This year was a mixed year for news. On the one hand, there were some really juicy stories which shed rare light on the relationships between Homestead’s Jewish and non-Jewish communities. On the other, the “Local Briefs” section that used to be a reliable source of tid-btits about many in the Jewish community shrunk dramatically and only very rarely mentioned anyone from the Jewish community.
1907 was a year of major historic import in the U.S. because of the Panic of 1907. You’d hardly know it from reading the paper, though. The sequence of events leading to the Panic was scarcely covered, and after the initial crash, the paper kept insisting things really weren’t so bad, even when the crisis meant that workers couldn’t be paid in cash.
This year was also when the Pittsburgh Survey got underway. The paper would have a lot more to say about that in the coming years!
- 1/7: A horrendously anti-Semitic article signed by “A Friend of the Hebrew” addressed their allegiance in the upcoming election to a particular politician, John F. Cox. It read, in part:
…[His supporters’] only hope now is that John will be able to hoodwink the Hebrews and Slavs and march them to the polls as personal property. I think this is a pipe dream that will fail to materialize, as we must admit that the Hebrews are our most successful business men, who run their business (sic) on business principals (sic) and I fell (sic) certain that John F. Cox’s way of running the borough business will not meet with their approval. How long would the Hebrews stand it if their clerks would shut up their store (sic) and stop business for two months simply because they did not like their manager…
I will ask the Hebrews of the Second ward this question, if you were in need of space to display your goods and were to ask Mr. Cox’s council for one foot more space, would you get it? No, you would not. This is what you would get. A visit froh (sic) Cox’s ordinance officer and a fine after conviction as Sheenys. Not as my Hebrew brothers, as they terms (sic) you now and will continue to term you until after the primaries, when you will return to the ranks of of Sheeney to remain there until you are needed agin by this would-be jolliers, who have little use for you outside the polls…
- 1/12: Well, something as ridiculous as that required a response. It took them a few days, but under the signature “A Hebrew Voter,”
In a recent issue of your paper there was an article from a friend of the Hebrews. Well! who is our unknown friend? We have been given the glad hand so often that we are suspicious.
In one of the previous elections a candidate for council in the Second ward was referred to as the Sheeny’s candidate, being made in one of the popular clubs of the town. Was this remark made also by a friend of the Hebrews?
Our unknown friend starts out to enlighten us on the character of only one candidate. Are we not good enough to know something of the other candidate?
Our unknown friend remarks about favors from council. I should like to ask if he knows of any Hebrew who ever asked anything from council that he was not properly entitled to.
Our unknown friend gives credit to us with having good sense and business abilities and yet he picks our creed to teach us publicly. Why does he not go further and give us credit for knowing enough to pick out the good and the bad?
If our unknown friend’s intentions are really good why does he not sign his name so we could decide for ourselves whether he is a friend or not? Or why does he not come to us personally if he thinks that the Hebrews need enlightenment on the game of politics more than the people of other religions.
We cannot even thank our unknown friend for his self imposed friendship, who thinks he can’t take care of ourselves so as not to be hoodwinked. To us it looks too much like a game of jolly by tickling us under the chin and handing us a fruit done up in a fancy wrapper that it really looks like a shame to accept, but to take the wrapping off we find we only get the lemon.
- 5/3: Morris Fogel was still a borough police officer. He patrolled Dickson street, where he arrested a nine year-old Munhall boy riding a tricycle at 3 AM!?
- 5/14: In early May, councilman Harry Haley, the one to whom Morris Frankel lost the Republican primary in 1905, resigned from council because he received a retail liquor license. (People in the liquor business could not serve on the borough council.) In the previous evening’s session of council, “As soon as council was called to order Mr. Cox took the floor and made a motion that Morris Frankel be elected to council to fill the place of Harry A. Haley. The motion carrying and Mr. Frankel was at once sworn in and took his seat.” Finally! The poor man had been trying to get elected since late 1902.
A couple days later the ad at right began appearing in the paper. It ran through the end of May. He was turning over business to Max Glick, Lasdusky‘s new brother-in-law (see wedding write-up in the “Simchas” section below).
- 7/1: The borough council reorganized. It seemed like Frankel might be included in the majority faction, but he was not. On 7/2 the paper recorded his first act as councilman — “[voting] down a particular committee’s report along with rest of minority.” (Borough council politics depended heavily on these factions.)
- 7/22: His first big headline as councilman! “Councilman Morris Frankel is on the war path. He claims [people] are all sanctioning the violating of the fire limit ordinance in his ward and he says he will not stand for it…B. Little, a merchant doing business on Eighth avenue above Dickson street, is erecting a frame store room about 5 x 16 feet in the alley way between his and the adjoining building. This Mr. Frankel says, is a direct violating of the fire limit ordinance, which declares a frame building shall not erected on Eighth avenue…” The response from Officer Coyan, the borough’s ordinance officer, came the next day. “I don’t wonder at this as the property next door belongs to Mr. Frankel, a Hebrew, and the property on which the building is to be placed belongs to Mr. Fagan, an Irishman. It looks to me as if it was a battle between the races…Let us see how differently Mr. Frankel acted when a Hebrew violated a borough ordinance…….” What’s odd is that B. Little, who was building on Mr. Fagan’s land, was also Jewish? Anyway, this whole article, including assertions about Hebrews violating borough ordinances, is below.
- 7/30: “Officer Morris Fogle of the Homestead police force will be given a hearing this evening…on the charge of assault and battery prefered (sic) by Mike Batish. Batish claims that Officer Fogle came to his house Saturday evening, where he was having a christening, about 11 o’clock and told them to stop the festivities. He said he told the officer he had a permit and refused. He alleges that Officer Fogel him he would have to go along and struck him over the head with his mace and left the place. The next day at noon he alleges Officer Fogle came back and told him he was under arrest and had him brought before the burgess and fined.”
- 9/4: Joseph Lasdusky, on the far more functional school board, made a motion to raise the salary of principals of the borough’s grade schools to $85/mo. He also moved to increase the First Ward janitor’s salary by $15 and the other janitors by $5. This timing was bad, as the Panic of 1907 was nearing its peak.
- 9/9: Upheaval in borough council produced a new combination; the new line-up included Frankel in the eight councilmen lined up against “Cox and his gang.”
- 10/12: “Officer Morris Fogel arrested Mike Pluski, who was fighting on Eighth avenue, about 11 o’clock last night and…he had to beat him almost to insensibility before he could land him…After Burgess Rott had hear Officer Fogel’s story he said he guessed the man had been punished enough and he would let him off with the costs and the doctor’s bill, which amounted to $10. The prison said that he could not remember a thing that had happened.” Oiy.
- 1/9: The Homestead Savings Bank and Trust co. re-elected all the old directors, including Bernard Hepps, I.S. Grossman, and M. Half. 3/9: “The bank has had a phenomenal growth since its organization four years ago, everything considered, and everything points to the future being even more successful than the past.”
- 1/31: The installation of officers by the Amity conclave of the Improved Order of Heptasophs included Samuel Fogel as prelate (as he was last year, too).
- 2/7: Samuel Mendelsohn of 513 Eighth Avenue published a long letter in the paper against “ghosters” as part of a streak of anti-Pentecostal articles in the paper at that time. He described their worship practices and concluded that “the affair is undoubtedly a menace to the public at large and steps should be taken immediately to put a stop to it.” On 2/19 the “gift of tongues” people, as they were then called, defended themselves against Mendelsohn’s charges. “God’s children prefer to have God’s people take care of them,” they asserted, criticizing his knowledge of religion
- 3/2: Another fraternal order, the Magdala Lodge No. 228 Encampment of Odd Fellows, which was then being instituted in Homestead, started out with a chartered membership of 175, a new record. The article included a photograph of Joseph Lasdusky, a “member of the committee and a trustee of the encampment.”
- 3/25: Whoa, one of our boys is a professional baseball player?! “With the signing of Segelman, first base…the lineup of the Young American base ball team is completed.”
- 5/20: The Homestead Independent Juniors beat the Messenger Boys of Carnegie Steel Works 16-8 at baseball. Three of the eight players for Homestead were Markowitz (first), Hepps (third), and Fogel (middle).
- 5/23: Another team, the Blue Clippers, included Hepps (middle) and Samuels (catcher), and the Columbia Juniors included P. Samuels at first.
- 5/27: And the Heisel Street Juniors, with M. Markowitz (third). All these teams were mentioned in the coming weeks as league play proceeded.
- 6/4: The businessman’s baseball league got underway. The teams were: Pennsylvania Railroad Clerks, borough officials, grocery men, Carnegie steel clerks, plumbers, and doctors. On the P.R.R. Clerks teams was Segelman, who played first base (6/21)! I guess the idea was that the team were supposed to be comprised of employees, but there was a controversy about using ringers (7/6), so who knows. It doesn’t seem that the P.R.R. team did very well; the prizes they missed out on were chairs from Half Bros. and shoes from Wolk’s.
- 10/3: Some boys’ pony contest in the paper, which ran through mid-November, consistently named William Fogel in the running. He was tied for fourth very early on, then fell way to the back. On 11/18 when the contest ended, the paper announced that he had won a gold watch. Somehow he jumped back up at the end.
- 12/16: The Odd Fellows anniversary committee included Lasdusky, who was assigned to chair the reception committee.
- 12/20: “Dan Bieger, a Russian Jew peddler, created considerable excitement in the police station this afternoon by resisting Sergeant McCann and other officers present when they attempt to search him as is always the custom when persons are placed in the lock-up. Bieger put up a strenuous fight and yelled like a man about to be murdered. When he was floored and other officers took a hand he quieted down and allowed the search to proceed, but not without crying like a whipped child.” Were you bothered by the phrase “Russian Jew peddler?” Turns out you’re not the only one…
- 12/21: More on Dan Bieger: “The Hebrews of this place take exceptions to The Daily Messenger referring to the peddler arrested for selling without a license yesterday as a Russian Jew, they taking the grounds that there was no necessity to refer to the man being a Jew any more than if he had been a Catholic, a Methodist, or of any other religious denomination. Referring to the man as a Jew, they claim is a reflection on their religion. The report in writing the article used the term Russian Jew as a general term unthinkingly and had no thought of giving offense to any one.” Any ideas who might be able to stand up for the poor man?
- 12/21: “The hearing of Dan Bieger, a Russian arrested yesterday for peddler without a license…developed into a wordy tilt between Councilman Morris Frankel on the one side and Ordinance Officer W.E. Coyan, Sergeant William McCann and other members of the police force on the other…In this case Councilman Frankel appeared before the burgess in behalf of the peddler because it was reported that the police had abused him….Immediately upon being released [Bieger] called on Councilman Frankel to whom he explained that he had been abused by the police without cause.” The burgess ultimately decided that “Bieger received no unusual treatment” which is probably true, given that police beatings in Homestead were fairly common. After he was discharged, “A tilt then followed between Councilman Franel and Ordinance Coyan, the gist of which was rather vague.” Recall that Frankel had a fight with this Coyan in July over another ordinance issue. The full article below provides more details about what befell Bieger.
On 6/11 a big front page article announced that “public sentiment is ripe” for a public hospital in Homestead. They quoted doctors, ministers, and businessmen in support of the movement.
Councilman Morris Frankel, says: I think a hospital is badly needed here and it would be a great thing for the town. I will do all in my power for one and will donate $25, each year towards maintaining it.
Max Markowitz, the Dixon Street Baker, say (sic): Sure we need a hospital no place in the world needs one worse. Put me down for twenty-five dollars.
Max Gross, the Eighth avenue butcher, says: Why shouldn’t we have a hospital here? We are daily hauling people to the city some of whom die on the road.
I.S. Grossman, says: I am in favor of a hospital, it is quite necessary.
B. Glick, West Homestead, Department store, says: This country boasts of its progress and no doubt it is far ahead of Europe in many respects, but a community of this size in the old country that did not have a hospital would be considered a mess of heathens.
The following day the borough’s Board of Trade and Businessmen’s Association announced they would take part, and two days later the millmen said they would give a day’s pay to the hospital. More continued to come forward, but the first of Homestead’s many fraternal organizations to join up?
The paper continued to heavily solicit subscriptions and promote the organization’s meetings. On 6/26 they announced that the hospital would be started soon in temporary quarters. Amongst the people who made addresses were Mrs. Marks of the “Ladies’ Hebrew Society.” The article elaborated, “During the meeting the Ladies’ Hebrew society handed in the names of 53 members and the Hebrew lodge, IOBB, 24 members, which were accompanied by checks, and quite a number joined as individuals.”
As a result, the full list of members so far, printed on 6/29, included almost all Jews:
Homestead Lodge No. 586, I.O.B.B., Ben Friedlander, I. Grossman, Morris Grinberg, Myer Grinberg, Louis Gluck, Max Gross, B. Glucke (sic), R. Jacobson, Joe Lasdusky, Ben Little, Dr. W.H. Moss (sic), Sam Margulois (sic), I. Pruger, Henry Gluck, Manuel E. Mervis, Harry Gluck, Morris Israel, Max Isluck (sic?), Isaac Heltz (sic), Hyman Little, Israel Miller, Morris Mervis, Max Mervis, L.D. Moskovitz, Max Silver, Sam Cohen, Charles Ernstein, Sam L. Jacobs, Harry Mervis, H. Askin, Jesse Wolk, Isaac Cohen, Charles Sloan, Benj. Schwartz, Albert Gross, Sam T. Feinholtz, Sam Markovitz, Mrs. Ida Saron, Esther Seigel, N. Schwartz, R. Schermer, Josephine Nuss, Sadie Nuss, Mrs. Gigella Gross (sic), Esther Grossman, E. Glick, Dora Glick, Mrs. Greenberger, Sadie Goldstone, Mrs. Gluck, Mrs. A. Gross, Hannah Haupt, Rosie Hepps, Bertha Hepps, Mrs. Adolph Hepps, Miss Lulu Hepps, Miss Ella Hepps, Mrs. Hulbrouner (sic), Mrs. Jacobson, Mrs. Fanny Keisher (sic), Sallie Lasdusky, Miss M. Lebovitz, Mrs. Fanny Lebovitz, Fanny Marks, Laura Moss, Esther Markley, Lena Markowitz, Annie Miller, Sadie and Rachel Margolis, Mrs. Sam Mervis, Mrs. O. Mervis, Mary Pittler, Mrs. Dora Pearlstone, Mrs. Rosenthal, Mrs. Harry Aarons, Mrs. Harry Arkin, Mrs. Blanche Cohn, Mrs. Samuel S. Cohen, Mrs. Fanny Eskowitz, Mrs. Flora Frankel, Mrs. Nellie Feldman, Mrs. Anna Friedman, Miss Sarah Friedman, Mrs. Anna Friedlander, Mrs. F. Fried, Mrs. Fineholtz, Mrs. B. Gluck, Mrs. Morris Grinberg, Mrs. Meyer Grinberg.
In the following weeks the paper continued to list other town organizations as they lined up, one by one. Then on 7/20 they singled out an a member of the shul in an article headlined, “A poor man who give his mite.” They wrote, “Max Silver, who drives a beer wagon, has set an example that should set some of those well off in this world’s good to thinking. This morning he met Dr. John Purman on the street and said: “I am a poor man and have to work hard for a living but I realize the blessing that comes from a hospital, so put me down for $5.00 per year. I will give you a check after I receive my pay Monday.”
A couple days later, the paper announced that the Hebrew synagogue pledged support to hospital. With the individual contributions of Hebrew merchants over $1000 was expected. “If the other nationalities would only do as well Homestead would soon have a fine hospital,” they wrote (7/22). “The Hebrews of Homestead are showing themselves to be a charitable people. They way in which they are responding to the call for contributions to the hospital should put the other nationalities including the Americans to shame.” The same article announced that “Councilman Morris Frankel, one of the most influential members of the congregation…left his individual check for $25 and said he would contribute a like sum every year.” The Half Bros., one of the few Hebrew merchants with no connection to the synagogue, also joined.
After the meeting on 7/24, the paper reported, “The Homestead Hebrew congregation, Rodef Shalom, held a special meeting last night and decided to join the Homestead hospital association in a body and ordered a check drawn for $65.00 to pay the dues of their members for one year” (7/25). The paper continued, “At the meeting last night Morris Grinberg was indorsed as a trustee to represent the in the hospital association and as the Hebrews are entitled to at least one representative Mr. Grinberg will doubtlessly receive a majority of the votes of the Gentiles.” The full list of “members of the congregation who will become members of the Hospital association” consists of:
Morris Grinberg, Meyer Grinberg, S. Grinberg, Harry Arons, J. Blumberger, Philip Cohn, Morris Frankel, Morris Fogel, S. Fogel, B. Friedlander, Joseph Frieted (sic), Mark Fischel, Louis Gluck, Harry Gluck, Leopold Gluck, I.J. Goldstein (sic), I.S. Grossman, I. Grossman, Max Gross, Max Grinberger, B. Hepps, Adolph Hepps, Sam Hepps, A.L. Hepps, H. Haupt, I. Hertz, N. Eskovitz, R. Jacobson, D. Jacobson, Mor. Keisler (sic), J. Lasdusky, Adolph Lefkovitz, Morris Lefkovitz, A. Lebovitz, Adolph Lebovitz, Sam Markovitz, Max Markovitz, Morris Markovitz, Benjamin Markovitz, Sam Morantz (sic), H. Moskovitz, Sam Mervis, Sam Margolios (sic), Mendol Morgolios (sic), H. Pollock, J. Pruger, A. Rosenbaum, Amiet Swartz (sic), Nathan Swartz, R. Sherman (sic), I. Samuel (sic), Max Silver, D. Saron, B. Swartz, M.D. Weiss, Mr. Friedman, N. Glick, Abe Blick, Mike Weiss, Louis Gross, Herman Frey, H.H. Swartz, Mr. Strassburger, Meyer Herman and H. Weisman.
Another article said, “Councilman Morris Frankel has authorized the News-Messenger to scratch his name from the list of candidates suggested for the board of trustees of the Hospital association. He says he has not the time to devote to the duties of the office, but is for the hospital heart and soul and will do all he can for the institution individually” (7/25). On 7/27 “Joseph Lasdusky this morning called at the News-Messenger office and authorized us to withdraw his name as a candidate for trustee. He said he wished to withdraw in favor of Morris Grinberg, as the latter had been indorsed by the Hebrew congregation and he felt he should represent the Jews.” The election took place the evening of 7/30. Amongst the gentlemen candidates were Morris Grinberg and Bernard Glueck. Amongst the ladies, Mrs. Fanny Marks and Mrs. Morris Frankel. Surprisingly, it was Glueck and Mrs. Marks who received enough votes. (On 10/9 the paper reported that all the ladies resigned from hospital board to make room for the men?!?!?!)
Later in August there was a picnic to raise money for the hospital. It included sports contests with prizes, some of which were donated by the Jewish merchants. Amongst the winners: Egg & spoon race: Morris Fogle, first, and Julius Cohn scond; Boys race under 16: Julius Cohn and William Fogel tied for second (8/21).
Reports of the progress continued through the fall. Donations from more Jewish residents, like Mrs. C. Segelman, were reported, as well as that $80.00 had been raised by Mrs. Marks (10/2) and $74 by B. Glueck from a number of friends and business associates (10/4). In mid-November the hospital fund printed a list of its prominent and honorary members, which included, “Morris Frankel $25, Rodolf Sholem (sic) Congregation $64, Erram Marks (sic) $20, I.J. Goldstone $20, Louis Glick $20, Jos. Lasdusky $20, Max Gross $20, H. Sobel $20” (11/14).
This year was the first of what would become an annual tradition in Homestead — a Halloween parade and float contest that would attract spectators from all over the Mon Valley. The “Hallowe’en celebration with be a great affair,” they proclaimed on 10/14. “The business men are taking it up with enthusiasm.” Contributions for the “Hallowe’en Mardi Gras” came in from many businessmen, including P. Grossman 1.00 and Joseph Lasdusky 2.50 (10/23, 10/31). A week before the big day the paper published the “general orders for and route of parade,” as they had in the past for other large parades involving much of the town. Prizes for the businessmen’s floats were donated by the towns’ merchants, including Half Bros. (10/25), and “various leading business men,” including Meyer Grinberg of the Star Novelty Store, proclaimed their “[intention] to go after prizes” (10/28).
MORE THAN LASDUSKY
Joseph Lasdusky wants it distinctly understood that he is going into the Hallowe’en carnival parade Thursday evening with no other aim in view than to win the first prize.
Now, you who know Lasdusky, better take warning, for he never does things in a slip-shod manner, and it may be expected that his float will be a little out of the ordinary.
But then, Lasdusky is not the only one that is going after that first prize. There’ll be more of ’em after it, and citizens of Homestead can expect with a considerable certainty that they will see the nicest parade ever witnessed here. (10/28)
The parade got a long write-up in the paper the day after. “’The best thing ever in Homestead,’ is the unanimous opinion expressed today.” Various of the floats of the two-mile long parade were described in detail.
Grinberg’s Star Novelty Store was an attractive float, occupied by boys displaying the choice line of goods carried by this firm…
Half Bros. made an elaborate display with three large wagons. The kitchen completely furnished was attractive and the dining room came next, with its elegant furnishings. Four horses furnished the motive power for each wagon…
Littles’ shoes were in great demand, their float showing customers being fitted by obliging clerks…
Lasdusky, with Uncle Sam occupying a prominent position, had the ‘whole Damm family’ in his handsome display and but for the accident, his float was in line for a prize…Lasdusky had an accident that was fortunately not serious. While his float was on Ninth avenue, near the engine house, the decorations became ignited from the red fire used and were soon entirely destroyed. The occupants of the wagon were hastily removed, one young lady was a sucerer (sic?), her hair being badly singed. The wagon went in the parade, just the same, as though nothing had happened. (11/1)
Morris Grinberg’s department store wagon was one of the finest in the parade Thursday, but through an oversight no mention was made of this fact. The wagon was trimmed by Sam Ryave and was an artistic piece of work and came near landing first prize, the judges being divided at first. (11/2)
None of the Jewish businessmen were amongst the winners. The aids for the parade include Dr. Moss, Joseph Freed, Max Gross, Samuel Margolis, and Max Glick.
- 1/25: In the children’s concert Ruth Grossman and Grace Grossman (class of 1905) and Lizzie Markowitz (class of 1907) took part.
- 5/21: Listed amongst the 64 graduates of the grammar school (8th grade): Maurice Haupt, Harry Markowitz, Abe Hepps, and Frank Harry Weiss (also listed as an honor pupil).
- 5/22: At the commencement for the high school, the junior class violin solo was performed by Jacob Marks.
- 5/27: At the grammar school graduation the violin solo of the “Joyous Farmer” by Schumann was played by Ralph Lasdusky. (You know this piece, trust me.)
- 6/5: The teachers reelected included 5th ward teacher Minnie Segelman of 233 Eighth avenue.
- 9/12: The new manager of the high school boys’ football team was Charles Frankel, son of the councilman! On 10/4 the paper reported his work at length — quite unlike any previous manager.
The High School football team practiced yesterday at the Axle works grounds. They are in fine form and Manager Frankel feels highly flattered over the outlook for success of his players.
Manager Frankel stated to The Daily Messenger last night that he had sent a challenge to the Duquesne boys but that their captain had failed to accept.
The Homestead High School boys are open to play any and all high school teams in this valley.
H.S.B.B. WANT GAMES.
Homestead High School basketball team ’08 wants games also. Address C.W. Frankel, care High school, Homestead, Pa.
You see the role required actually arranging the schedule — hence this article from 10/15.
The boys of the Homestead high school team have a good joke on Manager Frankel, of their basketball team.
Hearing that the Crafton high school had a basketball team he wrote asking for a game. Here is the answer he received, which explains the joke:
Crafton, Pa. Oct. 11, 1907.
Chas. W. Frankel, Mgr. Basketball Team, Homestead, Pa.
Dear Sir–As we are a girls basketball team and only play with another team in our building, we would not care to arrange any games with you. Thanking you for inquiring, I remain,
Mildred S. Stidger.
A 10/19 article about their victory documented the celebrations of “Manager Frankel and his husky band of high school warriors.” They marched singing to two different vaudeville theaters, a nickelodeon, and two different restaurants (one Chinese!).
- On 10/16 the paper announced it was starting a “high school department” column. The editor? Also Charles Frankel! With all these activities, it’s like he’s gunning for admission to Harvard or something.
- 12/18: The high school Glee club planned a Christimas concerts to feature original papers written by students, including Charles Frankel‘s “The Christmas Kiss” and Arthur Grossman‘s “A Christmas Story.”
The applicants for retail liquor license included Bernhard Hepps, 406 Dickson St., and Isaac Hertz, 543-545 Fifth Ave (2/23). The applicants for wholesale license included Harry Arons, 545 Dickson st., and Max L. Siegel; Adolph Hepps, 465 Fourth avenue, and Samuel Markowitz; and Ruben Schermer, 412 Dickson st. (3/23).
Both Hepps and Hertz got retails licenses (3/27). Only Hepps & Markowitz got wholesale licenses (4/3, 4/5). Morris Frankel had applied for a wholesale license in Clairton and “was again refused.” (On 10/19 the paper mentioned an Alderman Samuel Frankel in Clairton — perhaps a relation?) During the summer a wholesale liquor license was transferred to Ephraim Marks, who otherwise had a pretty rotten year (7/5).
The year had its usual slew of anti-liquor activity, though one new issue that came up a couple times was that the lack of public toilets in the town meant that men had to go into saloons to relieve themselves (8/6, 12/4)!
- 1/21: “Leo Half, has returned home from Chicago, where he purchased stock for their new store. The shipment will be the largest and finest ever brought to Homestead.”
- 3/6: “The Busy Bee Hive store on Eighth avenue, near Dickson street is doing an excellent business. This week a drugget and rug department was added. Mr. Friedlander the proprietor is a hustler.”
- 3/22: “Samuel Morany (sic), of Eighth avenue, has remodeled his barber shop.”
- 3/28: “The Star Novelty store will move tomorrow into the building vacated by John Forbes, last week. Since Mr. Forbes moved out the building has been entirely remodeled, and decorated and a new front put in and it is now one of the most attractive store rooms on Eighth avenue. M. Grinberg the manager of the store, has been very successful since he opened the place two years ago, he having built up a good business and outgrown his old stand. His new and enlarged quarters will give him an opportunity to increase his stock and add new lines. He will re-open for business in his new stand Saturday morning.”
- 4/12: “J. Miller & Bros. will open tomorrow a new store at 221 Eighth avenue, between Amity and Ann streets…The firm will make a specialty of vegetables and fruits…with candies, soda water, ice cream and soft drinks, as a side line. It will be the best store of this kind, Homestead has ever had…”
- 4/16: “Half Bros. Handsome New Store Will Open Tomorrow,” proclaimed the headline. The rest of the article, with a picture, described all the features of the building that made the store “one of the finest in Western Pennsylvania.”
- 7/9: “Leo Half is in Chicago purchasing the fall stock for their big furniture house.”
7/16: H.L. Little & Bro. shoe dealers were selling the bankrupt stock of Hoffner Dry Goods Co. of Carnegie.
- 8/15: “The dissolution sale at Grinberg’s department store No. 605 Eight avenue opening this morning. To turn the stock into cash Grinberg has made the prices away (sic) below what they have been selling for.” See the full-page ad at right! Henceforth Meyer would run the Star Novelty Store and Morris the department store.
- 9/14: “The largest ostrich plume ever brought to Homestead is on display in Lasdusky‘s window. It is 30 inches long and the fibre is 7 1/2 inches, making altogether a beautiful feather and one that would gladden the heart of any lady who possessed it. It is the property of Miss Cahoe (sic?, Nellie Cohen?), Mr. Lasdusky’s head milliner, and is valued at $25. Every lady who beholds it becomes enraptured with it. All ladies are invited to call at Lasdusky’s establishment and inspect this beautiful plumage.”
- 9/26: “Lasdusky‘s opening, which began today, has a display that will meet the demand for dress as well as tailored hats. Their head milliner has come back from the East fully equipped with the latest modes.” Fortunately the millinery openings happened after the High Holidays this year!
- 10/1: “Workmen began Tuesday putting a new front in Wolk‘s shoe store, which will add greatly to its general appearance. The floors of the display window are to be lowered and with the windows enlarged and new glass installed the store will be made far more attractive. The entrance floor of the store will be made of cement.” A few days later the paper remarked on the new trend of merchants adopting mottoes. Wolk’s? “Of course.”
- 10/8: “B. Friedlander, of the Busy Bee Hive store, has purchased the stock of the Globe Dry Goods company…and will place the goods on sale as soon as the sale is confirmed by court.” This sort of thing was a common occurrence after stores went bankrupt.
- 10/15: A new “things seen in shop windows” feature mentioned Star Novelty (Meyer Grinberg) and Wolk’s. 10/17: The same feature mentioned the Bon-Ton’s “display of ladies’ waists and hats, with a complete assortment of muslin underwear and shoes” (Leon Trau).
- 10/15: There was a Lebovitz‘s hall where there had been a wedding… whose hall?!
- 11/8: “Over a dozen prominent West Homestead citizens were summoned to appear in court this morning as witnesses in the extortion cases against Justice James Lawry, which came up before the grand jury. There are six charges against Lawry and all were brought by foreigners. Mr. Glueck, a well-known merchant of West Homestead, is helping the foreigners to push the cases…True bills had been found…in all the suits.”
- 11/13: “Excellent bargains are still in evidence at Gross’, where gents’ ready-to-wear clothing is found.”
- 11/16: “Little, the progressive Eighth avenue shoe dealer, has just installed at (sic) handsome inside display case at his store, It is horse shoe (sic) in shape and is made of frameless plate glass. The incandescent light, with inverted green globes, with which it is lighted, adds to its attractiveness. It contains a fine assortment of shoes that are shown to the best possible advantage.”
- 12/3: “Half Bros. are firm believers in newspaper advertising. They say they never fail to get results from ads inserted in The Daily Messenger…they are our largest advertisers at that.” The article quoted Leo Half, “who has charge of the advertising for the firm,” about how newspaper advertising made their latest sale a success. 12/26: “Following their usual custom, Half Bros, the happy home furnishers, today presented to the employees of The Daily Messenger a box of fine cigars as a token of their appreciation of our efforts to please in ad composition. Thanks.”
- 12/9: “The Columbus Graphaphone company, which for the past two years has had their agency at 222 Eighth avenue, has closed out the entire stock of machines, records and supplies to Half Bros., the well known furniture dealers. The latter firm, which added the talking machines department to their other business at the time of the opening of the new store have decided to still further enlarge this rapidly growing feature of their business.”
- 12/12: “Morris Grinberg, proprietor of the uptown department store, will have a Christmas opening this evening at 7 o’clock at which he will be glad to receive all visitors…The store is located on Eighth avenue between Dickson street and Heisel street and it is known by no other name than that given above. It is not the Star, the Hub, or any other high named novelty store, but just plain simple Grinberg’s uptown department store…” This is an advertorial paid for by the store; am I wrong to read that as “fighting words” against his brother Meyer‘s store?!
- 1/24: “This morning at 11 o’clock a wagon of Hepps and Markowitz wholesale liquor dealers, was struck by a street car at Heisel street. The wagon was slightly damaged and one of the horse’s legs cut.”
- 4/8: The paper reported the arrest of numerous business men for leaving their wagons standing on the street. 4/9: The merchants who were fined $1.00 and costs ($4.32) included Joseph Freed. More would be tried tonight and tomorrow. “All of those tried .. admitted that they left their wagon on the street, but said it was done in Pittsburg. Burgess Rott then read the city ordinance governing this point, and it was found to be practically the same as Homesteadd…it was up to him and the ordinance officer to see that it was enforced… some of the merchants present said they would not pay their fine…Have you been arrested, is a byword among the merchants these days, owing to the enforcement of the vehicle ordinance.” 4/10: The burgess claimed there was a conspiracy for the business men to get together to block justice, as all refused to pay their fines. The Businessmen’s Association was taking up the wagon ordinance. 4/11: The borough’s ordinance committee stood by the burgess and sought to amend the ordinance so that people who refused to pay the fine could be locked up for 48 hours or more! 4/12: The burgess issued orders to arrest the men who weren’t paying their fines on sight.
- 4/9: “Fire broke out about 9:30 this morning in the tailoring establishment of M.M. Newman, corner of Sixth avenue and McClure street…About 9 o’clock Mr. Newman had occasion to go down street and locked up the shop, leaving everything in good order. About a half hour after a passerby noticed smoke in the tailor shop and immediately notified Mrs. Newman, who was working in the rear kitchen…Mr. Newman’s entire stock was completely ruined. His loss will be about $500, partly covered by insurance.”
- 7/3: “Joseph Pruger, of Fifth avenue, this place, was given a hearing before United States commissioner W. F. Lindsey, this morning on a charge of selling cigars that did not contain revenue stamps, and held for U.S. court under $500 bail.” I believe this story was first reported on 6/20, when it just said that “a foreigner” with a cigar store on Heisel street was so charged, and then on 6/28 when it misspelled his name as “Joseph Kruger” and said he purchased 30,000 cigars without a stamp — as in, a tax stamp.
- July Fourth in Homestead was always a disaster waiting to happen, despite all possible precaution. This year, on 7/1, the burgess stopped the sale of some fire works, though they were permitted for private displays, and the results were mixed. On 7/5 they patted their backs that in Homestead Park there were “few accidents and little disorder,” but in the town crowds of Homestead boys caroused, got drunk, and fired revolvers, resulting in one boy shot. Someone else was short on Eighth avenue, too. And then this: “Shooting crackers were responsible for a small fire at the store of Lefkowitz, Dickson street, on Wednesday evening. Some boys were putting off shooting crackers and one flew into the window of Lefkowitz’s store, setting the fireworks that were in the window on fire. The fire department was called out and succeeded in saving the building. The damage to the goods will amount to several hundred dollars.” It was such a disastrous fourth that they disagreed over how to count the deaths: “Let us recognize the full cost of the hurly burly style of celebration. But it is not conductive to intelligent judgment to charge the fourth with deaths from hemorrhages or the common practice of walking on railroad track” (7/6).
- 7/11: J.W. Ernstein‘s fruit store was robbed.
- 8/6: “Max Silver, a beer driver, who was given a hearing before Justice J. Clye Mller last evening on a charge of illegal liquor selling, preferred by Howard Foreman, was discharged. Foreman claimed that Silver sold beer from the wagon, but at the hearing he was unable to sustain his charges and Silver was discharged.” The hearing happened the same day his son was born?!
- 8/15: Schoenfield violated a borough ordinance by obstructing the sidewalk.
- 9/6: “Bold robbers entered the clothing store of B. Gluck, 503 East Fifth avenue, last night, and got away with goods amounting to over $200, consisting of clothing, rings, watch fobs, silk, ties, handkerchiefs and numerous other articles.” Details of how the robbery happened in the full article below.
- 9/17: “Yesterday afternoon Max Gluck, a meat dealer on Fifth avenue, had an exciting time and was thrown down a flight of stairs while trying to collect a bill. It appears that Mr. Gluck called on Michael Benyok to have a social chat about an old bill. While the matter was being discussed the defendant became angry and threw Gluck down a flight of stairs into the street. When the latter picked himself up he went before Justice Jones and had a warrant issued for Mr. Bonyok’s arrest. At the hearing this morning the case was compromised.”
- 9/19: A long article noted that a man who killed his wife in Allegheny the previous evening worked for Emil Lebowitz, the Dickson street drugging. He “was to have looked after the store yesterday for Mr. Lebovitz, who is a Hebrew, and was celebrating the Jewish holiday yesterday, but failed to put in his appearance, and the latter was forced to keep his store closed.” Lebovitz said, in part, “He was a quiet and inoffensive fellow, being well educated and an interesting talker, and not at all like a man one would imagine would commit a murder.”
- 9/19: Here’s a weird one. “The building owned by Councilman Morris Frankel and occupied by B. Friedlander, at the corner of Eighth avenue and Stone alley, is charged with electricity and many people have been shocked by coming in contact with the damp stone and bricks.” The issue was a wire that passes by the building’s chimney whose insulation wore away.
- 11/12: “Max Klein, a driver for Mr. Rosenbaum, was arrested by Officer Cush yesterday on a charge of disorderly conduct. He claimed to be but fifteen years of age…It was alleged that Klein was delivering bread and at the home of Mrs. Kate Hollob, corner Fourth avenue and City Farm Lane, he kicked in the door when Mrs. Hollob did not respond promptly to his summons. Mrs. Hollob, it appears, was standing inside the door when it flew and struck her in the face.” 11/14: The charge against him changed to something less accidental. “Max Klein, a bread wagon driver, was held in $300 bail…It is alleged that Klein a few days ago assaulted Mrs. Katharine Hallob, of City Farm lane, and struck her in the face with a loaf of bread.”
- 11/15: Fire gutted a stable belong to Benjamin Friedlander in the rear of his store at 519 Eighth avenue and burned to death a horse belonging to Dave Satin of 524 Heisel street. I. Jacobson (sic?), whose stable was burned earlier in the week, had rented two stall and almost lost his two horses, too. The fire was “charged to mischievous boys, who have made a practice of loafing about the stable in Gold alley….[Neighbors] were of the opinion that the fire was of incendiary origin.”
- 11/23: “Evanco Kavillow was arrested yesterday on a charge of larceny as bailee.” He “procured a suit of clothes from H. Padolsky with the understanding that he would take them home, try them on and either return to the store with the money or the suit of clothes. Kavillow did neither…”
- 11/23: A suit way brought again Hyman Little by Mary Zrable, who alleged “she had given Little a check when purchasing some goods and that there was some change due her, which he had refused to give her. Justice Giles gave judgement against the defendant and told him that his treatment of the woman was uncivil and abusive. He also said that if Little did not have the money at a certain time he would close up his place. Immediately after leaving Justice Giles’ office Little went to the office of Justice Jones and filed a cross suit against Mrs. Zrable charging her with disorderly conduct. At the hearing this morning the woman was found guilty by the justice and fined $1 and costs in the case.” But wait! “Not the Shoe Man,” corrected a 11/25 headline. “The suit, which was brought against the Hungarian woman before Justice Giles on Saturday, was brought by Benjamin Little, a clothier of Eighth avenue near Dickson street. This statement is made in justice to Little, the well-known shoe dealer of 321 Eighth avenue.”
- 12/13: “It was decided last evening…that all merchants in the borough, who do a house to house peddling business of wares other than those sold regularly in their stores, be compelled to take out a peddler’s license. The decision comes about through frequent complains made…about one Harry Polack, who has…a little cigar and tobacco store…Considering that his place of business he goes about the streets with a wagon peddling cabbages…” The full article below includes an interesting discussing of the economics of peddling.
- 1/4: “Mrs. Morris Grinberg, of Twelfth avenue, who has been confined to her home with bronchitis is much improved.”
- 1/5: “It will be remembered by the readers of the News-Messenger” — and this website! — “that Mike Silver was robbed of $200, just before Christmas, he claiming some one entered his house at night and taking the money out from under his pillow, while he slept. The money belonged to J.K. Lowry, with whom he is employed, and some people hardly believed Silver’s story, but the latter show his honesty by going to the bank and drawing $200 from his own account and handing it over to Mr. Lowry.”
- 1/7: “Mrs. Esther Schwartz, aged forty years, wife of Emanuel Schwartz, of 525 Fifth avenue, died at one o’clock this morning from a compound fracture of the skull, the result of a fall on the pavement before the home of a relative, who she was visiting….The deceased was one of the best known Hebrew women in town having resides here for the past fourteen years, and is survived by her husband and five children.” Full article below.
- 1/8: Mrs. Rose Ernstein was involved in some sort of scandal whose nature I neglected to note, but will soon update this post to include.
- 1/18: “Morris Goldbloom, aged forty-two years, teacher in the Jewish synagogue on Ammon street, committed suicide by drinking a glass of carbolic acid” in Nathan Schwartz‘s store. “The deceased has had considerable family trouble lately and has been brooding over it, which is thought to have temporarily deranged his mind and caused him to commit the rash act…The deceased has a wife and several children living in Pittsburgh.” Full article below.
- 2/8: “I.J. Goldston, the well known merchant on Eighth avenue is on the sick list.”
- 2/13: “Esther Goldston of 619 Eighth avenue, has recovered from diphtheria and her home has been fumigated.”
- 2/14: Bad for Homestead, but good for us: the list of people who were delinquent in paying their taxes! From 1901: Max Goldberg .22. From 1902: Henry Markowitz .40, Samuel Mervis 5.20, Joseph Skirball 1.60, David Skirball 1.20; 1903: Max Goldberg 20.16, Sam Kline 1.35, Annie Meskowitz .45, Abraham Skirboll 2.70, David Skirboll 1.35, Charles Wise 1.58. From 1904: Walter Goldman 1.05, Harry Gluck 1.05, Joseph Lekowitz 1.05, Henry Meskowitz 1.89.
- 4/5: “Little Ruth, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Morris Grinberg, of Twelfth avenue, who has been very ill, is reported somewhat better.”
- 4/16: “Mrs. C. Segelman, of Eighth avnue is ill with the grippe.”
8/13: The body of an 18 year old body, 5′ 5″ and 115 lbs, was found floating in the river by Joseph Freed. He was Isadore Jacobs, “who was drowned during the flood in Munhall Hollow last Friday afternoon.” The paper had reported on 8/8 that heavy rain flooded the streets so badly that they resembled creeks and cellars were flooded. Although it does not appear his family belonged to the shul, his mother, Leah Weinberger, may have been connected with a family that did. (Living in Munhall Hollow suggests he was very poor.) This provides some context for the end of the article, “The body was taken to McKees Rocks, where he was buried this afternoon in the Jewish cemetery.”
- 9/19: “Harry, the 6-year-old son of E. Marks, the Eighth avenue wholesale liquor man, fell off the wall of the Fifth ward school about 1 o’clock this afternoon and cut a deep gash in his head.”
- 9/21: “The three year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Sloan, of 503 Eighth avenue, wandered away yesterday afternoon. The parents were almost distracted when no trace of the child could be found and notified the police department and greatly to their relief the little one was found at 8 o’clock in the evening by one of the police force in Munhall.”
- 9/23: “Word was received from Mercy hospital at 2 o’clock this afternoon, stating that the condition of Max Rosen, who had his leg cut off by a train at the Amity street crossing last Saturday, was about the same. The attending physicians have hopes for his recovery.” The paper described it as the “worst railroad crossing accident Homestead has ever experienced” — and they sure had a lot. The article in the Pittsburgh paper the previous day added some additional detail. The railroad asked for an injunction to prevent the borough from enforcing its speeding ordinance, and later it was ruled the borough could not force the railroad to install safety gates, so a problem that plagued Homestead since the beginning would continue… (10/1, 10/8).
- 9/23: “Fogel Got Gay and Was Fined $5.00,” read the headline. His crime was “disorderly conduct in the Carnegie Library club,” specifically “language unbecoming the institution he was patronizing.” The evidence showed that this Samuel Fogel, of 404 Fifth avenue, “had been using the club on another man’s ticket. The names of the two men happened to be the same.” My guess is that the nephew was using his uncle’s ticket!
- 10/11: “Ben Markowitz was passing along Eighth avenue in front of Cotter’s saloon last night when two men came out and started to fight. One of the combatants in trying to get away whirled him around and threw him down. Markowitz, after the trouble was over, hunted up Officer Fogle and had him enter the crowd and pointed out the man who threw him down and demanded his arrest.” The man claimed it was an accident and was discharged. No word on Markowitz’s injuries, if any.
- 10/19: A Lithuanian woman threw a brick, which hit the eight year-old daughter of Mrs. Lefkowitz. The woman’s husband was drunk, and while she was trying to get him home, “a crowd of children gathered and began to torment them. One of the children ran up and pulled the drunken man’s coattail and then made chalk marks on his back. This angered the man’s wife and she picked up a brick and threw it at the children, striking the little Lefkowitz girl in the face.” The altercation grew to involve Mrs. Lefkowitz, the drunk man, his wife, H. Pollick (sic?), and a police officer.
- 10/21: Abe Marks, the 12 year old son of E. Marks, the Eighth avenue wholesale liquor dealer, and two accomplices “ransacked” Butler’s grocery store and “carried off a lot of goods and 10,000 Green trading stamps.” The full article below details the crime, noting that “there is little doubt in the minds of the police that Abe Marks who is a bright lad, is responsible for the robbery, and that the other two boys were his dupes.” The next day the paper reported that the situation was resolved with Mr. Butler, who then withdrew the suit.
- 10/30: Samuel, the five year old son of E. Marks, the wholesale liquor dealer of 333 Eighth avenue, was hit by a street and dragged. It turned out he was uninjured, thanks to the “cool and quick work” of the motorman. “All the eye witnesses to the accident say that they never saw a car stopped quicker.” My word, is there any son of E. Marks who hasn’t been in a scrape these past two months?!
- 12/13: “The grand jury this week found a true bill against Henry Weinberger…on a charge of impersonating an officer…It is alleged that Weinberger made certain arrests without authority and took his prisoners before Justice James Lawry for hearings.” On 12/18 the paper announced that the witnesses has been subpoenaed, and corrected the name to Joseph Weinberger. On Monday 12/23 Chief of Police Michael McDermott and others were called as witnesses in the case against Frank (!) Weinberger. The next day the paper reported that the jury found Frank Weinberger not guilty of impersonating a police officer, but ordered him to pay the costs in the case. Not entirely sure how that is fair?!
- 1/2: “The Seigle-Gross wedding in the Hebrew synagogue on Ammon stret, was one of the swellest affairs of its kind ever held in the Monongahela valley…The bride was Bessie Seigle, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Seigle, who has been making her home here for the past five years, and the groom, Albert Gross, late of New York. The bridal party was a large one and consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Arons, who gave the bride away, Mr. and Mrs. Fiber, of Braddock, and the groom’s mother, who escorted the groom to the altar. Max Seigle, the best man, Sadie Samuels, of Pittsburg, bridesmaid, and Meyer Frankel, of Sharon, Emil Labovitz, David Seigle and Abe Samuels, ushers.” The couple settled in McKeesport. Read more below.
- 2/25: “Marriage license was issued Saturday to Will Strassman, of Homestead, and Goldie Weintraub of McKeesport.”
- 2/28: The engagement of Blanche Seigel of City Farm Lane to J.M. Glass of McKeesport was announced. (It does not appear they ever got married.)
- 3/12: “A birthday party was held at the home of Morris Fogel, of Fifth avenue, in honor of his sister, Miss Pearl Fogel, Monday evening, March 11th. A very enjoyable evening was spent in music, songs and games, after which a lunch was served. Those present were Misses Cecelia Glick, Rose Fogel, Pearl Fogel, Julia Gross, all of Homestead, Rose Rosenfield of Braddock, Rose Light and Jennie Weiss, of Pittsburg, and Messrs. Ernest Katz, Samuel Green of Rankin, Joseph Glick, Samuel Fogel, Max Weirs (sic?), Henry Markowitz, Samuel Berkovitz, of Homestead, Israel Neiman, Adolph Green of Irwin, Jacob Weis of East Pittsburg, Mr. Naftin of Pittsburg and several others.”
- 5/15: The previous evening Miss Anna Lasdusky of Pittsburgh, sister of Joseph Lasdusky, married Max Glick of Homestead. Sam and Louis Glick and Ralph Lasdusky, of Homestead, were amongst the ushers. “The groom was formerly manager of Mr. Lasdusky’s store here, and will on June 1st go into the business for himself at 503 Fifth avenue, he having bought out Morris Frankel.” Full article below.
- 8/5: “Max Silver, the well known driver for J.K Lorry, wholesale liquor dealer on Eighth avenue, is walking around as proud as a peacock this morning over a big boy which arrived at his home this morning. Mr. Silver recently gave $5 to the hospital fund and his host of friends are extending their congratulations over his big son.”
- 8/27: “Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Grossman, of Duquesne, parents of Messrs. I.S. and Ig. Grossman, of Homestead, celebrated their golden wedding on Sunday, August 25. A beautifully appointed dinner was served in honor of the occasion at the home of their daughter, Mrs. Rose Szobel, of Duquesne avenue.” The whole, fabulous article, included links, names where they were born, when they immigrated, and all their living family. When the congregation was formed, they were the ones who sent the Torah to Homestead from NYC, where the article says they continued to live until two years ago.
- 10/22: “A number of Homestead people will go to McKeesport this afternoon to attend the wedding of Miss Hannah Klein of New York and Mr. E. Moskowitz of Rankin…Mrs. S. Markowitz of Homestead will be matron of honor and her husband, Mr. S. Markowitz, will attend the groom.” The rabbi performing the ceremony, Rabbi S.I. Federman, may have been the first rabbi in Homestead.
- 10/24: “Morris Half, of the firm of Half Bros., did not report for duty today, but the other boys excused him as a baby boy arrived at his home last night.”
- 12/6: “Miss Lulu Hepps called up The Daily Messenger this afternoon and denied the report that she had eloped. She says if there was an elopement it was some other Miss Hepps, not her. The report came, it is said, from McKeesport.” (She got a proper marriage license in January 1908.)
This year the newspaper included very few listings in this section, and as you can see below, esp. compared to previous years, almost none pertained to our community. The drop is very striking, especially at a time when the town’s Jewish community was growing rapidly.
- 1/18: “Noah Cohn, a well known merchant of Muskegon, Mich. is spending a few weeks visiting his brother, Philip Cohn, the popular merchant tailor on Eighth avenue. He is prominent in fraternal societies and is kept busy shaking hands with members of the Eagles.”
- 1/21: “Miss Ruth Grossman entertained her Sunday class from Pittsburg Saturday. The afternoon was spent in music, singing and dancing. At 5 and 7 o’clock a delicious lunch was served, and at 8:30 o’clock the guests departed for their homes after a very enjoyable afternoon.”
- 2/13: “A very enjoyable musicale was held at the residence of Philip Coen (sic), of 303 McClure street, Monday evening, there being a large number of his friends present and a very enjoyable tie was spent. One of the features of the evening was several selection on the violin by Max Millian, who was accompanied by his sister. Mr. Millian is now touring the world having played before all the Royalty of Europe, he being considered one of the best in the business. His sister, who is with him, is also quite an artist on the piano. After the musical a lunch was served and the guests all departed for their homes greatly pleasured with the entertainment afforded.” (The only information I could find on this man suggested he was on the vaudeville circuit.)
- 8/6: “A luncheon and entertainment was held last evening by Mr.and Mrs. Joseph Lasdusky at their home on Ammon street, in honor of their house guest, Miss Henrietta Ruben, of New York, a niece of the hostess. A surprisingly long article, included below, details the entertainment (Rose Ecker, sister of Mrs. I. Grossman “gave one of her exquisite recitations,” Charles Frankel and Charles Lasdusky “gave one of their phenomenal performances on the violin, and more) and local and out-of-town guests. “The local guests present were Max Glueck and wife, Miss Fanny Haupt, Miss Stella Cohn, Miss Maud Segelman, Miss Celia Gleuck, Miss Ida Lebovitz, Miss Minnie Segelman, Mrs. Haupt, Samuel Glueck, Charles Frankel, Sarah Freedman, Louis Lasdusky and Jacob Marks.”
- 8/7: “Mrs. I.J. Goldstone and her father of Eighth avenue left this morning for the Jamestown exposition, where they will spend a few weeks.”
- 12/23: “Leo Half, of Half Bros. furniture store, went to Philadelphia, Saturday evening to attend the wedding of a cousin.”
- 1/9: “The Homestead Hebrew club met last evening and elected the following officers for the ensuing year, President Mr. Aarons, Vice President Max Gross, Secretary Joseph Lasdusky, Treasurer Samuel Mervis, House committee Joseph Freed and Harry Haupt.”
- 1/17: “Homestead has a new social club, composed of a number of well known young Hebrew ladies of the town. It is called ‘The Theodore Roosevelt Club.’ Just what the objects of the club are could not be learned, but it has ben reported that the chief aim of the new club is for the members to get married and raise large families, as it is well known that Teddy is a great believer in Anti Race suicide.”
- 1/22: Under the headline “A Hint to the Roosevelt Club,” “Young Hebrew Men” replied, in part, “Now, we, the Jewish young men of Homestead think well of the idea and endorse it with heart and soul think it is the best thing ever proposed and we wish them great success. Our only regret is that we were not asked to join, which we hope will soon be remedied. It would be a good thing for the ladies to get the gentlemen as members, for we don’t know each other, which is a sad thing.”
- 1/25: “The Heptagon club held their usual dance, which was a very enjoyable affair. Miss Fanny Siegel was the happy winner of the lady’s gold ring given by the club. Misses Fanny and Blanche Siegel are two of the most popular young ladies of Fifth avenue who have just lately made their debut into society.”
- 1/26: “The Heptagon club held their first dance in the Casino hall, last Wednesday, and met with great success. An enjoyable time was experienced by all who attended. Those prizes were awarded by the club and the fortunate winners were: Miss Samuels, Miss Hepps, and Miss Fanny Siegel. A pretty speech was made by Miss Hepps, in which she thanked the club for the unexpected prize, and congratulated them on behalf of the Roosevelt club, on their success. A special dance was given in honor of the Roosevelt club.”
- 1/29: “The Young Ladies Roosevelt society is going to hold an open meeting for the Heptagon Social club of Homestead next Sunday night, February 3, 1907 at 7:30 p.m. at the home of the president, Miss Irene Hertz, 543 Fifth avenue Homestead.”
- 2/11: “The Homestead Hebrew congregation will hold their annual ball in the Fifth avenue opera house tomorrow evening and a good time is assured. These balls are always looked forward to and are attended by some of the best people of the town, as they are always nicely conducted and everyone enjoys themselves. The affair this year will be conducted like those in previous years. The ladies of the congregation will play an important part in conducting the affair and will serve refreshments, while the gentlemen will look after the dancing floor. The advance sale of tickets is large and the financial success of the affair is assured. All the borough officials will attend.”
- 2/12: “The Hebrews have everything in readiness for their dance tonight in the Fifth Avenue Opera House. A large delegation of visitors from Pittsburg, Duquesne and Braddock, will be in attendance, and the committee is leaving nothing undone to show them a good time. Good music has been procured for the dancing and lunch will be served by the ladies.”
- 2/27: “Beginning at sunset today the Feast of Purim, also called sometimes the Feast of Lots, will be celebrated in the local orthodox Jewish synagogues of this city. The festival commemorates the deliverance of the Hebrews from the machinations of Haman to exterminate them, as recorded in the Book of Esther will be read in a solemn and impressive manner.”
- 3/18: “Homestead Lodge, Brith Abraham, was instituted in Homestead yesterday and started out with a membership of 60…The officers elected yesterday were: President, M.D. Wise (sic). Vice President, Nathan Eskowitz. Secretary, Mark Fischel.” Full article below.
- 3/29: “Passover Falls on Good Friday,” read the headline. Full article below (just a basic explanation of the holiday).
- 4/8: Homestead Hebrews took part in the cornerstone laying of Montefiore Hospital on Center avenue in Pittsburgh. “Morris Grinberg and M.D. Wise (sic), two well known business men on Eighth avenue, are on the board of directors and have raised over $700.00 among the Jewish residents of Homestead.” Full article below.
- 4/13: “The Hebrews of Homestead are making great preparations for the observing of Homestead Day tomorrow at the Hebrew home for the aged on Brackenridge avenue, Pittsburg…Joseph Lasdusky is one of the directors. The affair will be in charge of the Ladies’ Aid society, assisted by a committee composed of Joseph Lasdusky, Morris Grinberg, and M.D. Wise (sic)…Rabbi Newman, formerly of this place, is superintendent of the Home…The officers of the Ladies Aid society who will have charge of the party are as follows: President, Mrs. M. Marks, secretary, Mrs. Cohen, and treasurer, Mrs. B. Gluck.” Full article below.
- 5/24: L.L. Davis, the attorney who helped the shul get it charter, was out for Judge of Common Pleas Court, no. 4 of Allegheny county.
INDORSED L.L. DAVIS FOR JUDGE
The Homestead Hebrew club held a smoker and lunch last night in honor of Attorney L.L. Davis, candidate for judge at the Republican primaries, June 1. John F. Cox acted as toast master and speeches were made by Councilman Morris Frankel, Council Hope Scorer, John G. Silveus, I. Grossman, Joseph Lasdusky, William Martin and Mr. Davis. Resolutions were passed endorsing L.L. Davis and Josiah Cohen for judge.
Although he won 1020 of the 1044 votes in Homestead, he lost by 427 votes county-wide (17,789-18,216). On 7/25 the paper reported that his campaign cost him $1,426.05, more than all others put together. The $800 he raised in donation came in part from Morris Frankle, $100, and Max Markokovitz, $50.
- 6/6: “The Heptagon club, made up of well known Hebrew young men and their friends spent an enjoyable evening at the Homestead park rink last night. The early part of the evening was spent in skating, and the latter part in dancing. All were delighted with the affair and another will be held.”
- 6/17: The Homestead Lodge No. 586, I.O.B.B., “which is composed of the leading Hebrews of this town,” elected as officers: President–B. Glick, Vice President–Charles Sloan, Treasurer–I. Grossman, Inside Guard–M. Mervis, Outside Guard–Harry Glick, Maniter (sic)–Joseph Lasdusky. Full article below, including their resolution to support the hospital movement and commendation for being “the first secret society to take action on the hospital question.”
- 6/27: For some reason a letter was public in the paper from Irene Hertz, president of the Young Ladies Roosevelt Club, to Lulu Hepps, its Secretary, requesting to disband the club and donating the money to the hospital. Full article below.
- 7/30: “The I.O.B.B., the Hebrew organization, is holding an outing at Olympia park today. Many members of the order from Homestead are in attendance. There will be dancing tonight.”
- 8/28: “The Hebrews of Homestead are busy arranging to celebrate their New Years, which begins on the evening of September 28 (sic), and continues through September 9 and 10. The usual ceremony will be held in the temple on September 9 and a celebration in Casino hall, for which tickets have been issued. All the Hebrews of Homestead will close their places of business all day September 9 and 19 (sic), this being the most solemn and rigidly observed holiday on the Jewish calendar. The Day of Atonement follows closely after the New Year.” I believe this year was the first when the Jewish population of Homestead was too large to fit everyone in the shul for services, hence the need to rent a hall.
- 9/7: The previous evening’s “opening of the beautiful new temple of the Rodeph Shalom congregation, in Fifth avenue, Pittsburgh” received coverage in the Homestead paper. “A large delegation of Homestead Hebrews attended the exercises.”
- 9/7, 9/9: A couple article reminded Homesteaders that Rosh Hashana was happening. “The Hebrews of Homestead will observe the holidays faithfully. The services Monday will be held in Rodef Scholm (sic) synagogue on Ammon street and the all-day services Tuesday in Casino hall. All will keep their places of business closed from this evening until 6 o’clock Tuesday evening.” (I don’t think this is right — based on their financial records I think they held services in the shul and Casino Hall simultaneously (there are expenses for both “Baal Shachres for Hall” and “Baal Shachres for Shuhl”).) Both articles below. Despite the couple mentions that the Hebrew stores would be closed, I didn’t see any ads for these stores noting their closings, as I had in previous years.
- 9/11: Careful readers of this website will note my obsession with finding out more about the short-lived breakaway, including my evolving theory that it was due to a Rabbi Jacobs the congregation hired in mid-1907. WOWOWOW, here is an article about him!
The Hebrew school…is making fine progress, under the careful direction of Rev. Dr. Louis Jacobs and wife…Rev. Jacobs, who is in charge of the school, is a man with pronounced intelligence, having studied Blackstone in Vienna, Berlin and other European countries and had a degree of doctor on philosophy conferred upon him…before coming here, [he] was the editor of the Jewish Banner, published in New York.
This is also the first article to mention Rabbi Widom!
A short time ago, Dr. Jacobs said, the congregation took up a collection to allow Rev. Wedom (sic), who was obligated to flee from Russia about a year ago to escape persecution and who located here, to send for his wife and three children. Mrs. Wedom and the children, he said, arrived here about three weeks ago, and the children has already picked up a little English and were delighted with their new home.
Much more in the full article below, including how he and Mr. Lasdusky were “about to organize a Sunday school.”
- 9/17, 9/18: Two long articles explaining Yom Kippur were published. “The Homestead Hebrews are among our most desirable class of citizens and they not only observe their religious customs consistently and faithfully, but they also observe our holidays and obey the laws of the country better than any other class,” noted the first. (Both articles below.)
- 11/8: The Hebrew Ladies’ auxiliary, of Rodof (sic) Sholem, will give a grand ball on Tuesday evening, Noveber 12, at Casino Hall, and great preparations are being made for its success. The committee includes Mrs. M. Marks, Mrs. Gross, Mrs. Lasdusky, Miss Lulu Hepps, and Mrs. S. Markowitz. Nirella’s orchestra will furnish the music and the event will be an important one in Jewish society circles.
- 11/12: In the “Society and Personal” section a notice that the ball would be this evening appeared. “A very efficient committee is in charge, which assures a most delightful evening for all in attendance.”
- 11/13: “The annual ball given at Casino hall last evening by the Ladies Auxiliary of Rodof Sholem was attended by over one hundred couples and was the largest affair of the kind ever held here. The hall was very artistic in its decoration of flags, bunting, flowers and palms and Nirella’s orchestra contributed the music for a well-arranged dancing program. Light refreshments were served and the party was one of the leading society events in Hebrew circles. Guests were present from Pittsburg, McKeesport, Braddock and Duquesne. The committee of ladies, to whom the success of the evening is due, includes Mrs. M. Marks, Mrs. Lasdusky, Mrs. Fischel, Mrs. Gross, Miss Lulu Hepps, and Mrs. S. Markowitz.”
- 11/15: “A new receiving house is being erected by Contractor Edward Rowe, of Homestead, on the Jewish cemetery at Homeville. The fence around the cemetery is also being replaced by a new one. The ladies auxiliary of Rodof Sholem have contributed liberally to have these improvements made.” It’s likely the proceeds from their dance went to this purpose.
- 11/19, 12/3, 12/17: The regular “Meeting Tonight” column noted that the Ladies’ Auxiliary of Rodef Sholem was meeting in Ammon street hall that evening.
- 11/23: “Under the auspices of the Ladies’ auxiliary of Rodef Sholem, a Hebrew Sunday school has been organized.” I am unclear how this relates to previous such efforts. This one involves 70 boys and girls in two classes taught by Mrs. Ignatz Grossman of 504 Fifth avenue and Mrs. Max Glick of 503 Fifth avenue. Full article, including the women’s training, below.
- 11/29: “Scheeny, Yoot, Christ-killed (sic?), Money-changer, Beat — call him what you may, the Hebrew today can teach the Gentile some things in the treatment of his fellowmen that are admirable in the extreme,” begins an article describing charity in the Jewish community. “Right here in Homestead the Hebrew congregation consists of about 68 persons of age. These Jewish people pay ten cents each week to the treasurer of the charity committee, and no matter how poor, this duty is never left pass by…Living in this borough at the present time there are a number of Hebrews, well known and highly respected, who came here with small packs on their backs, received their first aid from the committee on charities, and are now wealthy and independent citizens.” The whole article below is worth a read.
- 12/9: “The Sunday School of Rodof Sholem gave an entertainment in the synagogue on Ammon street, yesterday afternoon at 2:30 o’clock.” Over a 100 children participated. The program, in the article below, notes the violin solos of Henry Markowitz, Max Weiss, and Ralph Lasdusky and four unnamed boys who performed a Zionist song. The children had been drilled by Mrs. I. Grossman and Mrs. Annie Glick. Amongst the adults, Rev. Mr. Wedom, Rev. Dr. Coffee of Tree of Life, Mr. Prennan, and M.D. Weiss took part. “A vote of thanks was tendered the ladies by Morris Frankel, president, for their work in behalf of the school.” (Interestingly, Louis Jacobs was not named; had he already fallen out of favor? Or had the break-away already broken away?)
- 1/22: For years people used the paper to debate how the Christian Sabbath ought to be observed. I suspect the Homestead paper reprinted this article from a Jewish publication as a rebuke to some Christian’s visions for how the whole town must observe the Sabbath. “There is not, and there never was intended to be, any such feeling of Puritanism or of Calvinism with regard to our day of rest as there is connected with the Lord’s day of our neighbors. The Jewish Sabbath was to be a delight, and we read that in the mediaeval ghetto dancing, among our recreations, was common on that day. There is nothing contrary to the spirit of Judaism in the playing of games or indulgence in any form of light recreation on Saturday so long as it is combined with due regard for the sacred claims of divine worship. –Jewish World.”
7/9: “A general call has gone forth from Jewish papers throughout the land to suppress the stage Jew…permitting a caricature of the Jew to go on the stage…Charles F. Joseph, editor of the Jewish Criterion, Pittsburgh…said: ‘The idea of having a man come upon the stage with his hat over his ears, his shuffling walk and his vulgar actions is an outrage on self-respecting people…With regard to this the Irish is in the same boat as the Jew. Both are being maligned on the stage at present.'”
The following merchants had ads in the paper:
- Half Bros.
- M. Marks
- The Busy Bee (B. Friedlander)
- I.J. Goldston
- Little’s Shoe Store
- Philip Cohn (moved to Duquesne in late August)
- Star Novelty Store (Meyer Grinberg)
- H. Mulhauser
- Grinberg Bros. Department Store (dissolved during the summer)
- Grinberg’s Department Store (Morris Grinberg)
A 7/3 “directory of Homestead’s leading business houses” included H. Sobel, 217 8th ave., clothing. A 10/7 listing of newsstands that sell the Messenger (this paper) included Harry Pollack’s Confectionary, 455 E. Fifth ave. A 10/10 article touting at the height of the Painc of 1907 how the paper was seeing so much advertising it might need to expand to 12-pages trumpeted Morris Grinberg’s new ad contract.
And then there was also a local branch of the People’s Credit Clothing co., a large chain headquartered in Rochester, NY, one of whose co-owners was Jewish. On January 24, “E.E. Reigard has resigned his position as manager of the People’s Credit Clothing company’s store in this place and A.J. Berman has succeeded him…The store has become one of Homestead’s substantial business houses, its success being marked from the first.” Though I can place the store’s opening in Homestead precisely, ads for it started showing up in Homestead’s paper around late October/early November 1905. (It doesn’t seem like Berman lasted long; a 10/11 article referred to Leo Marks as the “popular manager” of the store.