Jews in the News, 1903



Real estate and landlording
Business doings
Liquor licenses
Merchant woes
Personal troubles
Synagogue and Holidays
Also of interest
Disorderly houses


1/8/1903: Morris Frankel's political ad, with his three competitors' directly below his.

1/8/1903: Morris Frankel‘s political ad, with his three competitors’ directly below his.

  • 1/9:  The town Republicans held a meeting the previous evening to put forth their slate of candidates.  As expected from developments in late 1902Morris Frankel was listed as one of four candidates for the Second Ward council seat.
  • 1/14:  In an article reviewing the competitive Republican primaries  “In the second ward, Morris Frankel seems to have the best of the four-cornered fight for council, he having the united support of the Hebrews and some of the best element of the Republican ward workers.  D.W. Cush is his closest opponent, while John Span is also developing much strength among the Slavs.  Paul Wasilefski is not considered in the race.”  Although there weren’t any more mentions of the new Hebrew Political Club in the paper, I’d have to assume they were working to support one of their own, except election day was on Shabbat!
  • On 1/16 the paper considered all the races too tight to call.  On Monday 1/19 — waiting an extra day for the Christian Sabbath to pass — the paper reported:  “The Republican primaries Saturday was a record breaker in the matter of surprises…In the Second ward, D.W. Cush won out over Morris Frankel, his nearest opponent by 9 votes.”  Though the Republican won all of borough elections on 2/17, they lost control of council, as Cush was one of a number of Republican candidates beaten by a coalition between Democrats and local upstart, the Citizens’ party.  This is only Frankel’s first attempt at a political career.  Stay tuned for more!
  • 1/27:  Though a number of Jewish residents were members of Homestead’s businessmen club and presumably attended the annual banquet, what did they eat when the repast included Blue Point oysters, turkey and beef, chicken croquets, and sliced ham?
  • 2/3:  The committee for the high school alumni’s annual midwinter dance on 2/19 included Rose Skirboll.
  • 4/2:  Tiger A.C. defeated the Third ave. Stars 13-3, both baseball teams of eleven year-olds.  Segelman was the catcher for the winning team.
  • 4/9:  Another win for the Tiger A.C., this time against the Second ward stars.  “The batteries of the game were Posey and Segelman for the Tigers.. and McLaughlin and Holleran for the Second warders.”
  • 6/24:  The All-Americans won their latest baseball game 12-5. Segelman played shortstop.
  • 7/14:  The Homestead Saving Bank and Trust Co., one of Homestead’s newer banks, printed the list of its recently-elected officers and directors, one of whom was I.S. Grossman!
  • 8/19:  The German-American Alliance threw a picnic with donated prizes, two of which came from Jewish stores — a picture from the Half Bros. and a watch fob from Lasdusky.
  • 9/15:  A committee appointed to collect money to purchase equipment for the Second ward fire company received donations from Morris Frankel for 10.00 (the highest amount donated), Bernard Hepps for 5.00 (the median amount), and Harry Pollock for 3.00.  On 10/7 a longer list mentioned many more:  Lewis Beck 5.00, Adolph Hepps 5.00, N. Eskovitz 2.00, Jos. Fried 2.00, M.D. Weis 2.00, I. Samuels 1.00, Mark Fischel 1.00, Morris Fogel 1.00, R. Schermer 1.00, S. Sabel 1.00, Sam Mervis 1.00, I.S. Grossman 1.00, I. Grossman 1.00, A. Marcus 1.00, M. Viess 1.00, Henry Moskowitz 1.00, S. Pruger .25.
  • 9/30:  An unnamed Jewish Homesteader was taken for a robber by a deranged man posing as a detective.  The strange incident is described at length in the article in the slideshow below.
  • 10/3:  Basketball season!  The Tigers, with a Segelman son as forward, beat the Little Five 25-4.  On 10/10 the paper reported that the Tigers won again, 16-2, over the Little Five.  Segelman was still the team’s forward.  He made “3 goals from field.”  Someone else can explain to me what that means.
  • 10/13:  The committee for a carnival being planned for the end of the month included Lasdusky.
  • 10/14:  “Maurice Ruben, the converted Jew, of Pittsburg, last evening conducted a gospel meeting on Eighth avenue.”  He was very active in 1902 and clearly continuing his activities, though with less notice by the paper.
  • 11/25:  The Tigers defeated the undefeated South Side Midgets 16-3 at the library.  Once again Segelman played forward, this time making 4 goals from the field.  The Tigers are now the undisputed champions in the 11 and 12 year old class.  This suggests that the player we’ve been reading about is Louis Segelman.
  • 11/30:  Another Tigers victory, this time 34-6 over the Columbias 34-6.  Segelman played right forward and made 5 field goals.
  • 12/5:  The Tigers beat the All-Stars 26-8.   Segelman played forward and made 7 goals from field.  “The Tigers showed fine team work and this with fine shooting won the game.”
  • 12/8:  On the same day Max Markowitz‘s liquor store was robbed (see below), three boys who stole liquor from a wholesale liquor store (and yet the article does not say which liquor store) forced his son, Morris Markowitz, to drink a pint of whiskey, which made him pass out unconscious.  Full story in the article slideshow below.


  • 1/6:  “Morris Moss, William R. Osborne, and Arthur I. Stewart, who are students at the medical college in Chicago, Ill., left for the Windy City last night to resume their studies after spending a two weeks’ vacation.”
  • 3/5:  The paper announced the Second ward school concert, which would include a violin solo by William Skirboll.  Over 800 people attended.  The review of the concert said that the“scholars made a great big hit…The first number on the program was a violin solo by William Skirboll, which was very fine.”  The program also included a pantomime, “Jesus Lover of My Soul.”  Ah, public school in 1903.
  • 5/7:  “Morris H. Moss, of Third avenue, a student at the Chicago medical college, is at his home spending his vacation.”
  • 6/2, 6/3:  Rose Skirboll was reelected a teacher in Homestead and assigned to the Fifth ward.
  • 6/6:  “M.H. Moss, the well known young medical student, leaves Monday for Donora, where he will assist Dr. I. M. Sprowls, the company surgeon of the United States Steel company.”  And then on 9/17:  “Morris Moss, of Dickson street, leaves next week for Chicago, Ill., to resume his study of medicine. Mr. Moss has spent the summer assiting Dr. Sprowls, at Donora.”
  • This year’s high school’s graduating class included a number of members of the community.  On 6/25 the paper reported on those who participated in the graduation program:

Robert Gluck rendered an oration on “The Army of the Discontented,” in which he showed that while it was the content who were happy, that it was the discontented who made a success in life, they never being satisfied with their station in life or their achievements and were always striving for something better. The young man acquitted himself most creditably and was well received…Mannie Haupt dealt with “Wireless Telegraphy” in an oration, telling of this, the latest and most marvelous discovery and what had been done along this line and the possibilities it offered. He handled his subject well, showing he had given it much thought and study. He was the last graduated on the program.

Unfortunately one of the clearest examples of anti-Semitism I’ve yet seen reported in the paper marred the big day for the Jewish graduates.  The paper reported it as the latest example of the rivalry between the juniors and the seniors, but I find it impossible to read it that simply:

Forced to Miss the Dance

A Mean Prank Played by the Class of ’04 on Three of the Graduates.

Three of the young men who graduated Wednesday evening did not get to attend the dance given in honor of their class in Steen’s hall. William Skirboll, Charles Cohn and Israel Chilcott were taken into custody by the lower classes and thereby missed the fun…

A party of boys were laying for them and when they made their appearance they were hustled down to the tracks of the Monongahela lines and put aboard a car bound for Pittsburg then forced to walk up and down Fifth avenue, Pittsburg crying the yell of the “04” class. About 1:30 in the morning the party returned to Homestead and the three boys were again forces to walk up and down Eighth avenue yelling the war cry of the boys who had them in custody…

Previous examples of the junior-senior rivalry (like when the juniors stole the senior class flag) were covered for a few days as retaliations went on, but in this case there were no follow-up articles.  Curiously, in the next day’s paper an article was cut out from the location where I would have expected to see a follow-up.  Was someone trying to cover-up his involvement, or is it just a strange coincidence? (NB, Chilcott was not Jewish, despite the name.)

In another article the paper reported on what the graduates would do next.  “Most of the boys who graduated…will attend the best colleges in the country. Charles Cohn will attend the Jefferson medical college at Philadelphia at the beginning of next term… Mannie Haupt will study civil engineering at Cornell college. Most of the other young men will attend some college of note though the state.”  (Remember, this is a period when most kids did not attend high school, so those who did — and graduated — clearly had aspirations.)

The next day all the recent graduates held a farewell to their teacher. A speech was given by Harry Skirboll, class of 1902. His brother from the class of 1900 was there, as were all the recently-graduated boys.

  • 12/19:  “Morris Moss, of Third avenue, is home from school for the holidays.”

Real estate and landlording

The real estate marked had cooled since the boom around the turn of the century, and thus this section is far shorter than it has been recently.

  • 2/28:  Hungarian tenants in one of I.S. Grossman‘s tenements hung their clothes too close to a stove to dry and they caught fire.  Fortunately the only damage to the house was to the mantle.
  • 3/6:  “Morris Grinberg has purchased the residence in which he is living at 346 Twelfth avenue, between Ann and McClure streets from Mrs. Margaret Wise, for the sum of $3,500. He intends to remodel and make it one of the finest residences in the town.”
  • 6/8:  “Morris Grienburg (sic) has purchased the dwelling of Michael Maloney on Twelfth avenue, in which he has resided for some time”  One of these two listings must be mistaken.
  • 7/15:  “The Homestead Realty company yesterday sold Harry Healey’s property on Dickson street between Third and Fourth avenues, to Adolph Hepps for $12,500, making the largest deal of the month.  The property consists of a three-story brick row, containing three store rooms and a double frame house and store room, the lot being 58×87 feet.  Mr. Hepps was offered $100 for his bargain directly after putting down his hand money.”

Business doings

  • 1/13:  “Today Wolk‘s store, on Eighth avenue, is the scene of some interesting doings.  Some time ago Mr. Wolk started giving keys away with each purchase.  Three of these were for a box which contained 20 silver dollars.  The party who opens the box gets the money and today everyone is being given a trial at it.  Tomorrow the same occurrence will take place and all having keys are requested to report at the store at once and try to open the box.”
  • 1/26:  “Saturday afternoon I.S. Grossman and Joseph Lasdusky, the well known Eighth avenue merchants, went to Pittsburg and purchased the entire stock of O’Reilley on Market street.  It was a ladies’ and gents’ furnishing store and Mr. Lasdusky will take the stock of ladies’ furnishings and millinery, while Mr. Grossman will take the other stock.”  On 1/30 the paper followed up, “Joseph Lasdusky has shown a great deal of enterprise in purchasing the entire stock of a well known Pittsburg firm, which he is selling at a remarkably low figures.  The sale of this stock opened this morning and the store has been crowded all day with shoppers, who are getting rare bargains.”
  • 2/21:  “Morris Grinberg, of Grinberg Bros., is in New York on business. He will be gone over a week and will lay in a new stock for spring.”
  • 2/27:  “Arons & Seigle, whose store was burned out some time ago will reopen tomorrow at their old stand on Dickson street and invite their many friends to be present at the opening.  They have restocked the store with a fine line of goods.”
3/12/1903: An ad for Lasdusky's new bargain basement.

3/12/1903: An ad for Lasdusky‘s new bargain basement.

  • 3/6: Lasdusky announced improvements to his Eighth avenue store in preparing for the spring opening.  Most significantly, he turned the basement, which was on the level of Seventh avenue, into an additional salesroom.  The ad at right announced the completion of the work.  On 3/31 the paper reviewed the progress of Lasdusky’s spring millinery opening, which “will continue all this week. The firm will have a large force of milliners at work constantly adding to the already large display and the ladies find more to please them every time they call… Some of the hats on display are among the finest to be found anywhere and the rapture displayed over them by some of the ladies and the compliments passed should be most gratifying to the management.”
  • 4/10:  Grinberg Bros. now “have one of the largest and best equipped stores in Homestead… The success of this firm is due solely to their hustling ability, honest dealing and courteous treatment of their customers.”  The rest of the praise is in the slideshow below.
  • 4/29:  “Emil Lebowitz, the well known young drug clerk, who has been connected with the McKee Drug Company for several years, has resigned his position and will open a store of his own at 541 Dickson street. He intends to fit it out in first class style and will carry a complete line of drugs and patent medicines.”
  • 5/12:  “Miss Bessie Sigal, who resigned her position as saleslady at Skelley’s last Friday, for the purpose of joining her father in Chicago, has changed her plans and resumed her position with Skelley’s yesterday.”
  • 6/19:  “Joseph Lasdusky has turned over his retail dry goods and millinery business in Homestead, to his wife and he will hereafter devote his time to the wholesale business…Ever since starting in business Mr. Lasdusky’s wife has been looking after the millinery department.” More details about the history of Lasdusky’s business and his future plans are in the article below.  And then on 6/22, “Joseph Lasdusky left last night for New York on business.”  And on 7/1, “Joseph Lasdusky is home from New York. Saturday he witnessed the Pittsburg-New York base ball game and rooted hard for Pittsburg to win. He says he never saw such a wild bunch of rooters as they have in New York.”
  • 6/26:  “Miss Hattie Cohn has accepted a position with the New York Baking company in the capacity of head bookkeeper with Miss Steinberg as assistant.”  (This is Max Markowitz‘s business.)
  • 6/30:  “The undersigned [Moskowitz & Markowitz, 206 Sixth Avenue] have purchase the wholesale liquor business of H. Markowitz at 206 Sixth avenue, and are now open for business…We handle the Duquesne and Home beer, also a large and choice line of whiskies, wines and liquors of all kinds.  All orders promptly delivered.”
  • 6/30:  “M. Marks, the jeweler, is moving into the McKeown building corner of Dickson street and Eighth ave. today.”
  • 7/23:  “Philip Cohn, the Eighth avenue merchant tailor, will leave Saturday night for Chicago, where he will receive instructions in cutting in the new fall styles. He will then visit a number of Michigan cities, bordering on the lakes, and spend two weeks in fishing.”  Interestingly, store ran a big sale in his absence — perhaps proof of how well in hand his wife and her clerk had the running of the store?  7/28:  “Philip Cohn, the Eighth avenue merchant tailor, left last night on a tour of the great lakes. He will be gone several weeks.”  8/13:  “Philip Cohn, the Eighth avenue tailor, has just returned from a Western trip.”
  • 8/18:  “Morris Grinberg, manager of Grinberg Bros., Eighth avenue store, has gone to New York on business.”
  • 9/22:  “Jacob Steinberg of the Steinberg real estate exchange, left yesterday on a business trip to Cleveland, where he expects to sell the state rights of Ohio for his patent cellar door.  He will be gone two weeks.”  12/4:  With the success of his cellar door patent, Steinberg left real estate to work on his new business full-time.  (Here is a link to the patent, which was issued 7/29/1902.)
  • 9/25:  An article about the millinery opening at Lasdusky‘s store mentioned the beautiful window display.
  • 10/7:  Morris Frankel, though just 37, “has decided to retire from active business and hereafter will devote the whole of his time to enjoying life…[He] is said to be one of the richest men in Homestead and his success has been entirely due to his own efforts.”  Full story below.  I’m not at all jealous.  No, not at all.
  • 10/23:  Benjamin Friedlander‘s store started a big, three-day sale, “having purchased the entire stock of dry goods, gents’ furnishing and millinery of J. Friedlander, 1322 Carson street, Southside, Pittsburg.”  He had a brother and a cousin the seller could have been.  This was probably his brother, Julius.  This kind of buy-out often happened when the other merchant’s business was failing and needed to raise money quickly to cover its debts.
  • 11/6:  A list of local merchants who accept trading stamps (a sort of early loyalty program) un-earthed many stores and proprietors not otherwise represented in the paper:  “Max Ph. Schoenfield Clothing, 228 E Eighth avenue; S. Wolk Shoes, 313 E Eighth avenue; A. Marcus Clothing, 621 E. Eighth Avenue; M. Marks, Jewelry, E 8th Ave and Dickson St; R. Jacobson, Grocer, 530 Dickson Street; Max Gross, Meats, 616 Heisel Street; M. Silver, grocer, 545 Fifth Avenue; Schwartz Bros. Clothing, 222 Sixth Avenue; H. Gluck, Grocer, 491 W 8th Ave, West Homestead; M. Fischel, Jewelry 311 Dickson Street; E. Klein Dry Goods, 313 Dickson Street; Lewis Beck, meats, 455 Third Avenue; J. Fried, Grocer, 524 Heisel Street; H. Pollock, Confectionery, Cor. 5th Ave. & Dickson St.”

Liquor licenses

The list of retail applicants included just two members of the community — Bernard Hepps, 404 Dickson street, and Reuben Schermer, 448-450 Third Ave (2/21).  Hepps had lost his license last year, but regained it by buying one off someone else.  Schermer had lost last year as well.  The one man who did succeed in getting a license, Moranz, did not apply this year.

License court opened 3/16 with 2059 total applicants — 1,593 for retail and 566 for wholesale.  The Anti-Saloon League and other filed more than 500 remonstrances — including one against every applicant in West Homestead.  By mid-March, Homestead saloonkeepers were dreading the ordeal of license court, not only because Pittsburgh’s top hotelkeepers had just received rough treatment at the hands of the judges, but also because a detective hired to gather information against saloonkeepers had recently spent a lot of time in Homestead (3/19).  Nevertheless, “all the old applicants in the Second ward got off comparatively easy, and few of the new ones met with much encouragement” (3/30).  Overall, “the Homestead applicants got through with little trouble…The general opinion of those who attended the hearings is that Homestead will not receive many additional saloons” (3/31).

In mid-April the retail results were announced:  Hepps was approved, and Schermer was refused (4/14).   A total of fifty licenses were granted to Homestead, including 22 in the Second ward, where Hepps’ saloon was (5/1).

Merchant woes

  • 1/16:  “N. Schwartz, the Eighth avenue merchant, had a long chase after a thief yesterday afternoon but the fellow succeeded in getting away from him.  The fellow came into the store to buy an overcoat and placed the garment under his arm and started to run.  Mr. Schwartz gave chase and finally got the coat from him but the fellow ran down Dickson street to the railroad where he boarded a freight train and got away.”
  • 2/2:  “Shoplifters were at work at Lasdusky‘s millinery store, Eighth avenue, on Saturday evening, and as a result of their operations, a hat and set of furs are missing from the store.  Mr. Lasdusky, the proprietor of the store, noticed one party standing around and acting in a suspicious manner and afterward missed the articles.  At the time the store was crowded, a special sale going on, and the proprietor could do nothing to capture the thief.  He knows who took the articles however and if they are not returned, suits will follow.”
  • 2/14:  “Last evening when I.S. Grossman, the Eighth avenue clothier, started to take his display of stock from the street into his store, he noticed that two boxes, each containing a dozen of shirts, were missing.”  (Full story in the slideshow below.)
  • 3/24:  “Herman Schoenfield, the well known clothier of Eighth avenue, has sued O.R. Steele for false pretense.”  The man made a $7.50 downpayment on a $20 coat and said he would pay the rest the next day if his wife liked it, or he’d return it for a refund.  Instead he skipped town — and stayed away so long that his wife also sued him for desertion and non-support.
  • 6/18:  “Louis Glick, the Dickson street butcher…alleges that last week the defendant the case [Mary Geiger], who was a collector at one time for the prosecutor, collected $68 which he alleges was gathered under false pretences. She was arrested…when she was about to depart for New York City.”
  • 7/20:  The previous day, Max Mervis‘ barber shop was robbed of 3,500 cigars and cigarettes worth over $100, as well as a safety razor.  The robbers also broke a $25 violin.  They broke into the back of the store and were screened by a curtain from the front of the store.  Four boys ranging in age from 9-14 were caught the next day, and they confessed to the crime.  Two of the boys even admitted they had been stealing from the fruit stores in Homestead for years, and seemed proud that people knew what they had done.
  • 8/12:  Throughout the summer there had been an escalating war between the Sabbath crusaders and various businessmen, ranging from the operators of Kennywood Park to the steel mill management.  Mid-August they went after various “druggists and merchants of [Homestead], charging them with violating the Blue Laws, by selling goods on Sunday last.”  The 13 defendants included “Emil Leboitz, druggists (sic?), 541 Dickson street, charged with selling tooth brush.”  Yup, that was his crime.  Selling a toothbrush on Sunday.  Almost like selling margarine colored yellow.  Oh, wait…
  • 8/18:  A fourteen year-old boy was charged by Pauline Fishel of stealing a watch and three revolvers from her jewelry store while she was in the back room.
  • 10/2:  The day after Yom Kippur Lasdusky‘s store was robbed, along with another clothier’s.  Full article below.
  • 10/15:  Louis Glick, a “store keeper of Heisel street” accessed Steven Birdka of “buying goods from his store under false pretense, claiming he owned property in the Second ward and was not as yet in a position to pay the money for the goods received.  It is claimed the defendant refused to pay the bill and when Glick looked the matter up, he found the man did not own the property which he claimed.”
  • 11/18:  A man who was employed as shoe polisher at Wolk‘s shoe store was found guilty of stealing shoes to give them to a lady friend in Braddock.
  • 12/8:  The previous evening the wholesale liquor store of Moskowitz & Markowitz, at 206 Sixth avenue, was burglarized.  The front window was smashed and the most expensive liquor in the store was stolen.  It seems quite likely that these robbers were the ones who forced Morris Markowitz to drink until he passed out.
  • 12/14: My great-grandfather Bernhard Hepps‘ hotel was burglarized early Saturday morning.  A watch and clothes were stolen.
  • 12/15:  The almost-completed Frankel building at 503 Fifth avenue was badly damaged by a gas explosion.  Full article below.

Personal troubles

  • 1/26:  “Max Schoenfield, the well known clothier, of this place, was seriously injured in a rear-end collision of two cars on the Monongahela division of the Pittsburg Street Railway in Braddock at 11 o’clock last night, in which both cars were badly damaged and three others were more or less injured.”  He was “in the front of the car,” “received a hard blow on the head which rendered him unconscious,” and is now “suffering from concussion of the brain and hurt internally.”  On 2/23 the paper wrote that he “entered suit against the Pittsburg Street Railways company for $20,000 damages for personal injuries received.”  This article explains that he was “so badly injured that his life was despaired of for a time, and he is still suffering from his injuries to such an extent that he is unable to attend to his business duties.”  The paper, alas, did not print the result of his case.  Both articles are reprinted below.
  • 1/31: “Samuel Segelman, aged 16 years and 7 months, died last evening at his home, 231 Eighth avenue after a long illness with dropsy.  He was the son of Mrs. C. Segelman, the jeweler, and was quite popular with a large circle of friends.  The funeral will be held tomorrow morning at 9 o’clock from the residence of the boy’s mother.  The interment will be made in the Jewish cemetery at Homeville.”  It is especially tragic to consider that Mrs. Segelman was widowed in 1894 and raised her six children on her own.
  • 2/6:  “Samuel Moranz, of Eighth avenue, who conducts a feed store on Braddock avenue, Braddck, has entered suit…against Conductor No. 935, of the Monongahela street railway,” who “came up and grabbed him by the shoulder” and “dealt him a blow on the head” when he asked him to stop.  (Full article below.)
  • 2/14:  “Miss Bessie Seigel, of Dickson, street, one of the popular salesladies at the Skeley Dry Goods company’s store, is confined to her room with illness.”
  • 2/27:  “Mrs. Max Markowitz, of Heisel street, met with a severe injury while in Pittsburg yesterday morning.  She was going along the street when she slipped and fell on the slippery pavement.  The result was that her arm was fractured.  Mrs. Markowitz came to Homestead and the fracture was reduced by Dr. P.J. Oeffner.  Today she is getting along very nicely.”
  • 3/9:  “Solomon Kline, father-in-law of H. Moskowitz, of this place, died in the West Penn hospital, yesterday and was buried this morning. He was 56 years of age and is survived by four daughters.”  (This is confusing.  Hannah Moss’ death certificate says her father’s name was named Daniel Ackerman.)
  • 1/31/1903: Ad for new merchant tailor David J. Rosenthal

    1/31/1903: Ad for new merchant tailor David J. Rosenthal

    3/24:  Louis and Samuel Rosenthal, teenaged sons of David J. Rosenthal, ran away from home.  Having moved to Homestead recently from New York City, they were “discontented.  The glamour and the maze of the metropolis which has turned the brains of many older people was not to be found here and this was the one great annoyance of Samuels life.”  The boys were intercepted in the train station in Washington, D.C.  Full article below.

  • 4/2:  A man sued S. Samuels because, when he told his friend not to buy a suit from Samuels, Samuels “grabbed [him] and taking him to the door, strick (sic) him, knocking him out in the the street, and then, it is said, he followed him out and struck him again.”  All the sorry details in the slideshow below.
  • 5/28:  “While driving through West Homestead this morning, Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Klein got into an argument and Mrs. Klein gave her husband a shove, knocking him off the wagon.  The husband then picked up a brick and threw it at his wife, striking her in the side.  Officer McDermott being close by, placed Mr. Klein under arrest.  He will be given a hearing before Burgess Sweadner this evening.”
  • 6/26:  “Miss Bessie Siegle of Dickson street, met with a painful accident this morning at her home. She was handling a butcher knife when the instrument slipped and the end of her finger was nearly cut off at the first joint. She went to the Osborne drug store on Dickson street, where the flow of blood was stopped and the wound dressed.”
  • 9/17:  Matilda Cohn, the five year old daughter of Philip Cohn, was operated on a year after she had scarlet fever to restore her hearing and save her life.  (Full article below.)
  • 10/16/1903 High Holy Lawsuit!

    10/16/1903 High Holy Lawsuit!

    10/16:  The following is probably my favorite newspaper article so far:  For the High Holidays the Jews of East Pittsburgh, who were too few in number to have their own synagogue, hired Samuel Pearlstein, a member of the Homestead community, to lead services for them.  They did not feel he did a good job, so they found a second man to take his place.  How this did or did not alter the original agreement with Pearlstein turned into a lawsuit.  The full article is in the slideshow below, but the headlines at right are just… phenomenal.

  • 10/19:   I don’t understand what happened here; do you?  “N. Schwartz, the Eighth avenue clothier…claims he was in Pittsburg yesterday and that he went to his father’s home… He says his father was not there, but…Lappin, who rooms at the place, was present.  The two were talking and a real estate dealer came into the house and asked for Schwartz, St.  The proprietor of the house was not present and the real estate man said he had a lot he wanted to sell.  The prosecutor says Lappin offered to buy the property and he was told he had no money. Schwartz claims Lappin got mad and beat him.”
  • 11/25:  M. Marks’ aged mother died in Obenfield, Germany. He had visited her a year ago after an absence of 16 years.
  • 12/1:  “Harry Haupt, a well known Dickson street citizen, is lying very low with pneumonia at the West Penn hospital. He has been confined to the institution for two weeks.”
  • 12/5:  The daughters of Mr. and Mrs. B. Friedlander were bitten by rats while they were sleeping.  The full article with all the disgusting details is in the slideshow below, if you can bear it.


  • 2/23:  The previous day the Lasduskys celebrated their tenth anniversary with 50 of their friends from towns around Pittsburgh.  Prof. Rosen played the violin.  (Article in slideshow.)
  • 3/21:  Front page news on this day was a reunion of the Grinberg family at Morris Grinberg‘s new house on Twelfth avenue.  It was “the first time for over 25 years that all of the family has gotten together at one time…there had arrived about 15 couples, some of whom came from New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, and some from Montreal, Canada.”  (The full story is in the slideshow below.)
  • On 2/3 the paper noted:  “Miss Henning, of Nashville, Tenn., is spending a few days at the home of Mrs. Joseph Lasdusky, Ammon street.”  Somewhere we got from that visit to a large engagement party for her and a prominent business man of Allegheny on 5/4!  Four rabbis, two orchestras, one piano soloist, and guests from Nashville and the Pittsburgh region all gathered in the Lasdusky home.  Homesteaders included Mr. and Mrs. H. Haupt, Miss Belle Haupt, Miss Gluck and the Grinberg family, Myers Grinberg of McKees Rocks, and Mr. and Mrs. Sol Wolk.  (Full story in the slideshow below.  Intriguingly, her fiancé, Louis Broudy, was the sister of Meyer Grinberg’s future wife, Tiby Broudy.  Is this where they met?  They married in September of this same year!)
  • 5/7:  “Mrs. Henning and her daughter, who have been visiting at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Lasdusky, left today for their home in Nashville, Tenn., where Miss Henning is to be married in six weeks.”
  • 6/26:  “Arrived to Mr. and Mrs. Harry Arons, of Dickson street, a baby boy. Mother and child are doing well.”
  • 8/20:  OMG OMG it’s a Bar Mitzvah in the Homestead newspaper!  “Mr. and Mrs. Morris Frankle, of 505 Fifth avenue, have issued invitations for the confirmation of their son, Charles, at the Rodef Sholem, Ammon street, on Sunday, August 30. The confirmation services will be followed by a reception at the home of the parents.”  And no joke, on 9/2 they reprinted his Bar Mitzvah speech in full!  (You can read it in the slideshow below.)
  • 9/11:  The previous evening Meyer Grinberg of Grinberg Bros., “who have store located on Eighth avenue, Homestead, and McKees Rocks” married Tillie M. Broudy of Oakland, in Turner Hall on Forbes St. in Pittsburgh.  The article, linked below, describes the ceremony and names the many members of the wedding party.
  • 10/28:  Harry Glick, a Homestead resident working as a salesman in a Pittsburgh clothing store, and Ida Weinfield, a niece of Mr. and Mrs. Morris Frankel, were married in the Homestead synagogue, after which 200 guests dined and danced at the Frankel house.
  • 10/28:  Miss Ida Kamins (formerly Kaminsky) married William Friedland, of McKeesport.  See below for the full article.
  • 11/10:  “Sol Wolk, the Eighth avenue shoe man, has ordered the nicest, cutest little pair of shoes that he could find anywhere and will have them in stock for a time for use of a member of his own family. The footwear is for a little girl and the new daughter who arrived at the Wolk home Sunday will wear them when she gets big enough. Mrs. Wolk is tickled and has been in the best of humor ever since the advent of the stranger into his home.”
  • 12/1:  My great-grandfather’s brother Alexander Hepps married Celia Klein, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Klein, in the Homestead shul.  The reception was held at her parents’ house at 313 Dickson. Attendants included Louis D. Moskowitz, Max Schwartz, Joseph Moskowitz, Fannie Hepps, Rose Klein, and Esther Moskowitz.  Sponsors were Bernhard Hepps and Henry Moskowitz.  Morris Markowitz was master of ceremonies.  Full article below includes the strange color of dress the bridesmaids wore.


  • 2/23:  “William Lasdusky, of Scottdale, is spending a few days with his brother, Joseph, of Ammon street. Lewis Lasdusky, also of Scottdale, visited here yesterday.”
  • 2/26:  “Mrs. Morris Frankel is visiting among relatives in Scranton and Wilkesbarre.   Before returning home she will visit New York City. Her husband expects to join her next week and accompany her home.”
  • 3/10:  “David Skirboll will leave for Sharon this evening, where he will open a stationary store. His brother, Joe, is located in Sharon and is doing a nice business.”  But his timing is confounding, because:
  • 3/17:  “Joseph Skirboll, of South Sharon, is visiting his parents in West Homestead.”
  • 4/27:  “Phil Cohn, the Eighth avenue merchant tailor is in New York, where his mother is seriously ill.”
  • 5/6:  “Phil Cohn arrived home from New York last evening, where he went to visit his mother, who is seriously ill.”
  • 5/15:  “Miss Sarah Steinberg, of Homestead, visited friends in Duquesne yesterday—McKeesport News.”
  • 5/28:  “Morris Frankel arrived home from Cambridge Springs this morning, where he spent the past week recuperating.”
  • 6/16:  “Israel Wolk arrived in Homestead yesterday from Europe, and will spend the next two or three months with his sons in this place. He is a retired business man and he is much pleased with this country.”
  • 7/6:  “Jesse Wolk, of Eighth avenue, spent the Fourth with friends in Brownsville.”
  • 7/13:  “Robert Glueck, of Eighth avenue, left last night for a three weeks’ vacation at Mt. Clemens, Mich.”  He graduated from high school at the end of June.
  • 7/20:  “Morris Grinberg, of Grinberg bros. department store on Eighth avenue, left Saturday for Cambridge Springs, where he will spend a week or two recuperating.”
  • 7/27:  “Miss Bessie Seigel, of Dickson street, left for Chicago this morning, where she will spend two weeks with her parents.”
  • 8/4:  “Samuel Markowitz and two sons went to Cambridge Springs today over the Pittsburg and Lake Erie railroad.”  On 8/15 the paper noted that there was then “a large Homestead colony at Cambridge Springs.”
  • 8/15:  “Miss Ruth Grossman, of New York City, is visiting at the home of her brother, I.S. Grossman, of Dickson street.”  This must be a mistake — Ruth was I.S.’ young daughter.  I suspect they meant his sister Blanche, esp. because: 8/24:  “The home of Mr.and Mrs. I.S. Grossman, on Dickson street, was the scene of a most enjoyable whist part in honor of Blanche Grossman, of New York, who is visiting here.  The affair was one of the most brilliant kind and all in attendance had a most enjoyable time.  The lunch which followed the cards was very nice.  Those in attendance were I. Grossman, Miss Laura Glueck, of West Homestead” and numerous other friends and family from Braddock, Duquesne, New York, and Allegheny (article in slideshow below).  The fun continued on 8/31:  “Mr. and Mrs I.S. Grossman and family, Ignatz Grossman and Miss Grossman, were in Braddock last evening calling on friends.”  The fun ended shortly after 9/10:  “Miss Blanche Grossman, of New York city, who has been spending the past several weeks as the guest of her brother, I.S. Grossman, of Dickson street, will return to her home Sunday. Miss Grossman has been given many social attentions during her stay here.”
  • 8/20:  “Mrs. Lasdusky and daughter, Miss Anna, of East End, visited yesterday at the home of Joseph Lasdusky, Ammon street…Abe Wolk, of Eleventh avenue, is home after spending a month visiting in the east. He spent most of the time in New York and Boston.”
  • 8/21:  “Adolph Hepps, of Third avenue and Dickson street, has returned home after spending a delightful two weeks vacation at Cambridge Springs.”
  • 8/28:  “Mr. and Mrs. Sol Wolk, of Eleventh avenue, are home from Cambridge Springs.”
  • 9/1:  “Israel Rosenbloom, of Braddock, was circulating among friends yesterday afternoon.”  He was a Homestead resident until some time in 1901.
  • 10/7:  “Mrs. Sol. Wolk returned home yesterday fro Brownsville, where she spent several days with relatives…David Siegle, who recently moved to Chicago, Ill., is visiting at the home of his brother, Max Siegle, of Dickson street.”
  • 10/19:  “Charles Skirboll, of Canonsburg, was here yesterday afternoon calling on friends.”
  • 11/1:  He’s back!  “Israel Rosenbloom, of Braddock, was here last evening calling on friends.”
  • 12/29:  “William Reuben and sister, Miss Yella, two well known young people of this place, will leave today for their home in New York. They have been employed at Lasdusky’s People’s store and leave behind a host of friends.”

Synagogue and Holidays

The Jewish holidays were not covered as much as in past years.  Passover wasn’t mentioned at all.  The success they had in paying off their mortgage is noted below and covered in a separate post.

  • 1/6: Will Hold Their Annual Ball
  • 1/12:  The previous evening a preliminary meeting was held at the synagogue for the organization of a Zionist society.  Joseph Lasdusky was chosen as master of ceremonies for the meeting.  The shul’s president B. Glueck spoke along with others from out of town.  (Full article in the slideshow below.)  The paper followed up on 1/19:

Zion Society Was Formed

Twenty Five Composed the Charter List.

The Homestead Zion society is the name of a new organization which was formed at a meeting of the Hebrew synagogue yesterday afternoon. The organization was effected by several delegates from Pittsburg and the membership is 23. The following officers were installed:

President–M.D. Wise.
Vice president–L. Sabel.
Secretary–A. Marcus.
Treasurer–B. Glueck.
Trustees–Joseph Lasdusky and Morris Frankel.

  • 2/9: Their Annual Ball
  • 2/10: The Ball This Evening
  • 2/11: Ball a Big Success
  • 2/14:  The Hebrew club will meet Sunday afternoon at 3 o’clock in the basement of the synagogue, Ammon street. All members are requested to attend.”  This is the Sunday before Tuesday’s election day.
  • 5/5:  “The Rudolph Schulem Hebrew congregation held a meeting Sunday and re-elected Rev. Mendellsohn (sic) by a unanimous vote.  Rev. Mendelssohn (sic) since coming to Homestead, has made many friends and all will be glad to know that he is to continue to reside here.  The congregation over which he presides is in a flourishing condition, having their new synagogue paid for.”
  • 6/1:  Here’s a holiday the Homestead paper hasn’t covered before: “‘Shabuath,’ or Feast Week.”
  • 6/15: Burnt the Mortgage
  • 8/12: “The celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the planting of the first Jewish colony, Paseth Tikrath (sic), in Palestine, is being held at Kennywood today and large crowds of Hebrews are in attendance. Societies are present from Homestead, Braddock, McKeesport, Duquesne and other places.  8/13: “Jews of Allegheny county celebrated the 25th anniversary of the founding of the first Jewish colony in Palestine by a picnic, given by the Daughters of Zion and the Tiphereth of Zion, in Kennywood park yesterday. Over 5,000 persons attended.”
  • 8/20:  “A new rabbi has been placed in charge of the Hebrew congregation, of the Rodef Shulem.  He is Rev. Freidman (sic), who comes here from Buda-Pest, Austria, Rev. Mendelssohn (sic) who has been in charge of the congregation ever since it was organized, has been assigned to the charge at Nashville, Tenn.  While here he made many friends both among the members of his congregation and outsiders and although nearly all were sorry he left they join in wishing him luck in his new location.”
  • 9/21/1903: Advertisement regarding Lasdusky's store on Rosh Hashana.

    9/21/1903: Advertisement regarding Lasdusky’s store on Rosh Hashana.

    9/21:  The newspaper alerted its readers that the next day is Rosh Hashana and the the 40 Jewish stores in town would be closed.  Advertisements showed that the Reform Half Bros. closed their store for one day, while the traditional Lasdusky closed his for two.

  • 9/30, 10/1:  A couple articles, one published on erev Yom Kippur and the other on the day of Yom Kippur, explained the holiday to readers.
  • 12/1:   “The members of the Homestead Hebrew congregation are preparing to hold their annual ball in the Fifth Avenue opera house in February.”
  • 12/31:  The Rudolph Schulem Hebrew congregation will give their annual reception in the Fifth avenue opera House Frebruary 9th.”

Also of interest

  • 1/2:  “Silvira Ida Gordon (Silvia Ada Gordon?), a young woman, entered suit in Common Please No. 3 against Adolph Rosen, a musician instructor of Pittsburg, for damages for alleged breach of promise of marriage…The plaintiff claims that the defendant promised to marry her at Chicago four years ago.  At the time, it is said, the plaintiff was sewing for a living while Rosen was endeavoring to obtain a musical education.  All these four years, the young woman says, she has worked as a seamstress constantly, and to assist the defendant she gave him what she could spare of her earning.”  Surprise — he refused to marry her after graduating.  Although not a Homesteader, Rosen was well-known for playing concerts in town.  He’d play the synagogue ball the following month!  I can’t find in the papers how the case turned out.
  • 4/6:  “A mass meeting was held yesterday afternoon in the Synagogue of Agudat Achim, Talbot avenue, Braddock, in the interest of the Universal Israelite alliance. A large audience was present. The alliance has for its prime object the education and general assistance of the poor and ignorant Jew, and looks especially to helping newly arrived, friendless Jewish immigrants.”  An earlier article mentioned that Dr. J. Leonard Levy of Rodef Shalom and Hon. Josiah Cohen, two of the leading Jews in Pittsburgh, as well as L.B. Michaelson from NYC would be speaking.
  • 4/23/1903: Charlotte E. Wagner

    4/23/1903: Charlotte E. Wagner

    4/23:  The “Old Fiddlers” contest taking place in Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh, featuring musicians from all over Western PA, included a female soloist from a synagogue!  See image at right.

  • 5/6:  “Jacob Klein, the well known banker and steamship agent of Pittsburg, Homestead and Duquesne” was building a bank/apartment building in Duquesne.  “A building similar in all respects will be erected by Mr. Klein in Homestead in the near future from plans prepared by” Harry S. Estep, architect of Pittsburg, “the cost of which will be in the neighborhood of $50,000.  The building will be four stories high and will be built on a lot 66×105 covering the entire lot.”
  • 6/10:  The Homestead paper published a very long article about the (first) Kishineff Massacre, which took place April 19-20, 1903.
  • 6/5:  Five days earlier, it had published an article that consisted mostly of quotes from Israel Zangwill reflecting on the recent massacre and the “need of Zionism.”  Zangwill concluded, “The moral of the whole wretched business is the absolute necessity for Zionism. It is not necessary for the Jews comfortably established in America, but for the great mass of our people–and half of the Jews in the world live in Russia–it is the only permanent solution of the tragic Jewish question.”  (In April the paper reported that his play, Children of the Ghetto (dramatized from this novel), was then being performed in Pittsburgh.)
  • 9/1:  It also published an article about the sixth Zionist conference, which took place at the end of August 1903.  This congress was the one during which Herzl proposed his famous Uganda program.
  • 10/3:  And the paper published a long article considering it!

Disorderly houses
For some time the paper had been reporting on “disorderly houses.”  I can’t quite make out what they were… places of gambling?  Unlicensed drinking?  Prostitution?  By this point in time the arrests were almost a weekly occurrence.  Overwhelmingly the people involved were not Jewish.  The only exceptions I’ve found so far are these below (up through mid-1907, as far as I’ve read, there aren’t any other Jewish names — yet).  To be clear, I don’t know that these people are Jewish — they don’t match up with names in the synagogue records — but it seems possible…

  • 4/16:  “An alleged disorderly house about which the police have received considerable complaint lately from the neighbors, said to be run by a man and woman named Goldberg at 223 Sixth avenue, was raided last night.”
  • 8/18:  The “constables…went to the [alleged disorderly house] about 10 o’clock. In the front of the house there is a cigar store.  The constables entered the place and the first man they arrested was Ira Rosins, who claimed Pittsburg as his home, but it is thought that he is employed in the place to run the store…The house was run by Sofia Lavine and Gussie Goodman, the women arrested….The women in the case were each fined $50 and costs.”  (It seems pretty clear from the later articles that Gussie Goodman is really Bessie Goodman.)
  • 8/26:  “The other alleged [disorderly house on Sixth avenue that was raided] run by Mrs. Bessie Goodman was pulled last night about 9.30 o’clock…They went to the house on Sixth avenue and closed it….As soon as the burgess said he would fine the proprietress she became enraged and started to ‘call’ several well known people of the borough…She jumped on the officials for arresting her three times in the past few weeks.”
  • 8/27:  “Last evening Bessie Goodman…made information against Mr. and Mrs. Goldman…on a charge of conducting a disorderly house.”
  • 8/28:  “The hearing in the case of Mrs. Bessie Goodman against Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Goldman, of Sixth avenue for conducting a disorderly house, was resumed this morning…In [Mrs. Goodman’s] statement against Goldman she said she came to Homestead several months ago and bought a cigar store from Goldman.  She said it was known to Mr. Goldman what kind of a house she was going to conduct and he gave her instructions how to have protection against the law in Homestead…She said that she had saw (sic) men going in and out of Goldman’s house all day long…Mr. Goldman..gave the statement that he was conducting a private dwelling house and that the place was above suspicion…After the hearing…Mr. Goldman gave the statement that he was going to prosecute Mrs. Goodman for false statements in the testimony…Mrs. Goldman said she was going to leave the town and not show up again.”
  • 9/1:  “Yesterday Louis Beck, of Heisel street…entered suit against Bessie Goodman, charging her with disorderly conduct. Beck was a witness in [her] case and since the trial he alleges the woman has called him bad names…The Goodman woman and M. Goldman, the Sixth avenue man, were each tried…yesterday on cross suits for disorderly conduct and they were fined $10 and costs.”
  • 9/2:  Maurice Goldman was arrested for throwing bottles on the street.
  • 9/12:  “Last night Chief Sullivan raided an alleged disorderly house run by Bessie Goodman, on Sixth avenue…The woman was fined $25 and costs…This is the third time the Goodman has been raided.”


  • Half Bros. (furniture)
  • Philip Cohn (merchant tailor)
  • Wolk (shoes)
  • Segelman (jewelry)
  • Lasdusky (furnishings, millinery)
  • Rosenthal (clothier)
  • Grinberg (department store)
  • Friedlander (clothier)
  • M. Marks (jeweler)
2/20/1903: A Poetical Glance Of...Samuel Cohen!

2/20/1903: A Poetical Glance Of…Samuel Cohen!

Not an advertisement, but on 2/20 the paper published, “A Poetical Glance Of the Prominent Business Houses in Homestead,” including “Samuel Cohen, 348 E. Eighth avenue, Homestead’s Leading Harness Manufacturer. Blankets, Bridles, and Whips. I make a speciality in a Heavy Rubber Buggy Harness, for $12. Such used for doctors and private families. Also a single Express Harness, hand made, brass mounted, for $25, complete.” That is not the poem, though! The poem is at right!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *