s departures.

11/26/1902: More damage control -- we are better off without them!

11/26/1902: More Lasdusky damage control — we are better off without them!

11/26/1902: A dueling ad from Moore and Mailey.

11/26/1902: A dueling ad from Moore and Mailey, formerly with Lasdusky.

  • 11/19:  “Emanuel Mervis, a prominent clothier of the West End, is moving to Homestead, where he will embark in the same business – Braddock News”
  • 12/17:  “Mrs. Maude Heathcote, who has been milliner at Lasdusky’s during the past season, has gone to her home in Kane until the opening of the next season.”  Interestingly, she was one of the guests at the Lasdusky wedding in late October, too!

Merchant Woes

  • 1/21:  “E. Swartz of Heisel street, appeared last evening before Justice J.B. Jones and instituted suit against Andy Kovatz and John Ticosak, charing them both with false pretense. In the information, it is alleged that the defendants went to the store of the plaintiff and secured goods, saying that they would pay for them in a certain time and that they refused to either pay for the goods or give any accounting of them Constable Waler Donaldson placed the defendants under arrest and they will be given hearings this evening on the charges as made.”
  • 2/12: An explosion of gas at Herman Markowitz‘s wholesale liquor store at 206 Sixth avenue wrecked the store and injured him and his driver, Joseph Viberg. The damage amounted to about $800. (Full article in the slideshow.)
  • 4/2:  “A man tried to steal a quantity of glassware from the store of the Grinberg brothers.  After he was arrested he ran away and the policeman shot him as he was crawling under a car on the railroad track to get away.  The injuries are not serious, but they will lay him up for some time.” (Full article in slideshow near the end of this post.)  On 6/14 the paper reported that the robber escaped the hospital!
  • 4/28: On the evening of Tuesday, 4/22 — which happened to be second Seder — Homestead’s Business Men’s Association met and accused the town’s policemen of not enforcing the borough ordinances. On Saturday evening, the police retaliated by arresting 28 businessmen “for violating the ordinance against leaving wagons stand (sic) on the streets and alleys over night. [Of] the number arrested…none of them were in attendance at the meeting when the police force were hauled over the coals.” Those arrested included T. Glick, grocer, Max Markovitz, and A. Hepps.  The following day the paper followed up on the hearing for the first four men, and predicted the remainder would likewise receive fines of $3-5.  “The arrest of the merchants created a great deal of discussion and the police were upheld in their action on every side, even those under arrest, admitting they deserved it.  But every one expects the police to continue the good work and enforce all ordinances hereafter.”  The paper recognized the officers acted “solely with a desire to get even with the members of the Business Men’s Association for the roasting they received at their hands last week” and hoped they would enforce all the other ordinances, like “the dog ordinance, awning ordinance, building ordinance, waste paper ordinance and other ordinances that have been a dead letter for a long time.”  Weirdly, the paper reported on 5/14, after the business men’s next meeting, that they “passed a resolution endorsing the actions of the police in their wholesale arrest of merchants for violating a borough ordinance…the police were upheld in their actions even by those present who had been among their victims, the latter stating they had no kick coming as they had been guilty of violating the ordinance, but all present insisted that the police should enforce all ordinances in the same manner.  The resolution was unanimously passed.”  The following day the newspaper jokingly? seriously? proposed the head of the group to fill the vacancy for the town’s ordinance officer!  (The 1902 city directory, published mid-year, listed all of the members of the Business Men’s Association.  They included Philip Cohen, Morris Frankle, Adolph Heeps, Bernard Heeps, Joseph Lasdusky, and Henry Moskovitz (sic most).)
  • 5/8:  “Officer J.P. Jones arrested Herman Markowitz for violating a borough ordinance.  He was charged with leaving barrels and boxes standing on the sidewalk.  Burgess Miller fined him $1 and costs.”
  • 5/29:  “Midnight marauders paid a visit to the shoe store of Wolk, on Eighth ave, at an early hour this morning and made quite a haul, taking a large amount of shoes…the store was tossed up in great style and only the shelves which the fine shoes occupied were torn up.”  The full story is in the slideshow below.
  • 6/9:  “M. Devai, the Dickson street jeweler has made information before Justice of the Peace George W. Giles against J. Preschek for larceny by bailee.  Devai avers he gave the defendant a gold watch which he refuses to pay for or return.  A hearing will be held in the case today.”
  • 7/7:  “Last night fire was discovered in the store of Harry Pollack, at the corner of Fifth avenue and Dickson Street. The alarm was sent in and the department responded immediately. The flames were put out without any damage.”
  • 7/18:  Samuel Cohen, a harness maker, accepted a bogus check with a fake signature.  (Full story in the slideshow below.)
  • 7/24: “Some time ago the burgess issued orders to the police to arrest all people who were found dumping garbage in the park. Max Markowitz was hauled in, but his hearing was postponed until this evening.”
  • 8/2: Now I. Grossman was too clever to become another victim of a forged check.  (Full story in the slideshow below.)
  • 11/6:  “Two gold watches, each valued at about $75 were stolen from Segelman’s jewelry store” when “David Segelman, who looks after the store, was called to town on business and left his mother in charge of the store.” Read how the robber took advantage of her in the slideshow below.
  • 11/28:  Last night burglars entered the china and novelty store run by Grinberg Bros. and $5 in cash and some valuable china pieces and silver were carried away.  Mr. Grinberg placed his loss at over $100.  More details in the article in the slideshow below.
  • 12/1:  This time a man didn’t pay for coats from Philip Cohn, and when Cohn discovered he was preparing to return to “the Old Country,” he took him to court.  The full article with the dramatic conclusion of how they caught the man just before he boarded a train to NY is in the slideshow.
  • 12/6:  “Morris Bichler and Frank Harmer, drivers for Max Markowitz, had a misunderstanding last evening when they took their teams to the stable for the night and the result was that they mixed it up. Bichler appeared at the office of Justice Jones this morning and entered suit against Harmer charging him with assault and battery. The arrest was made by Constabel Walter Donaldson and the defendant wll be given a hearing this evening.”
  • 12/27:  AT 4 AM a fire struck a new building on Dickson street occupied by H. Arons‘ gents’ furnishing and clothing store.  The stock of Mr. Arons was worth $4,000 with only $1,800 insurance.  (Full article in the slideshow below.)

Personal Woes

  • 2/3: A fierce fire took place on Heisel street this morning. It destroyed Max Markowitz‘s bakery valued a $5,000, three houses valued at $5,000 and his household goods. Morris Frankle‘s residence was damaged by fire and water to the extent of about $100. His household goods were also considerably damaged (and recall that last year he suffered a fire in his store room). Numerous tenants of the Markowitz houses were affected, too. The total amount of insurance on the buildings and contents will amount to about $8,000.  (The full article is in the slideshow towards the end.)
  • 2/15:  “While temporarily insane Herminie Devai, wife of Morris Devai (ed: usually Devay), a watchmaker, of 537 (ed: headline says 527) Heisel street, shot herself in the forehead with a 33 calibre revolver…was 36 years of age and has been a resident of Homestad for some time.  Her husband has been conducting a jewelry store in the lower part of the Frankle building at Heisel street and the P.V. & C. railroad and the family have been making their residence in the rooms above the store.  A daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Devai has been making her home in New York city for a number of years.  A few weeks ago word was received from New York saying she was ill and that her chances for recovery were very slim.”  The full article, in the slideshow below, explained that Mrs. Devai’s sorrow was so great that she killed herself.
  • 3/17:  “Abe, the three year old son of Max Markowitz, of Heisel street, is seriously ill.”
  • 3/28:  “Morris Lasdusky was arrested this morning by Officer Calvin for violating a borough ordinance. He was fined $2 and costs by Burgess Miller.”  (Is this Joseph’s youngest brother, Max?  What did he do?!)
  • 5/8:  “Officer Cush found Joe Markowitz on Eighth avenue last night lying on the sidewalk.  He got give days to jail at the hearing.”  Is this man a relation of our other Markowitzes?  I cannot place him.
  • 5/13:  “Morris Fogle, a member of the borough police force, is able to about after being confined to his home for three weeks with illness.”
  • 6/17:  “A dead rat was the cause of a great deal of trouble in the Second ward yesterday and two suits grew out of it.  Mrs. Becky Epstein appeared last evening before Justice Giles and stated that yesterday Joseph Fried threw a dead rat on the pavement in front of her home on Heisel street.  She claimed to have remonstrated with him and the result of it was that he abused her.  She then sued him for disorderly conduct and a short time afterward the case was settled by Fried paying the costs.  The latter afterward went before Justice J.B. Jones and instituted suit against Mrs. Epstein, charging her with disorderly conduct and she was fined $1 and costs.”
  • 7/28: “Louis Beck the well known Heisel street butcher, was badly injured yesterday afternoon by being thrown out of his buggy. Beck was out driving and was turning the corner at Heisel street and Fifth avenue when the horse gave a sudden jerk and he went out head foremost. He alighted on the paved street and was much shaken up. Beck suffered a great deal of pain from his injuries and was removed to his home and Dr. E.P. Cuthbert was summoned. It was found the man was suffering with badly concused head and shoulders and he was bruised about the body. Today Beck is getting along very nicely but is suffering a great deal of pain from the injuries received.”
  • 9/2:  “Charles Cohen, son of Philip Cohen, the well known merchant of Eighth avenue, is ill at the West Penn hospital. Saturday he had to undergo an operation, which proved successful.”
  • On 10/28 the paper reported that Jacob Seigle, who came from Pittsburg a few months ago, first to run a grocery store on Dickson and now a clothing and gents’ furnishing store at the corner of Eighth avenue and Gold alley, allegedly “beat his children, Bessie and David in a bad manner.  Some of the neighbors of Seigle tell tales of extreme cruelty to the children at the hands of the father.  According to the stories the last offense was committed on Sunday afternoon when Seigle took the children and beat them in a bad manner. It is said several of the neighbors interfered or the result would have been disastrous.”  The charge of cruelty was brought by the town’s Human Agent, and on 10/29 the paper reported that Seigle was convicted and fined $10.
  • 12/17:  The paper reported the death of Isaac Half, father of the Half brothers, at his home at 1125 Euclid Avenue in the East End because of “his four sons Phelix, Rudolph, Mose and Leo, all of whom are connected with the store run in this place.”  Funeral services were announced the next day.  They would take place Friday afternoon at “his late home” and would be conducted by Rabbi J. Leonard Levy, “pastor of the Eighth Street Temple” (also known at Rodef Shalom!).


  • 3/5: We saw the engagement announcement last year… and at last a date:

Date Set For The Wedding

Soloman Wolk and Miss Levy to be Married March 18.

A wedding of more than usual local interest will be solemnized at Turner hall, Forbes street, Pittsburg, at 6 o’clock on Tuesday evening, March 18, when Soloman Wolk, the well known shoe dealer, of Eighth avenue, will be united in marriage to Miss Fannie Levy. Invitations were issued yesterday by Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Levy, of 612 Wylie avenue, Pittsburg, the parents of the bride.

The bride-elect is one of the most popular young ladies of the city and is well known to many Homesteaders. The groom has been in business here for a number of years and is quite well known and popular among a large circle of friends. After the wedding Mr. and Mrs. Wolk will leave on an Eastern trip and on their return they will go to housekeeping on Eleventh avenue.

  • 3/19:  They were married in an Orthodox Jewish ceremony with Rabbi Grafman officiating.  Jesse and Abraham, the groom’s brothers, who are employed in his store, were part of the bridal party.  The Homesteaders present were:  Morris and Leo Half, Barney Bloon (sic?), Emil Lebovitz, James Ramsay, Harry Miller, Jesse and Abraham Wolk, A.D. Slocum, James Muldowney, Morris Moss, and Mr. and Mrs. Al. Mitchell.  The article in the slideshow below has the full details of the ceremony.
  • 3/26:  “Mr. and Mrs. Solomon Wolk returned today from their honeymoon which was spent in the east. They have gone to housekeeping on Eleventh avenue.”
  • 5/7:  “Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Lasdusky celebrated a double event Tuesday, they having the usual Hebrew festivities in connection with the arrival of a young son in their home, which was followed by the dedication of their handsome new home on Ammon street.”  Rabbis present included Rabbis Ashinsky and A.M. Alter of Pittsburgh and Rabbi Mendelsohn of Homestead.  Guests included out-of-towners — William Lasdusky and Lee Galdson of Scotdale, Levi Goldson of Greensburg, Mr. and Mrs. Max Weisburg of Braddock —  and some Homesteaders, not named.  (Full article in slideshow below.)
  • 7/8:  “Joseph Lasdusky and family of Eighth avenue, are in Duquesne today attending the christening of a son of Mrs. Weissburg, nee Elliot.”
  • 9/8:  “An engagement was announced at the home of Mr and Mrs. Jacob Solomon in Pittsburg, yesterday, which will be of great interest to many Homesteaders. It is that of their daughter, Miss Ray Soloman, to Jacob Freed, a prominent merchant of Fifth avenue, Pittsburg. The date of the wedding has not yet been announced. The bride is a sister of Mrs. I.J. Goldston, of Eighth avenue, and has been a frequent visitor at her home in Homestead. Miss Solomon is well known and popular here.”
  • 10/29:  The previous evening Joseph Lasdusky‘s brother Max, who used to work in Joseph’s store but was then a wholesaler in Pittsburg, married Jennie Gorin, of Juliet street, East End.  Homesteaders present include Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Lasdusky, Mr. and Mrs. Morris Grinberg, Mr. and Mrs. I.J.Goldston, Bernhard Hepps, William Ruben, I. Grossman, Mrs. Maude G. Heathcote, Miss Stella Mailey and Miss Moore.  (Full article in the slideshow below.)


  • 1/25:  “Noah Cohn, a prominent business man, of Muskegon, Mich., accompanied by his wife, arrived in Homestead yesterday and for the next two weeks will be the guest of his brother, Phil. Cohn, the well known Eighth avenue merchant tailor.  Mr. Cohn is making a trip through the East on business.”
  • 1/27:  “I. Grossman, of Dickson street, spent yesterday as the guest of friends in McKees Rocks.”
  • 3/26:  Under the headline “Old Couple Surprised”:  “A very pleasant time was held Sunday evening at the home of Mr. and Mrs. S. Grinberg, when all their children and grand children surprised them. The couple had been out visiting and when they returned home they found their house beautifully decorated with flowers and impression (sic) of their children. The evening was most delightfully spent in games and music. A fine lunch was served which was heartily enjoyed by all who attended. Out of town guests were present from McKeesport and Pittsburg.”
  • 3/28:  “Mr. and Mrs. Sol Wolk, of Eleventh avenue, attended a crystal wedding anniversary in Greensburg last evening.”
  • 4/21:  “Mr. and Mrs. Solomon Wolk, of Eleventh avenue, were the guests of relatives in East End yesterday.”
  • 5/19:  “Mr. and Mrs. Sol Wolk, of Eleventh avenue, spent yesterday as the guests of friends in East End.”
  • 6/2:  “Mr. and Mrs. Solk Wolk and Abe Wolk, of Eleventh avenue, spent yesterday the guest of friends in Irwin.”
  • 7/15:  “Mrs. Eva Mervis and children, of Eighth avenue, left yesterday on a visit of several weeks to Atlantic City.”
  • 7/23:  “The Misses Skirboll, of Tenth avenue, left today for Cambridge Springs.”
  • 8/13:  “Emil Lebovitz, of McKee’s Ann street drug store, is home from Atlantic City where he spent a delightful vacation.”
  • 8/23: “H. Arons, the Dickson street merchant, is home from Atlantic City, where he spent ten days.”
  • 8/23:  A long article entitled, “From Cambridge Springs. An Interesting Letter Chronicling Doing of Homesteaders,” mentioned that “Mrs. Bernard Helps and child, of the Second ward, are stopping at the National.”  The article related that there were the 2,300 visitors in Cambridge Springs who came for the famous mineral water.  They enjoyed activities like dancing at the various hotels, boating, fishing, and baseball. Unfortunately this summer the weather was cold and wet.”
  • 8/27:  “Mrs. I.S. Grossman and son, Master Arthur, of Dickson street, will arrive home from Cambridge Springs tomorrow.”  8/29:  “Mrs. I.S. Grossman and son, Master Arthur, of Dickson street, are home from Cambridge Springs, where they spent a most enjoyable vacation.”
  • 10/24:  “Isaac Frankel, proprietor of the Imperial Hotel in West Pittstown, Luzerne county is the guest of his brother, Morris Frankel, of Heisel street. Mr. Frankel, while not used to the dirt and smoke, is very favorably impressed with our town and thinks it an excellent place in which to make money.”

Synagogue and Holidays

Many of the articles this year relate to the dedication of the new synagogue, so I’ve linked to where those articles are posted elsewhere on the site.

10/10/02: Even the Half Brothers furniture store, run by Reform Jews living in Pittsburg, lost out on the Saturday business.

10/10/02: Even the Half Brothers furniture store, run by Reform Jews living in Pittsburg, lost out on the Saturday business.

  • 9/30:  With RH starting in a day, the paper explained that the holiday is the anniversary of the world’s creation and detailed how the Jews of Homestead would observe the day.  On 10/1, erev RH, the paper explained the Biblical underpinnings from Leviticus and mentioned that this year there would be special prayers for President McKinley, who died a year ago on RH, as well as for the Jews in Roumania and for President Roosevelt’s speedy recovery.1  On 10/2, the first day of RH, the history of the day was traced back to Babylon.
  • 10/9, 10/10: The paper explained YK to its readers, especially since “every place of business owned and controlled by a Hebrew in Homestead will be closed…The Hebrews will this year lose quite a large amount of money in Homestead” since “the day is pay day at all of the mills.”
  • 12/26,12/29,12/31: The paper published three different articles about Chanukah (all of which are in the slideshow below). The first talked about the holiday itself. The second one talked about the Homestead Jewish community observed it. A committee composed of Joseph Lasdusky, chairman I.S. Grossman, S. Moranz, M.D. Viess and Morris Frankle. The article lists the involvement of many children, including Charles Frankle, Willie Fogle, Julius Cohn, Ralph Lasdusky, Abe Hepps, Fannie Schwartz, Rose Wise, Stella Cohn, Rose Fogle, Miss Haupt, Morris Haupt, and Myer Moranz. The candles were lit by S. Grinberg, the oldest member of the congregation. The final article printed President B. Glueck‘s address. He said, in part,

We have special ground for joy and thankfulness at this festival, because this is the first time we have had the chance to celebrate the Chanuka feast in this, our own town, without hindrance and without coercion, that we are able to live like one big family, like kinsmen, like brothers and sisters, although our cradles stood hundreds of miles apart…

Not at the Theiss in Hungary, not at the Rhine in Germany, nor at the Volga of Russia have we erected our synagogue, but at the shores of the Monongahela it stands…

We must not forget that our wealth and earthly possession we have all acquired in this great commonwealth, in this famous town, Homestead. My friends, not only in ancient times, but also recently, we have seen miracles performed. We are all aware that none of us came to this town the possessor to any extent of earthly wealth, and now, through thrift, industry and indulgence, we all have accumulated a certain amount of wealth, and all are more or less in easy circumstances. We all prosper in business, the majority of us own our own homes, and we as a congregation, also possess a mortgageless synagogue which is a miracle in itself…

Hebrew Political Club

1900 was the first time a Hebrew political club was formed in Homestead.  This year brought another round of efforts.  (Most of the articles summarized below are in the slideshow at the end of this section.)

  • 8/12:  “A meeting of the representatives of the various Hebrew political clubs in the county was held Sunday in the rooms of the Braddock Hebrew club, and arrangements were partially perfected tending toward a county organization. The permanent organization will be formed at a meeting to be held at McKeesport on August 31.”
  • 8/23:  “A mass meeting of the Hebrew political clubs of Allegheny county will be held at McKeesport tomorrow for the purpose of endorsing candidates for state and county offices. A large number of delegates from Homestead and vicinity are expected to attend. Samuel Firestone, president of the county organization, says the Hebrews in every district in the county have organized and that they will work particularly for the re-election of Judge Josiah Cohen.”
  • 9/2:  The newspaper reported on the organization of all the Hebrew political clubs in Allegheny County into the United Political club of Allegheny county.  Their first goal was “to further the interests of the straight Republican ticket in the county as much as possible.”  The third vice president was a Homestead man, B. Glick.
  • 10/20: The paper announced a meeting that evening to form a local Hebrew political club. “There are about 85 Hebrew voters in town and this cuts quite a figure when all are thrown one way, as they probably will be.”
  • 10/21: After the meeting, the paper announced the name of the group, “The Homestead Hebrew Political club,” Forty-two men enrolled. The new officers were President Joseph Lasdusky, Secretary David Skirboll, and Treasurer Henry Moskowitz.
  • 10/27: Another meeting of the Homestead Hebrew club took place. Ten more men joined. They decided not to vote en mass. A committee of Bernard Hepps, chairman Morris Frankel, President Lasdusky, I.S. Grossman, and Harry Pollack looked for permanent quarters.
  • 11/1, 11/3: The next meeting of “the Homestead Hebrew club,” hereafter “a social as well as a political organization,” was covered, too, which took place the day before an election. They announced that they had rented the upstairs of L. Glueck‘s store room at 311 Eighth ave and focused on getting out the vote the next day.  “The executive committee — President Lasdusky, Bernhard Hepps, Morris Frankel, I.S. Grossman, and David Skirboll — “was appointed to see about the fitting up of the place.”
  • 12/29:  “The Hebrew Republican club will hold a meeting this evening in their regular meeting place.”


These three text advertisements are the first concrete mentions of a fascinating figure whose role in the religious life of the whole Pittsburgh region, not just Homestead, would only grow.  I can’t help but wonder if this Maurice Ruben is the same as the Reuben Solomon we briefly encountered in 1896, as Maurice Reuben had been a director of a store called Solomon and Reuben and was deemed insane quite as Reuben Solomon was (source).  If these men are the same, six years later Ruben has come a long way.

Though the name of his organization suggests a particular focus on converting Jews to Christians, it does not appear that his efforts in Homestead were specifically aimed at the Jews — yet.

  • 5/9: “Maurice Ruben, Supt. House of the new Covenant Mission to the Jews, 43 Congress St., Pittsburg, will deliver a discourse at the Alliance mission, 339 Sixth avenue, Homestead, on the Passover, Friday evening, May 9th, at 7:30 o’clock. Do not miss this opportunity to hear an instructive, evangelical talk by a man who has had a wonderful experience. All welcome and seats free. Come. ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.'”
  • 5/10: “Maurice Ruben, the superintendent of the House of the new Covenant Mission to the Jews, of Pittsburg, delivered an interesting discourse on the Passover last evening at the Alliance Mission, 339 Sixth avenue, illustrated by the table and emblems of this feast. He will also be present tomorrow evening and will talk on the pre-millenial coming of the Lord Jesus. All are invited to come. Seats free. ‘And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.’ St. John 14:3″
  • 8/13:  Reuben was supposed to have spoken at the corner of Eighth avenue and Dickson street (right in the heart of the blocks of Jewish merchants), but he arrived too late.
  • 10/16:  “Maurice Reuben, superintendent of the new Covenant Mission to the Jews, of Pittsburg, will speak at the Alliance Mission, 339 Sixth avenue, Homestead on Friday evening at 9:30 o’clock. All welcome.”

Also of Interest

  • 5/17: The paper announced that “the Hebrew congregation of Agudat Achim, or United Brothers” in Braddock would lay its cornerstone the next day. Rabbis Ziwitz and Fried of Pittsburg would officiate.  On 9/9 the paper reported that work was nearly completed at a cost of $16,000  on a $4,000 lot (so, more expensive than Homestead, although they hadn’t finished raising the money at the time the synagogue was completed).  The congregation was organized 8 years prior (so the same time as Homestead) with 20 members (vs. Homestead’s 18) and then had 75 members (vs. mid-40s).  Its brick synagogue (vs. Homestead’s frame building) seated 400 (vs. 200).  There was also a swimming pool in the basement!  Rev. Jacob Basil led the dedication on 9/21, which included addresses by Pittsburgh Rabbis Sivitz and M. Fried, as well as Judge Josiah Cohen.
  • 8/8:  “In Russia every creed is tolerated. Those who are by birth Catholics, Jews, Methodists or Mohammedans are at liberty to worship in their own way; but, if an orthodox Russian changes his religion he is liable to imprisonment and exile to Siberia,” began an article about a peasant so banished for converting another peasant to “‘Stundism,’ a protestant sectarian belief.”
  • 8/12: The Homestead paper quotes the Jewish World regarding the 115 Jewish millionaires of the US’s 4,000 total.  “The number of occupations at which the Jewish millionaires have managed to earn their millions runs form banking to pork packing; from realty to dry-goods; from distillery to cotton.”
  • 9/19:  The Homestead paper quoted the London Chronicle in examining “Is Jewish exclusiveness becoming a legend rather than  reality?”  Various statistics were present, summarize that out of 781 Jewish marriages in New South Wales, “341 were more or less ‘mixed.'”


During this year, ads appeared in the paper for the following Jewish businessmen:

  • Half Bros.
  • Segelman
  • Cohn
  • Lasdusky
  • Skirboll’s Shoe House
  • Grinberg
  • Wolk’s
  • Max Mervis (in Braddock)
  • M.D. Kaufmann
  • Samuel Cohen
  • M. Marks

  1. In 1902 the persecution of the Jews in Romania led to a great exodus.  On 9/17, the US protested the anti-Semitism in Romania. I can’t seem to find anything more specific about what was going on, though it might be related to Romania’s very slow progress in granting its Jews full rights, and whatever was going on upset at least a couple leading American Jews, who wrote to the president about it (SchiffStraus). As for Roosevelt’s health, on 9/24 some thought he was dying from injuries sustained in an accident in early Sep. 1902 when a trolley hit his carriage (though his Secret Service officer died).  

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