Jews in the News, 1911

Before looking into the newspaper for this year, I already knew it was the year of the arson and the first steps towards building the new shul.  What I didn’t know was that the man who led the congregation during these pivotal events was also quite a leader in the town of Homestead at the same time, too.  As president of the school board, he also presided over the building and dedication of the new high school building, and as a leading merchant in the town, he founded and ran the Home Trading Association to help boost all of Homestead’s merchants.


  • 1/11: The officers of the Homestead Savings Bank and Trust Co. were elected. I.S. Grossman and B. Hepps remained on the board, but Morris Half no longer was.
  • 1/16: Amongst the “many good games” of the Carnegie Library Athletic Club Saturday was one in which Lasdusky played forward and Israel guard in Munhall. Lasdusky scored three field goals and Israel two. 2/6: More games with Lasdusky and Israel. Ladusky scored four field goals.
  • 1/23: Lasdusky once again was the scorer of the library’s “midget” basketball games. And Israel played for the All Stars again. 2/20: Another day of games where Lasdusky was scorer and timer for many games.
  • 1/28: At a Homestead high school basketball game, Haupt was substituted in and “featured in a great one hand shot.” Segelman was the referee. 2/4: Another game where Haupt was substituted in. This time he made 5 field goals.
  • 2/10: “Trouble Between Police – Officer Gillespie Arrests Officer Lefkowitz for Violating a Borough Ordinance.” It stemmed from a “misunderstanding between the two at a foreign wedding held in a hall owned by Lefkowitz on Dickson street Thursday…The officers were assigned to the hall to keep order at the wedding but had little to do as the crowd was on its good behavior…Gillespie arrested Lefkowitz on a charge of allowing beer to be drunk in his hall ad Lefkowitz retaliated by making a charge of disorderly conduct against Gillespie…It was alleged by Officer Gillespire that Officer Lefkowitz permitted liquor to be served after [supper time].” It turns out there was no such ordinance limiting drinking hours, just a police regulation. In the end Gillespie was fined for acting “in a disorderly manner at the hall” and using “profane language.”
  • 2/27: More library basketball games! Lebowitz for played for the Keystone Athletic Association, scoring 4 field goals and 4 foul goals. In the midget games once again Lasdusky and Israel played for Munhall; Lasdusky scored 5 foul goals.
  • 3/2: Homestead high “swamped” Braddock. Haupt was substituted in and scored 3 field goals. The referee was Segelman.
  • 3/13: More library games – Lasudsky was scorer for some, and in Munhall’s game played with Israel. Both were forwards and both scored field goals — Lasdusky made 3.
  • 3/20: At one of the day’s library games Israel was substituted in for the Homestead team.
  • 3/30: There was a benefit game with the high school team vs. the alumni. Haupt played forward. Ladusky was a reserve for the faculty vs directors game.
  • 4/5: From a list of the ladies classes at the library – tumbling and apparatus work – G. Grossman, E. Grossman. Fancy club swinging – R. Grossman.
  • 4/20: In the record of Carnegie Library Athletic Club, Lasdusky of Munhall was in 2nd place for field goals in the first grade midgets league.
  • 5/3:  In a list of donors for a flag for Frick park Mose Half donated a half-dollar.
  • 6/6:  The High school alumni association to revive its dances.  The committee to look up members will be chaired by Ralph Lasdusky.
  • 6/6:  “Miss Ruth Grossman will render a piano solo at Pratts Recital in the Carnegie Library, Pittsburg, Monday [rest llegible]” 6/13:  “Miss Ruth Grossman, of Eighth avenue, was a soloist at the graduating exercises of the Pratt Institute, at Carnegie Music Hall, Pittsburg last evening.”
  • 10/12:  Basketball season is back!  The high boys play tomorrow; Israel and others are striving to land the center position.
  • 10/30:  Segelman was head linesman for the local rugby team.  On 11/6 he was linesman for a football game.
  • 11/14:  The library basketball league results for the first grade mentioned that Lasdusky, center, made a field goal.  The game’s scorer was Israel, who also scored for the second and third grade games.
  • 11/18:  Homestead high school beat Turtle Creek. “They have two good men in Bain, Moon, McLean and Lasdusky holding down the positions of ends.”
  • 11/27:  More midget league games at the library on Saturday. Israel played forward. For the second grade Lasdusky played center and Margolis guard.
  • 12/2:  For the McBride Juniors Lasdusky played forward.  They “defeated the strong YMHA Juniors…Lasdusky played an all-around good game.” In the Library League Israel once again played forward for first grade.
  • 12/11:  In the Library League Lasdusky played forward for first grade.
12/19: Letters to Santa by two of my great-uncles?!

12/19: Letters to Santa by two of my great-uncles?!

  • 12/19:  I never pay much attention to the Xmas letters to Santa published by children in the paper, but as I did last year, this year I noticed two by Jewish children — both by great-uncles of mine, Samuel and Martin Hepps!


  • 3/25: Something called the “Silent Workers Society of the Eighth grade, Second ward school, held its regular meeting yesterday afternoon.” The guests of the society were “Miss Kendall, Miss Rodgers, teachers of Seventh grade, her pupils, and Mr. Hepps.” Which Mr. Hepps? The program included a recitation, “The Auctioneer’s Gift,” by Samuel Israel; a violin solo by Lewis Lasdusky; a reading, “The Last Night in Prison,” by Fanella Mervis; a violin solo, “La Lorello,” by Jacob Hepps; and a recitation, “The Three Bells,” by Jennie Wechsler. Plus there were group songs. Maybe I don’t understand what “silent workers” are, because they sure aren’t silent?!
  • 4/4: President Lasdusky of the school board will present diplomas to the graduating class.  This news was repeated on 5/17, too.
  • 4/29: The cast of the senior class play, “The Vicar of Wakefield,” was printed. It included Frank Weiss, Ralph Lasdusky, and Maurice Haupt.
  • 5/23:   In the 8th grade commencement there was a violin solo, “Sing, smile, slumber” by my grandfather, Jacob Hepps, accompanied by Constance Eberhart. Bernard Weiss performed in a mixed sextette of “Dixie land” and a male sextette, “Start of the summer night.”
  • 5/24:  This evening would bring the high school. commencement. The class was the largest in Homestead’s history. Academic course (4 year) graduates included Abraham Hepps, Ralph Lasdusky, Frank Weiss, and Maurice J. Haupt. Manual training course (2 year) graduates included Regina Haupt, Olga Hepp (sic), David Israel, Charles D. Mervis, and Emeline Seigle.  The following day the paper reported on the graduation and reprinted the speech Lasdusky made when he presented the diplomas (read it below).
  • 7/7:  In a list of people who passed the pharmaceutical examination: Abe S. Markowitz, for regular registered pharmacist.
  • 10/3:  The town’s teachers asked for more money, complaining that the school board had failed to raise their salary. “President Lasdusky, just to be sarcastic, said it was a matter that a local paper should take up, he hitting at the Daily Messenger for protesting against the late raise in salaries.” (Indeed, the paper had complained when some salaries were raised in July.)  In the end three teachers resigned to take higher salaried positions elsewhere (11/1).
  • 10/3:  “Ralph Lasdusky, son of President Lasdusky of the local school board has entered the Pittsburg University, where he will take a commercial course.”  But then 10/19:  “Ralph Lasdusky, a graduate of the class 1911 Homestead High school, left yesterday for Philadelphia, where he will enter college.”  ?!?!  12/26:  “Ralph Lasdusky arrived home from Philadelphia, where he is attending college, and will spend a few weeks at his home on Fifth avenue.”
  • 10/4:  President Lasdusky appointed the committee for the dedication of the new Central High school building.
11/28: High School Building Committee.

11/28: High School Building Committee: James L. King (First ward), W.A. Kessler (Second), George Busch (Third), John Van Horn (Fifth), D.T. Powelson, and Supt. Diffenbaugh. (Not sure who is who, though Lasdusky is the 2nd rectangle from the left.)

  • 11/29: High School Dedication

    11/29: High School Dedication

    11/21: The marching order for the parade for dedication of the highs was published.  (It’s interesting that no Jewish organizations ever marched.)

  • 11/25:  “All in readiness for the parade and flag presentation in connection with the dedication” next Tuesday.  There would be “a very interesting Presentation of Keys by G.M hall & Co., contractors, and acceptance by Joseph Lasdusky, President of the Board of Directors.”
  • 11/27:  Request that all business men close their stores during the parade.
  • 11/28: On the big day the paper reviewed the parade and reprinted a picture of Lasdusky.  His name was on the tablet hung in the building.  There were many other colorful details — thousands of children carried flags, business was suspended, many ladies were in line along with many lodges.  The dedication exercises would take place in the building that evening.
  • 11/29:  The paper reviewed the high school dedication and reprinted Lasdusky‘s speech, which you can read below by clicking on each image.

11/29: First part of Lasdusky's speech

11/29: First part of Lasdusky’s speech

11/29: The rest of Lasdusky's speech

11/29: The rest of Lasdusky’s speech

  • 12/2:  Retiring members of school board included Lasdusky.  “A tinge of sadness was lent to the conclusion of the meetingg over the retirement of members who had for so long been connected with the affairs of the schools but there was also mutual congratulations over the work done, the most important being the erection of the new high school building, which was dedicated last Tuesday.”
  • 12/15:  The high school — about 300 people total — moved into the new building at noon today.
  • 12/21:  The eighth grade entertained in the new school.  The program included Ida Goldman on piano, Julius Markowitz on violin accompanied by Louis Nebom, Abe Schwartz on violin, and Esther Grossman on piano.

This experience surely made Lasdusky useful in his role as president of the synagogue during the building of the second synagogue, which was getting underway at the same time!  The high school building, which stood at the corner of 12th and Amity, no longer exists. 

Home Trading Day

5/10 biz men will hold red letter day to boost hstd è “Joseph Lasdusky, chariman of the comm apopointed to coner w the member osf the east end boa rd of trade, is enthisastic over the mvmt which will deomosntrate to residetns of this vicinity that a beter class of merchandise can be purchased in Hstd than in the city. Chairman lasdsky states this morning that he would like to have the following memers of the committee reponst…” h.l little..

5/12 è lasdusky and other investigate the east end red letter day. The committee was courtesoulsy reeived by Secretray Park of the Boar dof Trade and by the chairman of the business men’s committee..” COmittees comed – H.L. Little for first disction and also I.J. Goldstein (Goldston?). Lasdusky and David Bevan ? Third. Moses Half for 4th district.

5/15 è Chairman Lasdusky..mas meeting in savings bank alf…largest meeting of business men ever held here. The biz men have grown enthusiastic over this mvmt to promote home trade.

5/16 big front page drawing/headline to attend red letter day meeting//

5/17 biz men start ball roling for red leter da in hstd – -meeting called ot order by lasdusy – moses half and h.l. little also spoke ç lasdisu elected press of the permanent org for the promotion of hoem trade . name suggestios—morris grinberg made the hit of the envein by suggestin ghta the name be “the hoem trading assoc.” other ideas. Grinberg’s won.

5/18 lasdusky announces red letter committee – incl morris half, h.l. little, morris grinberg, and 6 others

5/20 6 more men added to red leter committee

5/24 home trading day 6/21 – little half on newspaper advertising committee. Grinberg on decorating committee. Also an attraction committee. Committee of home trading assoc chairman morris hal of generl committee (?!) // businessmen’s outing omittees named – music, refreshments, sports, souvenior badges, dancing – ladusky, half.

6/6 Front page ads encouraging local sales

6/13 tomorrow biz men outing Conneaut lake è dancing committee – half, lasdusky,

6/15  big ad for home trading day june the 21st. ‘this is the day to shop at home and the dearliers are going to make things hum for hteir wayward custoers who have drifted apart forom their own home town.”

6/16 meetin glast night to compelte arrangements for home trading day celeb – atuo parade thurs // even bigger day for home trading day “tmake the old town hum .. and this day will certainly be a hummer”

6/19 arrangement compelted for first home trading day on wed [all the ads reference it] // home trading day ed – bargains are at home not in pgh / [[full pg ad adv home shopping day]

6/20 front pg feature about home trading day activities – tomorrow

6/21 local merchants are having a busy time this afternoon – Stores Crowded with people drawn by the many barains offered in stores nad the street atractions – a big time promised this evening //e d about how day is going – epoel drom the imm district drawn here by the adv did not start to come in until noon

6/29 next home trading day 726

7/11 Chairman Lasdusky of the Home Trading Assoc has appointed the following coms for the next hoem trading day. Adv – h.. little. M. half. Decorateing m. grinber.

7/22 next hoem trading day — meeting last night (fri night) automobile parade as an adv feature the night before

7/25 home trading day big auto parade tomorrow

7/26 biz men’s auto parade last night – 20 cars driven all over tiown – had the effect of bringing a large # down street to shop stoday – the entire town was covred and everyone got a peep at the parade

7/27 second home trading day proved just as successful as the first one held // ed – while the crowd was not so alrge yesterday as one the first hoem tradind day, it was quite successful and there was a really more intelligent purpose to teac the people of this distrit wahat the home trading day is for.

7/31 ed about home tading day – not about sales abut about training the public

8/25 ad – third hoem trading day 8/30 (no article mentioning this!)

8/26 ed about home trading day

8/28 // big headline about home trading bargarins on p. 4-5 – they are: little’s , friedlander’s , grinebrg’s, half bros, meyer i. grinberg (again 8/29 – lasdusky added ç)

8/29 home trading day tomorrow – no amusements but more and better bargarins. Band will go out I a big wagon drawn by four horse s and will go all over town. Stores open ‘til 9.

8/30 // today home trading day but nothing on front page?! Just a local brief

8/31 8/31 home trading day brought out biz – not the crowd there was on former, there being no atractiosn, there was considering biz done, “most of the merchants doing far better than was expected, as this is just btw seasos, when little shopping is done.” Another rmeeting – another day – fall season will be here – combine the fall openigns with the bargarin day and make tw days of it. // ed ‘teaching the people to trade at home and inducing them tobecome permanent customers”

9/5 general invite to next committee mtg of home trading assoc è m. half chairman

9/6 next hoem trading day sep 19 20 – double event

9/16 ad for sept. 19th souvenir & opening day, sept. 20th home trading & grand prize day

9/19 no articles, big headlines about home trading day currently going on!  (note — scheduled before rh/yk)

9/20 today is home trading day – prize contet – pries fromè half bros, h. l. little & bros, joseph lasdusky, ben little // ed – home trading day – weathe rpropiitous – display winows handsome ly decoreated and rpesented a spelndind sapperancebeneatht ht eglare of the electri clights

10/16 [a stand-alone insert called “home trading special” list of merchants è Friedlander, morris grinberg, h.l.little & bro, jos. Lasdusky, louie freeman, m.i. grinbeg – band concert, vaudeville performance, moving picture and other features afternoon And evening, bargarins in allt he stores prize winning essay on home trading (almost impossible to read due to faded print L — on ehonorable mention is harry a. herzberger as: half bros, meyer I grinberg, jos. Lasduksy little’, Friedlander, )

10/17 attractions for home trading day – good acrobatic team – musical team – will perform no n st both aft and even aong w/ lib band // bi gfull pg ad for home trading day

10/19 record breaking home trading day – crowd the largest, total amt of biz exceeded prev by wide margin

11/11 ad for sixth home trading day on 11/15

11/14 tmorrow hoe trading day – big event hunt for the “mysterious shoppers” // full pg of ads for home trading day – -lasdusky , grinberg litt’es, , friedlander’s

11/15 box on front pg – home trading day today // [badly photographed pg fr home trading day w/ program – includes a list of merchants involved – many pages of ads]

11/24 home trading mvmt – closed up biz – all in favor conitnuint he org and maing home trding day a permanent instution

12/1 home trading meeting in savings bank – tinght?//

12/2 home traing asosc made permant è lasdusky elected prez

12/11 [xmas + home trading insert with many ads – friedlander’s lasdusky n. Schwartz b. little meyer i. bringer’s (some hotels and bars, a wholesale liquor store) little’s half bros grossman (147 8th – toys, chinaware and all kinds of holiday goods – realty bldg.) i.j .goldston (genetlemen you could do no beter on ome trading day than to walk up to our store and see our large stock of clothing, furhisns, shoes, etc. 8th ave above Dickson)


This year’s Hallowe’en conversation began on 10/7, when the paper claimed there was “small hopes for a Hallowe’en parade” because the “old committee [was] tired after five years.”  It was a “thankless job at best, subject to abuse from the ones who profit by the affair most. ”  And yet, after the past years’ successes, “the local affair had gained a big reputation and there will be hundreds of people in other towns who have been in the habit of coming here greatly disappointed when they hear that it has ben declared off as will thousands in this place.”  Even the Home Trading Association would “not take up the halloweeen celebration though they are in favor of it” (10/11).  So, the paper tried to encourage people to make the parade happen.  By 10/20 the paper announced that Homestead “will probably have a big Hallowe’en celebration.”  Enough money had been raised, but would the old committee will serve?  The next day, the committee was organized, so with a week to go, the parade was one!  They engaged three brass bands and a drum corps — none of which were affiliated the KKK as in 1908 and 1909 (10/27).

  • 10/23:  “Hallowe’en prizes coming in fast.”  Donations included H.L. Little: ladies’ slippers, Freeman’s fruit store: bunch bananas, B. Friedlander: ladies’ fine umbrella, Meyer I. Grinberg: picture, I. Grossman: pair hairclippers, Half bros.: rocker.
  • 10/24: Officials for the parade included Samuel Glick, Joseph Fried, Samuel Half,  and Leo Half.
  • 10/25: Parade judges included Morris Half.  Their stand would be at 8th & Ann.  A prize came in from Joseph Lasdusky.
10/30: Hallowe'en Prizes. Note the listing of the top of the second column -- "Best Hebrew Makeup?!?!"

10/30: Hallowe’en Prizes. Note the listing of the top of the second column — “Best Hebrew Makeup?!?!”  They’re all pretty un-PC if you keep reading…

  • 10/30:  The complete list of Hallowe’en costume categories and prizes were announced.  You can read it at right.  Some select categories:  “Best boy negro makeup,” “best negro makeup,” and man/woman/girl/boy impersonators!!!  Also, the “best Hebrew makeup” would win a “sack flour.”

On Hallowe’en day the paper exhorted everyone to “come down street early tonight for the big Hallowe’en celebration.”  The next day they summarized that the “Hallowe’en demonstration furnished much fun and amusement last night…everything passed off nicely there being no roughness…The display window of Lasdusky’s store, which won the first prize last night, at the Halowe’en demonstration, was decorated by Mr. Lasdusky’s son, Lewis, aged 16 years. Young Lasdusky expect to make window decoration a part of his business and his work which won the prize last night gives him room for encouragement.”  Andy Zakhar won the prize for “Best Hebrew makeup.”  Little, the Shoe Man won for third best float or wagon in line.


A major battle took place this year between Homestead and other boroughs against Pittsburgh, which wanted to annex them to become part of Pittsburgh (as they had successful done with Allegheny City in 1906-7, now the northside).  Eventually the bill was killed in Harrisburg, but not without a lot of effort on the part of everyone in all these towns.  It wasn’t the first or the last time these towns would be at risk for being subsumed into the city.

  • 3/6: In the midst of ongoing politicking to reorganize the borough council, a caucus was called for Saturday. “Frankel, Davies, and Jones at once objected to any change in the agreement made on Thursday night. They stated it was a gentlemen’s agreement and that every member should stand by his word…Frankel first got up and left the caucus, then Davies and then Jones. This left matters in a chaotic state and all day yesterday the roads were burned, so to speak, to patch matters up in readiness for the meeting of council tonight….” Also. All this happened on Shabbat!
  • 3/18: To deal with the Greater City bill up for consideration, a committee of five borough councilmen was selected to go to Harrisburg, including Frankel!
  • 3/21: There were also five delegates representing the businessmen of Homestead, including Frankel and Louis Moss.
  • 12/18:  “Councilman Morris Frankel of the Second ward will introduce a resolution at the next meeting of council providing for the opening of the crossings over the Pennsylvania railroad tracks at the intersection of City Farm Lane, Gold alley, Stone alley, and Tammany alley.  He claims an absolute necessity for these crossings on account of property owners and tenants residing on or near the street and alleys being unable to cross the tracks at these intersections and that some who are employed at the mills are sometimes late owing to their having to take a roundabout way to get to their work.”  For some reason this article included a photograph of Frankel?!
19110318 drawing

3/18: “Local Delegation Ready To Invade the State Capital.” A cartoon from the front page of Homestead’s paper depicting all the borough representatives heading to Harrisburg to defeat the Greater Pittsburgh bill. Frankel was one of the men behind the Homestead flag!

Liquor Licenses

  • 1/14: “Samuel Markowitz, a wholesale liquor dealer of Homestead, and his driver, J. Singer, were arrested yesterday” on the charge “that Markowitz had solicitor and collectors in ‘dry’ territory. They also claimed that the driver delivered liquor in a wagon which does bear a license number. The men furnished $1000 bail each” before the hearing in East Pittsburgh.
  • 1/18: “At a hearing yesterday” in Turtle Creek “Samuel Markowitz, a wholesale liquor dealer of 465 Fourth avenue, was held for court under $500 bail, charged with selling liquor in a local option district and delivering the liquor by a wagon which not contain a license number.”
  • 2/13: 2012 total license applicants were submitted, 46 more than last year.
  • 2/27: “Samuel Markowitz, wholesale liquor dealer at 4565 Fourth avenue, and his driver, John Singer, were acquitted of the charge of illegal liquor selling in criminal court before Judge Carnahan on Friday and the costs were put on the county. The charge was made before a Rankin justice of the peace, where it was alleged he sold liquor in a local option district. Both Mr. Markowitz and the driver were fully exonerated from the charge of any violation of the liquor law.” (Note than in every article the town changed!)
  • 4/6: “Enough Saloons Now Says Judge – Rather Discouraging Outlook for the New Applicants in Homestead.” All the applicants were nervous (3/29). The liquor applicants claimed more cafes were needed (3/30).
  • 4/26: “All the old applicants for retail license in Homestead, West Homestead, and Hays were granted, and all the new ones were refused. In the wholesale list in which there was considerable local interest… Markowitz’s application as withdrawn, Sam Mervis was refused, and M.D. Weiss was also refused…all the other wholesale licenses here were granted.”
  • 4/27: Because the results were taken over the telephone “a mistake was made in the case of Samuel Markowitz, a wholesale dealer at 465 Fourth avenue. It was stated that he had withdrawn his application but that was a mistake and he was granted his license. Jacob Blumberger, an applicant for a wholesale license at 450 Third avenue, was refused, which was not included in the report yesterday.”
  • 9/7:  Many sought transfer of liquor licenses: J.M. Glass, 611 Ann street, to Samuel Mervis; Philip Cohn of Duquesne (a former Homesteader!) to Michael Moski.

Fire (and context)

All the articles about the synagogue arson itself can be read here. But there were numerous other fires before and after, many involving Jewish businesses. The next part of the story, the decision whether to rebuild or start anew, is taken up here.

  • 1/6: The town was in imminent danger of a water famine, because the intake pipes of the water works were clogged and the supply in reservoir was small.
  • 1/10: A serious fire destroyed the stock of B. Gross‘ store, but mostly spared Emanuel Mervis‘ barbershop in the rear of the building. “The fire is thought to have resulted from crossed electric light wires in the rear” of the building. (Full article below.) (1/14: As though that weren’t enough, while Gross’ night watchman was “Eating his midnight meal, thieves broken in B. Gross’ clothing and shoe store” and packed a suitcase full of stolen items. “The store has been closed since the fire last Tuesday morning, the fire loss not being adjusted” by the insurers.)
  • 1/12: Judge Gary, the head of US Steel, said a cut in steel prices was unlikely. Although the article doesn’t say so, the discussion suggests that the steel industry must be in a weak position. The economic conditions are relevant because Homestead frequently had bouts of arson when times were tough.
  • 1/14: The paper exhorted water consumers to be careful, because the flood in river interferes with the intake pipe.
  • 1/17: “Water famine is still threatening” Homestead due to the intake pipe problem. “No real relief expected during the week.” The chief of the fire department, as soon as the water had been turned off to attempt repairs, “had a man stationed on the hill ready to open the gates of the reservoir in case of fire.” Hmmm… was our firebug reading this and getting ideas. There was another fire that day, the Ideal Barber Shop was again on fire. “The fire looked queer…fire chief C.K. Bryce is suspicious…and will investigate it.” There was no damage “owing to the prompt action” of a fireman.
  • 1/30: “Another disastrous fire of mysterious origin!” This time — the store of H.M. Markley (sic). The loss to the goods in the store is $6,000 and damage to the building $1,500. The fire started in the rear of the building. (Full article below.)
  • 1/31: There was a fire at Adam Schut’s grocery in Lincoln Place (a suburb of Homestead).
  • 2/1: Another mysterious fire broke out in the store room of H. Szenbach of 525 Fifth ave. All the stock was ruined. “This fire, as all the others have been, started in the rear.” There was a great variance in the estimate of the value of property between the fire chief and the store’s proprietor.
  • 2/4: Fire Causes Talk
  • 2/6: There was a small fire Sunday morning, which stemmed from the breaking of a chandelier.
  • 2/9: The paper reported on indications of better times, another hint that economic conditions were not good, though the paper hadn’t reported on that clearly.
  • 2/11: All O.H. (open hearth) furnaces at steel works were set to resume, and Mesta had a rush order, the paper wrote. “Things are brightening up…the past week was the best since the first of the year.” However, adjacent to these headlines was: Fire Badly Gutted the Interior of the Synagauge (sic)
  • 2/13: Jewish Mass Meeting Will Be Held Tonight. And adjacent, the “short messages” section noted the more prosperous conditions.
  • 2/14: Five Hundred Dollars Reward; editorial, An Unjust Judgement, and an arson-related poem in Short Messages
  • 2/15: Rats were blamed for the fires affecting three buildings on Eighth avenue. Robert Savage and Louis Freeman were among those affected. Related to the synagogue arson were two articles: The $500 Reward and another arson-related poem in Short Messages
  • 2/16: One of the short messages was, “when speaking of the fire yesterday morning on Eighth avenue, don’t say ‘rats.’”
  • 2/18: Rascals Among Every Race
  • 3/2: There were three small fires yesterday and last evening.
  • 3/16: So… despite the reward, there wasn’t even a suspect for the arson. But early this morning “two prominent stores on Eight avenue wee entered…At the house furnishing store of Meyer Grinberg, at 209 Eighth avenue, a safe weighing from 1,000 to 12000 pounds was carried from the first floor of the building to the basement, where it was blown open and $75, all it contained, was stolen…The burglars then visited the store and residence of I.S. Grossman, at 345 Eighth avenue, where they broke open the cash register and took the change amounting to $15″ and “ransacked” the family’s rooms upstairs, “securing Mr. Grossman’s gold watch and $35 in money.” The thought is that the burglaries were “the work of professionals” who “gained access…by the use of skeleton keys.” Whoa. 3/17: Two suspects were arrested pending an investigation. The county detective was “of the opinion that the robbery yesterday was the work of two gangs of burglars, as safe blowers would hardly stop to rob a residence, but would leave after making a successful haul.”  In November I.J. Goldston‘s safe was cracked, too.
  • 3/20: There was excitement that there was a fire, but it was extinguished before it could cause any damage.
  • 6/8:  “A Suspicious Fire Is Reported in the Second Ward — Little Doubt but That It Was of Incindeniary Origin as a Lot of Soaked Rags Were Found Beside a Large Oil Can Which Had Been Placed in the Room.”  The incident was a”a small fire in the basement of the grocery store of Moses Carpe, at 310 Dickson street, early yesterday morning” which “originated in the basement under a window which had been taken out and it is thought was ignited by someone on the outside.  The fire was in a bundle of rags which lay on the floor alongside a large can of oil….the loss is not over $50.”
  • And yet:  6/10:  “Business Conditions Are Better in Homestead — Retail Merchants Say They Have Noticed a Change for the Better.”  “Business has been better in Homestead for the past three or four weeks than for some time past…There is no big boom on but there was been a substantial gain in the retail businesses…Things about the big steel plant are moving along fairly well, all the departments running at least a part of the time and all the men are at least getting half time, and a majority full time.”  A headline from 6/29, “Steel Business Still Improving — Steel Corporation Plants Now Operating at 68 Per Cent of Its Capacity — A Steady Gain in Orders Noted,” provided some context for a larger industry turn-around at that time.  Such articles continued through the summer.
  • 6/12 brought another arson to the confectionary and fruit store of Samuel Culotte.
  • 6/20:  “Twice within 12 hours the grocery store of Joseph Klein, at 450 Third avenue, was visited by fire.  The origin is steeped in the deepest mystery.”  The first fire happened when several thousand boxes of matches “were discovered to be afire.”  The second began in the cellar, and unlike the previous, which just damaged merchandise, this one caused $2000 in damage to the building and injuries to Mrs. Klein.  Despite all of these continuing fires, the paper’s coverage no longer suggests there is a firebug or an investigation or town rumors or anything as before.  They’re just treated a small, individual events.

I never found an article related to the capture of the arsonist or even the identification of a suspect.  The town’s water problems resumed in a serious way in September, with the same ominous warnings about how it would affect the fire department’s capabilities.

Work Woes

  • 1/16: Three dealers – John Port, H. Szelbach, and I. Miller – claimed they were not guilty under the new cigarette law. The paper noted that they were all foreigners. Their defense will be that parents send children to buy them cigarettes not for the boys’ use, or that the boys are often sent from a foreign boarding house to get large quantities for the boarders.
  • 1/18: “In one of the most thrilling and startling railroad accidents that ever occurred here, John Mock and Louis Kerella, drivers for Samuel Markowitz, a wholesale liquor dealer of 465 Fourth avenue, had a miraculous escape from death last evening, when the wagon in which they were cross the tracks…was struck by a passenger training going in one direction and hurled against a freight train passing in an opposition direction on an adjoining track..Both of the horses were killed and the wagon completed demolished. The escape of the two men from instant death, considering the circumstances of the accident, is almost without a precedent…”
  • 3/15: “There was a busy time yesterday afternoon for the police which were led a (sic) merry chase over town for two well dressed men who were trying to have the merchants cash a check for $42 drawn on a bank in the city. The men visited the wholesale liquor store of Samuel Markowitz on Third avenue, but when Chief Thomas arrived the men left when their check was turned down…”
  • 7/10:  “Two youthful robbers…entered the clothing and shoe store of Ben Little at 609 and 611 Eighth avenue, and the cigar and confectionary store of Harry Aberback (sic), which is in an alcove between the other two stores, at 2 o’clock yesterday morning and secured a half dozen pairs of shoes and other small articles and from the small store a quantity of chewing gum, tobacco and cigars…”  (7/15:  An officer, who was accused of being off his beat when the two boys robbed Little’s store, was exonerated.)
  • 7/10:  “A horse attached to the delivery wagon of Samuel Markowitz, the wholesale liquor dealer, at 465 East Fourth avenue, ran away this afternoon about 1 o’clock, colliding with a street car at Rankin junction on the opposite side of the river.  Mr. Markowitz and his son, Charles, were badly injured.  They were brought to their home in an ambulance and both are said to be in a critical condition.  The wagon was wrecked and the horse so badly injured it is thought it will have to be shot.”7/11:  “Word received from the Braddock hospital at noon today stated that Louis Schwartz and his son, Morris, who were injured in a runaway accident yesterday afternoon at Rankin Junction were getting along well; no bones were broken and both, it is expected, will be out in a few days.  The news of the accident was received just before going to press yesterday and the report was that it was Samuel Markowitz and his son who were injured. Mr. Markowitz is a wholesale liquor dealer and owns the team but it was his brother-in-law and his son who were in the wagon and were injured when the horse ran away and dashed into a street car.”
  • 7/22:  “A $20 gold piece which Mrs. Paul Gruzosl says she gave S.A. Goldstein, a huckster of Eighth avenue and West street, in paying for a dozen bananas and only got 80 cents last evening, almost caused a riot in front of the police station which resulted in the huckster having about $10 worth of fruit smashed…Goldstein claimed the woman gave him a one dollar silver piece and not the valuable gold coin she alleged.  There being no evidence in support of the woman’s charge the huckster was not detained.”
  • 9/6:  “Samuel Fogel, a grocer, of 336 E. Third avenue, filed a debtor’s petition in bankruptcy in the United States district court yesterday afternoon, giving his liabilities as $1,836.24 with assets amounting to $1717.62.”
  • 10/16:  “Since the grocery store of Samuel Fogel at 326 Third avenue was closed by bankruptcy proceedings a few weeks ago a series of robberies have been committed in the store, which culminated last night in the loss of $50 worth of goods and the arrest of five boys ranging between the ages of 10 and 14 years…”
  • 10/24:  “A bolt on the wagon of Solomon [Weiss] broke at the corner of Eighth avenue and Hays street, causing the wagon to strike the animal, which became frightened and dashed up street at break-beck speed.  Mr. Weiss was thrown from the wagon, alighting with considerable force on the street, while the two men in the wagon escaped injury by jumping.”  Weiss, of 563? Third avenue injured his left shoulder and had “contused wounds on body.” A passerby was injured, too.
  • 11/9:  “Albert Gross, the proprietor of a general store at the corner of Eighth avenue and McClure street, had a thrilling experience last night about 9 o’clock just as he was about to close up for the night, being thrown threw (sic) a display window by a man he had detected at shoplifting…”  Full article below.
  • 11/13:  “Safe crackers made a successful haul early yesterday morning by breaking open the safe and securing jewelry and money to the value of $1,200 in the store of J.J. Goldston (sic), at 617 and 619 Eighth avenue.  The burglary is supposed to have been the work of professionals who have been working in the county for two years past and have always eluded capture…”  Full article below, including the details of the $1,200 in jewelry and money stolen.  The paper wrote an editorial bemoaning how such robber gangs always elude capture.
  • 12/1:  “Charles Foerst, who was employed for several years, until two weeks ago, as a cabinet maker here, disappeared from town on Wednesday night and when three checks which he had given out for a total of nearly $100…came in this morning, it was discovered that the name of Half Bros., well known furniture dealers on Eighth avenue, by whom Foerst had been employed, had been forged to the checks…Mose Half, of the furniture company, was astonished hear of the man’s actions as he had been trusted by them and he had known him for over 20 years…”
  • 2/22:  “In a disastrous fire which occurred early this morning near the rifle range on Nine Mile Run on the opposite side of the rier, the barn of David Jacobson, a dairyman, was consumed and 23 head of cows, 5 horses, 300 children were cremated, and 20 ton of hay burned.  The fire was discovered by Max Jacobson, Mr. Jacobson’s son…The loss is estimate at about $3,000 and the insurance is $1,350…Mr. Jacobson is well known in Homestead, where he delivers milk, which is consigned to his brother, Louis Jacobson, of 530 Dickson street.”  Full article below.


  • 2/9: “Meyer I. Grinberg, proprietor of a leading household furnishing store, arrived home from Bellaire, O., this morning, where he was buying enamelware.”
  • 3/22: “Lasdusky’s millinery opening will be held on Thursday and Friday of this week.”
  • 3/24: In a long article the paper reviewed the spring openings of various stores, including Half Brothers, Lasdusky, and Friedlander‘s. (Articles below.) The article mentioned that David Hirshberg was the advertising manager of Half Bros, Miss Rena Heilbron was the “head maker” of Lasdusky’s millers, and that Miss Fineholtz and Mrs. Lasdusky were responsible for his dry goods department.
  • 3/30: “Many Business Changes – Merchants Have Bought New Locations For a Year – Avenue Transformed – The Trend of Business Extending Down From Steel Mills–Many Improvements in the Store.” These changes included Jesse Wolk “closing out his shoe store,” and “I. Grossman is to move from the corner of Ammon street to the…Realty building and Peter Fey is to move from his present location into the room vacated by Grossman, which he owns.” Both of these casual mentions conceal bigger stories: Jesse Wolk was quitting business due to poor health and bankruptcy, and Grossman only found out at the last second that he would be forced to move. See their ads below.

2/22: Wolk's Trustee Sale

2/22: Wolk’s Trustee Sale

3/24: Wolk Quitting Business Forever

3/24: Wolk Quitting Business Forever

3/27: Grossman's Great Removal Sale. "We...did not know until this day that the landlord would compel us to move."

3/27: Grossman’s Great Removal Sale. “We…did not know until this day that the landlord would compel us to move.”

  • 4/14: “Little, the shoe man, is having his Easter opening today and tomorrow and is making one of the finest displays in the town. His four large windows are fine examples of the decorative art having been designed and arranged by Mr. Little and his assistant, Samuel Fogel. In the interior is being shown a fine stock of ladies’ and mens’ spring and summer shoes.” 4/14 was the second day of Passover…
  • 4/15: Half Brothers held their spring opening yesterday. From 2-9:30 PM “at least five thousand people visited the store, listened to the music, saw the various demonstrations, secured souvenirs and inspected the fine display of goods. It was by far the most successful opening that has ever been held by that firm.” The article quoted advertising manager David Hirshberg in expressing the store’s pleasure.
  • 4/18: Officer Adolph Lefkowitz was suspended as the result of a fight. “Bert Pace whose son was arrested by officer Lefkowitz stated at the hearing last night before Burgess T.L. Davis, that when the officer placed his boy, Peter, under arrest after he was struck and knocked down by Joseph Kennedy, he appealed to the officer to arrest the man. He alleged that Kennedy told the officer that he could not place him under arrest and struck Pace in the face while in charge of the officer…At the hearing last evening, officer Lefkowitz called Pace, the father of the boy, a liar…and in his own defense said he didn’t see the fight.”
  • 4/22: “I. Grossman, will move into the Realty building next week.” Guess he got a bit of a reprieve on the deadline. 4/29: “I. Grossman has moved from 501 Eighth avenue to the Realty building, where he will be pleased to greet his old patrons.”
  • 9/29:  “Never did the stores of Homestead have such an auspicious opening as that of last night, all the business houses being simply jammed from 7 to 9 o’clock and never did they appear to better advantage…Lasdusky‘s is another place where there is an usually beautiful display arranged by Miss Barringer, the head milliner, and her able corps of assistants…Friedlander is another one who is outdoing himself this year in the millinery department of his store…He has gone into this branch of his business deeper than ever this year and has a large force of milliners, designers and trimmers at work…”
  • 10/31:  “Morris Half, of the firm of Half bros., left last night for New York, where he will purchase carpets and other supplies for the big store. Mr. Half was accompanied by his brother, Felix. They will witness the big doings by the navy and other events while in the East.”
  • 12/20:  “Ben Little, who has for a number of years been in business at 609-611 Eighth avenue, announces that he is going to quit the clothing business and hereafter devote all his time to his other lines and with this end in view he announces a big sale for this week, which is something out of the usual for the week before Christmas…”

Personal Woes

  • 1/25: Well, here’s something appalling! A dog was running around town with the head of a child in its mouth! “Councilman Morris Frankel was the first who saw the strange sight.” The headline claimed that “Mr. Frankel Spreads the News.” The mother of the child was found 5 days later. She was a domestic in home of Max Klein, 555 Fifth avenue, who claimed she was sick after the child was born 2 weeks ago and didn’t know what happened after.
  • 1/31: “Mrs. Meyer I. Grinberg of Twelfth avenue, who has had a severe attack of the grip the past week is able to be about again.”
  • 3/3: “Dr. Leo Little, a prominent dentist of this place, is on the sick list.” 3/11: “Dr. L.T. Little, of Eighth avenue, who has been laid up with an attack of pneumonia for the past three weeks was abel to be at this office this morning.”
  • 3/25: “Edward Lowenstein, of Half bros. store, who has been sick for the past two weeks, is able to be about again.”
  • 4/29: “Samuel Ferderbery (sic), proprietor of the Camp avenue hotel, Duquesne, and brother in law of Councilman Morris Frankel, of Fifth avenue, who died the early part of this week, was buried yesterday in the Homestead Hebrew cemetery.”
  • 5/25:  “Mrs. Bessie Gross, nee Seigle, aged 26 years wife of Albert B. Gross, of Eighth avenue, died last evening at her home in the apartment of the Odd Fellow Temple No. 331, Ninth avenue after an illness of two weeks.  She was a resident of this vicinity for the past 14 years and was a member of the Hebrew congregation and societies of the church and was highly respected.  The remains was (sic) forwarded this afternoon to McKees Rocks where interment will be made.  She is survived by her husband and son Malvia (sic?) and Harvey.”5/27:  “Through the investigation of the coronor (sic) into the cause of the death of Mrs. Bessie Gross, who died in her apartments in the Odd Fellows temple this week, a warrant was sworn out for the arrest of Dr. J.H. McLaughlin, of Braddock, the cause of death having it alleged, been due to an operation.  While the physicians was confined in the county jail for a preliminary hearing before Alderman Martin, of Pittsburg, great efforts were made to suppress the name and it was with grat (sic) difficulty it was obtained.”  (Her death certificate lists the cause of death as, “general peritonitis following abortion.”)6/13: The paper reported on the trial of Dr. McLaughlin “on the charge of performing a criminal operation which resulted in the death of Mrs. A.B. Gross.”  Reviewing the events which led to the trial, “To the general surprise Dr. C.C. Huff, superintendent of vital statistics, refused to give a death certificate and reported the case to the coroner which resulted in the ar[rest…].”  The doctor “was also indicted last week on the charge of selling cocaine.”  (The Pittsburgh Gazette Times, 6/16/1911, p. 13, also covered it.)9/8:  “Dr. J.H. McLaughlin, of Braddock, was ordered acquitted by Judge J.M. Swearingen in criminal court yesterday.  Dr. McLaughlin was charged with a felony in connection with the death of Mrs. Bessie Gross, of Homestead, who died May 8 (sic), of peritonitis, said to have been the result of an illegal operation” (The Pittsburgh Post, p. 8).
  • 6/2/1911


    6/2:  “Joseph Lasdusky, president of the Home Trading society, had a new coat taken from his desk while busily engaged in another portion of his store, which was recovered by the police in a local pawn shop…”

  • 6/10:  “Miss Rena Heilbron, of Seventh avenue and Amity street who underwent an operation for her throat in the Homestead hospital last Wednesday, is improving.”
  • 7/18:  “While demonstrating a new safety revolver to a number of friends yesterday afternoon Morris Murvis (sic?), a tailor of 611 Dickson street, had a narrow escape from death and is confined to his home suffering from a bullet wound to his right knee.”  He was shot when he threw the revolver on the floor as part of a test for his friends.
  • 7/22: “Max Glick, aged 29 years, a son of Henry Glick, a well known citizen of Fourth avenue, and a brother-in-law of Joseph Lasdusky, president of the school board, died on Thursday at a sanitarium at White Haven, after a long illness with tuberculosis. He was, before taking sick, a department manager in Lasdusky’s store and a year ago went to Colorado for the benefit of his health. Having not improved he returned and entered the sanitarium five weeks ago. He is survived by his wife and one child, his parents, four brothers and four sisters. The funeral will be held tomorrow afternoon at 2 o’clock at the home of his parents, 514 East Fourth avenue and will be in the charge of the I.O.B.B., of which he was a member. He was also a member of the Magdala lodge 991, I.O.O.F. The internment will be made in the Hebrew cemetery near Homeville.”  7/24: The paper repoted on the funeral, “attended by a large number of relatives and friends of the family,” including many members of the Magdala lodge 991.
  • 7/25:  “Ethel Jacobson, aged two years, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David Jacobson of Brown Station died last evening at 11 o’clock.  The child had been ill for a few days and its death was due to cholera merbgs (sic).  Funeral arrangements have not been completed.”
  • 8/15:  Uh oh, my great-uncle Alexander Hepps, a merchant of 315 Dickson street, shot a man in the rear of his store thinking he was a burglar, but it turned out to be Paul Burg, his 16 year-old neighbor.  His uncle, Mark Fishel, “preferred a charge of felionus (sic) shooting against Alexander Hepps” who “was held under $1,000 bail for a hearing.”  (Full article below.) 8/30:  A headline from a couple weeks later, “Boy Shot by Hepps In Serious Condition…Show no Signs of Recovery–The Doctors Are Puzzled at His Condition,” did not bode well.
  • 8/22:  “Solomon Lazerovitz of 406 Fourth avenue is lying at his home seriously injured by being struck on the head by a robber at the store of his son, Himan Lazerovitz, at 459 West Seventh avenue, on Saturday night.  The aged man went to his son’s store on Saturday evening to attend to customers.”  A customer who behaved in a suspicious manner left and return to knock him unconscious and steal money from the store.  He was found by his neighbor, H. Seigel.  “While his wound is serious, he will likely recover.”
  • 9/21:  Lena Geislinger, a widow with a son in German working and a long-time Homestead domestic, attempted suicide on her first day of employment for Isaac Hertz, his wife, and son Edward, 552 Fourth avenue.  She tried to cut her throat with a knife.
  • 10/7:  “A.L. Hepps, of Dickson street, was held by Justice J. Clyde Miller this morning under $1,000 bail for court on the charge of felonious shooting, preferred by Mrs. H. Burg, of Dickson street, in behalf of her son, Paul, aged 15 years.  On the night of August 15th Mr. Hepps saw a man in the yard in the rear of his store which adjoins the Burg home and he asked who was there and receiving no answer opened fire.  One of the bullets hit Mrs. Burg’s son, Paul, who was in the backward and he dropped to the ground screaming with pain.  He was taken to the Homestead hospital and later to the Montefiore hospital, where he underwent an X-ray examination to locate the bullet.  It was considered dangerous to remove the bullet and it was allowed to remain in the boy’s body.  The body claims he answered Mr. Hepps when he called but he opened fire at him when he was in his own yard.”
  • 10/31:  “Fire was discovered about 3 o’clock in the large building at 505 Fifth avenue occupied as a fruit store and a tenement house, from which several women and children on the second floor had to flee in their nightclothes to avoid suffocation.  The fire was discovered by Councilman Morris Frankel, of the Second ward, who sent in an alarm and, arousing the sleeping inmates, assisted in getting them safely out of the building.  The store room on the first floor is occupied by B. Mintz as a fruit and confectionary store and he and his family live in the rear…The fire department responded promptly and saved the building and the damage to it is not large.  The proprietor of the store claims his damage to stock amounts to $1,500.  The cause of the fire could not be explained.”
  • 11/17: “Adolph L. Hepps (sic), a merchant of Dickson street, who was endicted (sic) on the charge of felonious shooting was acquitted at a jury trial in criminal court yesterday. On the night of August 16, Mr. Hepps saw some one in the yard next to his store and thinking the person was a burglar fired at him. An investigation revealed that the one shot at was Ralph Burgh, the son of Mrs. Hermine Burgh, who lives in an adjoining house. The boy was struck in the back and spent sometime (sic) in the Homestead hospital.”11/20:  “Paul Burgh and his mother, Herminie Burgh, of 317 Dickson street, entered suit Saturday in common pleas court in which $15,000 damages is asked against Adolph L. Hepps (sic?), a merchant, of 404 Dickson street.  The suit is an outgrowth of the alleged shooting of Paul Burgh, a minor, by the defendant on the night of August 15 without provocation, the bullet lodging in the left lung of the boy.  It was alleged by the defendant in a criminal trial in which he was acquitted last week, that the lad was in the yard adjoining his store and Hepps mistook him for a burglar.”
  • 11/18:  There were a large number of damage suits again the borough on account of street improvements, including one brought by Samuel Moranz.
  • 12/21:  “Miss Hazel Hepps, who had her right foot severely scalded at her home on Dickson street, last Tuesday is slowly improving.”


  • 1/7: “Louis Moss will leave for New York tonight on a pleasure trip…Ben Little will leave this evening for Baltimore to attend his brother, H.L. Little’s wedding.”
  • 1/16: “Ben. Little, A.D. Slocum, D.J. Crawford, Dr. Oeffner and Louis Moss have arrived home from New York.” I assume this is where they went after the Little wedding (more below).
  • 1/27: “H.L. Little, the well known shoe merchant of the firm of Little bros., who was married in Baltimore three weeks ago, returned with his bride yesterday.”
  • 1/30: “Miss Rose Fogel is spending a few weeks with her parents at Tyrone.”
  • 2/16: “Max Glick and wife have returned from Denver, Colo., and will reside in the future on West street.”
  • 2/21: “Miss Rose Fogel and brother, Samuel, of Homestead, who have been visiting their parents at Tyrone, have returned here.”
  • 2/22: “Mrs. Adelheide Hirshburg, of Louisville, Ky., is visiting her son, David Hirshburg of Half Bros. She is so pleased with this place that she contemplate making her home here. While here she will visit the towns along the Monongahela Valley and other points of interest in the vicinity.” He is the advertising manager for Half Brothers.
  • 3/23: “Arthur Grossman, of Eighth avenue, returned home last night from Grove City College.”
  • 3/28: “Joseph Lasdusky left this morning for Harriburg, in the interests of an appropriation for the Montifiore (sic) hospital.”
  • 4/17: “Mrs. Rosa Markus (sic?) wil sail tomorrow on the Kaiser Wilhelm II for Bremen via Plymouth and Cherbourg.”
  • 4/20: “Mrs. Morris Frankel, of Fifth avenue, left this morning for Cambridge, Mass., to visit her son, Charles, who is attending Harvard College there.” 4/27: “Mrs. Morris Frankel, of Fifth avenue, returned home yesterday from Cambridge, Mass., where she visited her son, Charles, who is attending Harvard College.”
  • 4/29: “Miss Ruth Grossman, of Eighth avenue, was the guest of friends in Braddock last evening.”
  • 5/2:  “I.S. Grossman, of Eighth avenue, was a business caller in Pittsburg yesterday.”
  • 5/8:  “Mrs. I.S. Grossman left yesterday morning for Grove City, where she will visit her son, Arthur, who is attending school there.”
  • 6/5:  “Morris Fogle, a former member of the the police force now of Fort Matilda, Center Co., and wife are visiting friends in this vicinity.”  Naturally!  Their daughter was getting married the next day!
  • 6/7:  “Mose Silverman, who has been visiting his sister, Mrs. H.L. Little, of this place, returned to his home in Baltimore yesterday… Jacob Weiss, manager of the foreign department of the Monongahela trust co,, and wife, left this morning for a three weeks’ vacation at Cambridge Springs.”  6/27:  “Jacob Weiss, manager of the foreign department of the Monongahela trust co. and his wife returned home yesterday after a few weeks sojourn in Cambridge Springs.”
  • 7/7:  “Mose Half and family are spending their vacation at Ebensburg.”  7/21:  “Morris Half of Half bros. has returned home after a trip Ebensburg.”
  • 7/8:  “Louis Noss (sic?) has returned home after a brief visit to Cleveland.”
  • 7/12:  “Attorney Abe Stein, a member of the legislation from a district, was a Homestead visitor last evening.”  He was a prominent area Jew who participated in the first and second synagogue dedications.
  • 8/4:  “Louis Moss, of Fourth avenue, returned yesterday after a few days’ visit to Sudbury.”
  • 8/7:  “Miss Jeannette Spira, who has been the guest of Mr. and Mrs Jos. Katz, of Eighth avenue for the past two months, returned to her home in Centerburg, Ohio, yesterday.”
  • 8/8:  “Mrs. Morris Grinberg, of Twelfth avenue, is spending a few weeks at Markelton, Pa.”
  • 8/11:  “Miss Ruth Grossman of Eighth avenue, was an out-of-town visitor yesterday.”
  • 8/17:  “Joseph Lasdusky, accompanied by his wife will leave today for Atlantic City; and New York, where they will spend a few weeks.”
  • 8/18:  “Miss Rose Weiss, of Ninth avenue has returned home from Cambridge Springs, where she has spent the last few weeks…Arthur Grossman, of Eighth avenue, who has been sojourning at Cambridge Springs, is expected home Sunday.”
  • 8/23:  “Joseph Lasdusky, president of the school board is spending the week in New York.”
  • 8/24:  “Mrs. Morris Grinberg of Twelfth avenue who has been spending a few weeks at Markelton, Pa., has returned home.”
  • 9/5:  “Samuel, Henry, Harry and Ceceila Glick, left on Sunday in the former’s automobile for Cambridge Springs. They will return about September 15.”
  • 9/9:  “Louis Segelman, of Eighth avenue, leaves tomorrow morning for a week’s visit to Philadelphia.”
  • 9/14:  “Louis Goldman, of Bellevernon (sic), spent yesterday with friends on Twelfth avenue.”
  • 9/20:  “H.L. Little left last evening for Baltimore to join his wife, who has been spending some time there. They expect to return the latter part of the week.”
  • 9/26:  “Miss Bessie Gross, of McClure street, was a visitor in Pittsburg yesterday.”
  • 9/27:  “Miss Dora Goldstein, of Eighth avenue, was a visitor in Pittsburg last evening.”
  • 10/14:  “Miss Jennie Lebowitz, of Fourth avenue, is visiting friends in Sewickley Heights.”
  • 11/4:  “Coucilman Morris Frankel, of the Second ward, left yesterday on a business trip east and will be away several days.”11/11: “Councilman Morris Frankel, of the Second ward, arrived home this morning from the East, where he had been for the past week on business. He had seen in the Eastern papers the account of the death of Hon. John F. Cox but the information arrived too late for him to attend the funeral. The sudden death of the Speaker on 11/6 was a great shock to the Second ward councilman, who was so closely associated with him…” Before he was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, John F. Cox was a long-time member of Homestead’s borough council. The second time Frankel ran and lost, there was bad blood between him and Cox, and once Frankel finally joined the council, he was “lined up against Cox and his gang.”  I guess they got over their issues when I wasn’t paying attention.  Naturally Homestead mourned their favorite son intensely.
  • 11/6:  “Miss Sadie Siegle, and Miss Rose Freedman, were visitors in Pittsburg, last evening.”
  • 11/20:  “Samuel Fogle, of Little’s shoe store, is spending a few days with parents in Tyrone.”
  • 11/20:  “Mrs. M. Sneidman, who has been visiting her sister Mrs. H.L. Little of Twelfth avenue, accompanied by her father, Harry Silverman, who arrived on Saturday with his daughter Miss Toby Silverman, return to their home in Baltimore yesterday. Miss Toby will remain here for some time.”
  • 11/25:  “Miss Ruth Grossman, of Eighth avenue, visited relatives in Pittsburg today.”


  • 1/7: “Hyman L. Little, a prominent young business man of this place, is to be married Tuesday to Miss Celia Silverman, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Harris Silverman, of Baltimore. The ceremony will take place at the home of the bride’s parents…Quite a number of Homesteaders will attend the wedding, including several members of the Homestead-Canadian Fishing club, of which the groom is a member…The bride’s father is one of the largest manufacturers of clothing in Baltimore and stands high in business circles in that city, and his daughter is well known and popular. Mr. Little is in the shoe business here and is looked upon as one of the leading and most progressive young business men of the town…” 1/11: A long article (below) describes the wedding, from the bride’s dress to the flowers and the reception. The attendees from Homestead included his brother, Ben. Little, and D.J. Crawford, Dr. P.J. Oefner, Louie Moss and A.D. Slocum.
  • 2/16: “Miss Belle Levowitz (sic), of Jerome street, McKeesport, daughter of Mrs. Cecelia Levowitz, and Dr. Benjamin M. Berger, of Homestead, son of Mr. and Mrs. Max Berger, of McKeesport, were married yesterday afternoon at 6 o’clock at the ‘Tree of Life’ synagogue by the Rev. Rudolph I. Coffee. The wedding was witness by the bride’s mother, Mr. and Mrs. Max Berger, Mr. and Mrs. Morley Levowitz and Miss Rosella Berger, sister of the groom. After the wedding a supper was served at the home of the bridge, after which the couple left for a trip to the east. They are expected home the beginning of next week. The young couple will go to housekeeping in Homestead.”
  • 4/4: “Sam Glueck, of Third avenue, is all smiles over the arrival of a baby boy Saturday evening. Mother and child are doing nicely.”
  • 5/12:  “Officer Adolph Lefkowitz is smiling over a charming girl which arrived at his home this week.”
  • 5/31: Contest winners, including Rena Heilbron! The first and second place finishers got a tour of Europe. Rena and five other girls got trips to Niagara Falls. The four girls behind them got a diamond ring or gold watches.

    5/31: Contest winners, including Rena Heilbron! The first and second place finishers got a tour of Europe. Rena and five other girls got trips to Niagara Falls. The four girls behind them got a diamond ring or gold watches.  (In the end the girls who won the Niagara trip all preferred to take cash (8/7)!)

    5/16:  Earlier in the month the paper began running a contest for young women to win trips.  I’ve seen these contests in the past, but usually since there’s a large popularity component, Jewish participants haven’t fared well.  But on this day I noticed that Rena Heilbron was in 5th place in district no. 1.  At the end of the month it was announced that she came in third and won a trip to Niagara Falls!

  • 6/2:  “Mr. and Mrs. Morris Fogel, of Port Matilda, formerly of this place, announce the coming marriage of their daughter, Rose, to Benjamin Rankin (sic).  The wedding will take place Tuesday June, 6th, and will be witnessed by relatives and immediate friends of both families.  Miss Fogel is a very popular girl being employed in one of the local business houses.  Mr. Rankin is now in business on the corner of Fourteenth avenue, and West street, but was formerly connected with the Pittsburg Railway Co.
  • 6/7:  “Miss Rose Fogel, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Morris Fogel, of Port Matilda, formerly of this place, was married last evening to Benjamin Heckman, of Rankin, at the home of the groom’s parents.  The ceremony was a very quiet one and was witnessed by relatives and immediate friends of the families.  After a short honeymoon trip the couple will be at home to their friends at the corner of Fourteenth and West street, where Mr. Heckman is in business.”
  • 7/3:  “Mrs. William Markowitz, of 504 Fifth avenue, was tendered a surprise on Saturday evening which proved to be a very pleasant one.  It was tendered her by the Hebrew Ladies Aid society of McKees Rocks.  Mrs. Markowitz was one of the organizers and for three years the treasurer of this society and the surprise was given in consideration of her services and their appreciation of them.  There were thirty-give ladies present who enjoyed a most delightful evening.  An elaborate luncheon was served by the hostess.”
  • 7/17:  “Born to Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Freed of Heisel street, a son yesterday.”   7/24:  “The infant son, of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Freid (sic), of Heisel street, yesterday morning, was christened at their home by the Rev. Samuel Weidon (sic), of the Synagogue, receiving the name of David. After the impressive serices a reception was held there being about sixty guests present.”


The articles about the decision to build a new synagogue are posted separately. And the articles about the arson, perhaps the most important event affecting the community of the entire year, are in an earlier section of this post.

  • 1/17: “The Homestead Ladies Hebrew Aid society will hold its annual charity ball this evening in Turner hall on Fifth avenue and from all indications there will be a large attendance. The ladies’ organization is purely a charitable one and they give freely of both their time and money for the relief of the sufferings of the poor and only once a year do they make a public appeal for assistance from the outside, and this is made through their charity ball. The ladies will have charge of the ball themselves and will see to it that all who patronize them have a good time. Dancing will start at 8:30 and continue until after midnight.”
  • 1/18: “The charity ball given by the Hebrew Ladies Aid society in Turner hall last night was well attended and everyone had a good time. All the money realized will be used for charitable purposes.”
  • 2/21: “The I.O.B.A. society of Homestead, composed of prominent young Jewish people of this place, will hold their annual dance this evening at Turner hall. The promises to be one of the largest affairs of this kind held in Homestead for some time past. All preparations have been completed, and a good crowd is expected, and a number of out-of-town visitors will be present. A good orchestra has been secured and dancing will be from 8 to 2.
  • 2/22: “The I.O.B.A. Jewish society of this place held its annual dance in Turner hall on Fifth avenue last evening, which was one of the most enjoyable affairs ever given by the society. The dancing was managed by Joseph Glick and the music was excellent. The floor was put in the best condition it has been for several months. A large number of out-of-town people were in attendance.”
  • 4/13: “The Jewish Passover Feast began last evening at sundown and will continue until next Thursday at sundown, lasting eight days. The feast is being observed the world over and commemorates the deliverance of the children of Israel from the Egyptian bondage. The local Hebrews have services for the men in the basement of the old synagogue, which has been repaired for the occasion, every morning and evening.” Emphasis mine — this explains what the congregation did in the aftermath of the fire, since it would be 3 years ’til they’d have a new shul.
  • 5/20: “The fourth annual picnic to be given under the auspices of the Hebrew Ladies Aid society of Homestead will be held on Monday, July 10, in the evening, starting at 7:30 p.m…It will undoubtedly prove a great success and many will attend who might not desire to go during the heat of a summer’s day. The Hebrew Ladies Aid society is doing a valuable work as an auxiliary charitable institution and their work is much appreciated by the people whom they benefit.”
  • 5/22: Hebrews Have Twelve Sites
  • 7/10: “The Hebrew Ladies Aid society has completed all arrangements for a dance to be given this evening at Homestead park for the benefit of the Orphans Home in Erie. Kramer’s orchestra will furnish the music and dancing will indulged in from 8 until 11:30 o’clock. The ladies are working hard for a good cause and ask their friends to come and help boost the affair along.
  • 7/22: The Hebrew Ladies Aid society met last night in the Hebrew club rooms on Eighth avenue, and after settling up the business of the picnic recently held at Homestead park elected the following officers for the ensuing year. Mrs. Morris Grinberg, president. Mrs. I.S. Grossman, vice president. Mrs. M.D. Weiss, treasurer, and Miss Isabel Lebovitz, secretary.
  • 7/17:  “A very enjoyable hay ride was held yesterday by a number of young men from Homestead and Braddock, the party being chaperoned by Miss Isabel Lebowitz. After a delightful ride the day was spent in games and dancing at the Young farm, above Turtle Creek, the music being furnished by the Schwartz orchestra.  Among those present were Misses Rose Hersch, Elizabeth Markowitz, Olga Hepps, Birdie Weiss, Jennie Mehalowitz, Flora Escowitz, Jennie Lebowitz, Flora Escowitz, Jennie Lebovitz, Sarah Weiss, Bertha Nedman, Mr. and Mrs. Ben Moskowitz, Mr. and Mrs. Morris Fish and Mrs. and Mrs. Paul Feldman, Adolph Schwartz, David Newman, Israel Newman, Sam Berer, Dan Markley, Irwin Markley, Louis Weiss and Israel Pollack.”  Clearly all the participants were Jewish, though it does not appear this event was specifically sponsored by a Jewish organization.
  • 9/19: Time for the Homestead paper to explain Rosh Hashana again! Highlights: “While ‘Rosh Hashona,’ as the New Year is called, is one of feasting, no levity whatever is indulged in. The services mainly consist in chants and prayers, led by the cantor. The members of the synagogue, clad in flowing white robes, repeat the chants in hushed voices.” 9/22: “Selihot, or penitential prayers chanted in the minor key just before dawn…sound the note of grief and contrition for the sins of the past year. In some communities a curious custom called Tasblish (sic) is observed on the afternoon of New Year’s Dar, when the penitients (sic) assembled on the banks of a stream an intone those portions of the Book of Micah which ends (sic): ‘Thou will cast all their sins into the depth of the sea.'” 9/23: “Special sermons were preached by the rabbis, reminding the people of their religious obligations and the need of reconsecration to the spiritual life. It was an occasion of great solemnity, especially as there is a tradition among the Jews that on this day the Lord makes up his ‘Book of Life,’ determining the fate of each one–who shall prosper, who shall be removed by death, etc.” Naturally all three of these articles (which you can read in full below) concludes by noting what days the Hebrews’ stores will be closed.
  • 9/23: As for the particular observance in Homestead, last night “special services were held in the Jewish synagogue on Ammon street…All day services are also being held today and as the synagogue is not large enough to hold all the Hebrew families in this place Casino hall was engaged.”
  • 10/9:  A short article, uploaded below, explained Simchat Torah, the “Jews’ happiest holiday.”
  • 10/24: Hebrews to Erect A New Synagogue
  • 11/8:  “The Hebrew Ladies Aid society will hold a dance this evening in the Casino hall on Eighth avenue and the good crowd that usually attends the affairs held by this society is expected.  Kramer’s orchestra will furnish the music and the event promises to be a great success.  The proceeds are used for charity.”
  • 11/8: Hebrews Purchase Lot for Synagogue


  • 11/10: Hebrew Comedian

    11/10: Hebrew Comedian

    1/19: “Homestead Hebrews will be much interested in the Union American Hebrew congregations which met in New York City.” Speakers gave addresses “that the Hebrews have progressed in a greater degree in America than in any other country and by the liberty which has been accorded them here they themselves have become more liberal…American liberty demands of no man the abandonment of his conscientious convictions…in no country on the face of the earth can Protestant, Catholic and Jew exist together in such harmonious relations as in this country…under the benefit institutions of our country the Jews and the gentiles have both risen to a higher state of civilization and will continue to progress as long as individual liberty is maintained and supported.” The paper reprinted the entire speech of Jacob Schiff, the leading Jew in the country. He said, in part, “Not for a moment do I want to cast the slightest aspersion upon those who, for the time being, probably constitute the large majority of our coreligionists in the country, and who still cling to the Orthodoxy they have brought from their distant native lands, but I maintain that, if we want to make certain that the offspring of the great multitude of our coreligionists, who have come into our midst during the past three decades, are to grow into worthy Americans of the Jewish faith, we shall have vigorously and consistently to continue our efforts to develop the Reform Judaism.” Other attendees include Theodore Roosevelt and Judge Josiah Cohen of Pittsburgh. The next day the paper reported that $101,000 was raised toward building new departments at the Reform rabbinical school, Hebrew Union College, in Cincinnati. This is perhaps the most sustained interest ever shown towards Jewish happenings outside of Homestead! All the more intriguing since Homestead had no Reform Jewish community!

  • 3/6: The paper reprinted a short article explaining what the Talmud is. It was not accurate. It was not compiled 536-220 BC. And also this strangeness: “The Talmud is a combination of prose and poetry and contains two elements, legal and legendary. Its morality resembles that of the New Testament, and its philosophy reminds us very forcibly of that of the great Plato. — New York American.”
  • 11/23: "Wladimir Kokovtseff, successor of Premier Stolypin of Russia, is hailed as friendly to is said he acquired an understanding of and friendly relations with Jews while minister of finance...[and realized] that Russia's treatment of her Jewish subjects has impaired her credit in other lands."

    11/23: “Wladimir Kokovtseff, successor of Premier Stolypin of Russia, is hailed as friendly to Jews…it is said he acquired an understanding of and friendly relations with Jews while minister of finance…[and realized] that Russia’s treatment of her Jewish subjects has impaired her credit in other lands.”

    3/9: “BIG ORDERS FOR UNLEAVEN BREAD — More than 75,000 pounds of Matzos, or unleavened bread, to be used in this country and in England for the Jewish fast from April 12 to April 20 were baked in Pittsburg last week. Fifty thousand pounds of the Matzos were baked for Rabbi C. Rosenfield of St. Louis, and 25,000 pounds were baked for Rabbi Abraham Goldstein, of London, England.”
  • 3/6: At the Duquesne board of trade banquet the speakers will include “Dr. Leonard Levy, the celebrated rabbi and one of the most eloquent speakers in the state.”
  • 4/18: The paper had an editorial about the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire indictments.
  • 7/28: The first annual “Jewish Field Meet” and picnic, sponsored by the YMHA of Pittsburgh, would be held at Kennywood Park on Wednesday, August 9. The article listed the events for men, boys, and girls and concluded, “This meet is open to any Jewish boy in Western Pennsylvania.”
  • 8/14:  “At a meeting held in the rooms of the Allegheny County Political Club, Fifth avenue, Pittsburg, last night, the movement started some time ago by City Treasurer Adolph Edlis to unite all Jewish political organizations in Allegheny county was considered.  As a result a permanent organization, to be known at the United Political Clubs of Allegheny County was formed.”  Joseph Lasdusky was president!  “Representatives, were present from Homestead, Braddock, Duquesne, Clairton, East Pittsburg, and Turtle Creek.  The matter of indorsing (sic) candidates for county offices were (sic) deferred until the first week in September.”  (They tried this at least once before in 1902.)


These merchants advertised in the paper during this year:

  • I.S. Grossman (345 8th Ave)
  • Half Bros. (126-128 East Eighth Ave)
  • Jos. Lasdusky (335 Eighth Ave.)
  • Little’s/Little Bros. (319-321 Eighth Ave, The Home of Good Shoes)
  • H.L. Little/H.L. Little & Bro. “Home of Good Shoes” (321 East Eighth Ave.)
  • Markley’s “Shop for men” (217 8th Ave)
  • Wolk’s “Of Course” (Homestead’s Big Shoe Store, 313 8th Ave)
  • M.L. Siegle (603 8th Ave near Dickson St)
  • S. Goldman (Builder of Men’s Clothes, 226 Eighth avenue, Homestead’s Popular Tailor)
  • Gross’s (401-402 Eighth Avenue)
  • Ben Little (609-11 8th Ave)
  • I. Grossman (501 Eighth Ave; Realty building., 147 8th Avenue, corner Amity street)
  • Friedlander’s , The Ladies Store (213 Eighth Avenue)
  • Busy Bee Hive (519 Eighth Ave near Dickson)
  • Morris Grinberg (Dep’t Store, 8th Ave. near Dickson St.)
  • Segelman/C. Segelman (203 8th Ave)
  • I.J. Goldston (617-19 8th Ave)
  • Meyer I. Grinberg (Leading House Furnishing Store, 209 8th Ave)

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