P. O. Box 4015 Arsenal Station
Pittsburgh, PA 15201-0015

Ask a Historian

The Lawrenceville Historical Society is happy to answer general questions about our area’s history. Unfortunately, we don’t have the resources to help with individual family histories. We hope that the past inquiries listed below might in some way be helpful.

For current queries, please e-mail us at: foster15201@gmail.com

This information was added on September 15, 2013.

Q: My family’s background is very deep rooted in the Lawrenceville/Croatian history. My great grandfather immigrated there with his family and had a store. My grandfather was one of the founders of the Duquesne Tamburitzans, and he also was in a musical group known as the Croatian Aces and a member of Pittsburgh Lodge 234 and St Nicholas church. I am also interested in seeing if you have a room or museum with pictures that might help me find out more on my family’s history.

Sincerely

Barb Demaio

A: We were able to find a mention of Slavko Brajdic being one of the founders of the Croation Fraternal and Beneficial Organizaiton Sloga on May 19, 1905 in Pittsburgh. See Croatian immigration to Allegheny County, 1882-1914 page 45. We also found a mention of Anton Bradjic, a laborer, living at 143 – 45th Street and Anthony Bradjic, a singer, living at 141 Home Street in the 1926 City Directory. At this point we have no other information for you.

There are plans to open a small museum, but we are not able to raise sufficient funds to make this dream come true.

Q: Timothy Bintrim asked for the obituary and cause of death of Carrie “Cara” Reese from the Allegheny Cemetery archives .

A: While it is true that the Lawrenceville Historical Society has a good working relationship with Allegheny Cemetery, they do not let us have access to their archives. The cemetery does answer most of the questions we ask them. With that said, we contacted the cemetery in hopes of finding an answer to Mr. Bintrim’s questions. Unfortunately, we have not been able to learn anything regarding her death or the location of her obituary, if she had one. Perhaps she was living outside Pittsburgh when she died.

Nancy Craigo of Allegheny Cemetery replied to your inquiry. They request a $15.00 donation be made to:

Allegheny Cemetery Historical Association
4734 Butler Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15201-2999

for each “genealogical search” that they do. If you are interested in obtaining the information that they have, Nancy can be reached at NCraigo@alleghenycemetery.com.

In the original letter, Mr. Bintrim stated that she was “only 58” when she died in 1914. The average life expectancy in the U. S. was only 54 in 1920, so she wasn’t that young for the era in question.

Q: My name is Dr James Briggs. Recently I purchased four large paintings of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and a statue of the Holy Family. I purchased them from Brother Harvey at Our Lady of the Angels Church in Lawrenceville. They are now in my personal chapel (a dream that I have had since I was 10 years old), praise God for allowing this dream to come to fruition. Regarding the pieces in the chapel, (some of which have historical significance) like the Apostles, we are trying to document their painter and their history.

There is a booklet titled “A Special Corner in Gods Kingdom”-Holy Family Parish 1902-1993 . I am hoping that your society may have a copy that would give these facts to us or even show the sanctuary pictures. Bro. Harvey said these large painting were in the sanctuary until a very large mural replaced them (a fact not missed on your website) at which point the Apostles were moved into the main church.

If you can help us, we would be most appreciative,

God Bless you.

James Briggs, DDS.

Metairie, LA

A: The paintings of the four evangelists were done by Scatena Studios in 1940. They were painted for the new Holy Family Church which was on Forty-fourth Street. They were not in the old Holy Family Church, which was on the corner of Forty-first and Foster Streets.

In should be noted that the four men in the paintings were the four evangelists, not four apostles as stated. Only Mathew and John were apostles. Luke and Mark were not.

One gentleman that lives near the old school/church complex believes that the statue of the Holy Family was in the old convent garden on Forty-first Street and was taken to the new church when the nuns moved into the new convent on Forty-fourth Street, but he’s not sure that this is the case.

Two elderly sisters who frequented the parish disagreed. One said that the statue was new to the Forty-fourth Street edifice, while the other insisted that it was in the old church and was moved to the new building when it opened in the 1940’s.

Unfortunately, we have no additional information. Anyone who can shed light on this mystery is asked to contact Dr. Briggs via the information he provided above.

Q: A reader is trying to determine if Stephen Vujevich actually lived in the Sixth Ward at the time of his induction into the military. She believes he was.

Second, if he was in fact living in the Sixth Ward at the time of his induction, how would she get his name on the statue’s honor roll (if this is even possible).

A: Michael Murphy of the Allegheny County Veterans Affairs was kind enough to provide the following information:

“We have burial records for county veterans who served during the wars. Neither Vujevich’s received the burial benefit when they passed away. Any wartime veteran who lived in Allegheny County at the time of his or her death would have been eligible, as long as either the Family or Funeral Director applied for the benefit. We do not have him as receiving the benefit. The county does not have draft records. As far as entering the veterans name to the monument it would be a private contract with a vendor with the permission of the owner of the monument.

“If the sister has the information of the veteran, then she can contact the old Recorder of Deeds Office (now Real Estate Office) at (412) 350-4299 and inquire if there is a discharge on file; if so, the home address of the veteran should be on the discharge which would prove his residency at the time of entry into service.”

The City of Pittsburgh is responsible for the upkeep, maintenance, and/or changes to the public war memorials and/or honor rolls.

Q: What was Marion Foster Welch’s (Stephen Collins Foster’s daughter’s) husband’s name?

A: Kathryn Miller Haines of the Center for American Music answered this question for us. Marion’s husband was Walter Welsh.

Q: Have a question for you. The Pittsburgh Brewing Company (Iron city beer) was founded in 1861. Do you know where I might be able to locate information on whether or not they supplied the army with beer during the civil war? The staff of the mini-series “To Appomattox” is looking for documentation for beer suppliers and coffee suppliers who sold to the Army during the war. The first thought in my head was Iron City Beer but can’t find any documentation and not sure where to go to locate.

Thanks
Joanne Shelby-Klein BSN RN
Monroeville PA
412-373-1813

A: Tom Powers of the Lawrenceville Historical Society suggests that beer was not shipped to the troops, because it had to be kept cool which wasn’t possible to do in a practical way in the Army before refrigeration.

Q: Rachel Beck writes, “I am looking for any info or pictures you may have of 5112 Butler St from the early 1900’s when it was a confection/candy shop owned by Joseph and Katherine Pavlakovic. Can you help or refer me?”

A: Anyone with information on these individuals or photos of 5112 Butler Street can reach Rachel at becksteven@msn.com.

Q: I am still working on the history of Samuel Kier, who of course was the Lawrenceville resident who pioneered in the petroleum refining business in this country. As a member of the American Chemical Society, I have arranged for a National Historic Landmark plaque to be erected in Pittsburgh honoring Kier’s work. I am searching for a suitable location.

I have been asked whether there are any of Kier’s artifacts still in existence, other than the ones at the Drake Well Museum in Titusville PA. This could include the bottles he used to sell petroleum as a medicinal product, the advertising materials in the form of bank notes, the illuminating lamps that he produced, etc.

I would appreciate hearing from you on this matter at your convenience.

Thanks.

Al Mann

A: Unfortunately, the Lawrenceville Historical Society has no artifacts relating to Kier.

Q: Who was the architect of St. Mary’s Lyceum on 45th Street in Lawrenceville?

A: James Wudarczyk tells us that the architect was Carlton Strong, and provides the following additional information about this man:

According to Walter Kidney, Thomas (apparently he did not use his first name) Carlton Strong designed the Rittenhouse Hotel in East Liberty and Bellefield Dwellings in Oakland. Later he turned to designing Catholic churches and educational structures. In addition to Saint Mary’s Lyceum, he is credited as being the architect for Sacred Heart Church in Shadyside, Church of Saint Michael the Archangel in Braddock, and buildings at Duquesne University, Carlow College, and Saint Vincent College.

This information was added on April 13, 2013.

Q: Sarah Kaminski of Wild Purveyors asked for information about the other businesses that were located at 5308 Butler Street.

A: The Lawrenceville Historical Society does not do such searches unless we have a volunteer that is willing to work on the project. Fortunately, we had such a volunteer. Here is what they found:

The only photo of your store that we could find has a Jewel Tea delivery wagon blocking the view of the facade. It can be found at http://retrographer.org/photos/1142 . We were informed that this photo was taken by a City Photographer, and, therefore, is in the public domain. This photo was taken on November 19, 1917. There does not appear to have been a business in the building during this year.

The first appearance of any business showing up at 5308 Butler Street is when Santo Vlak opened a shoe repair shop around 1920. It closed in 1925. The next business was Frank Roitz’s Shooting Gallery in 1929. It only lasted about a year, but was one of two shooting galleries in Pittsburgh. The building reverted back to a private residence until 1985 when it became Andy’s Food Market. The following year Andy expanded to include 5306 Butler Street to make the establishment a two store front business. The fact that it occupied two store fronts was verified by Jimmy Nied, longtime owner of Nied’s Hotel, which is at the corner of 54th and Butler Streets. According to one lady Andy remained there until a fire destroyed his business.

Q: I am doing genealogy research on my family. My great-grandfather was Giles Bates. He was born around 1845 in Pennsylvania, was in the 102 PA infantry company F in the civil war, was married to Ann (Weaver?) Bates, had 4 living daughters. At the time of his death due to a PV&C Railroad accident on November 23, 1879 he resided at 222 Franklin Street in Allegheny City and was 34 years old. He was buried in Union Dale Cemetery on Brighton Road on the Northside of Pittsburgh.

I am trying to find Giles’ father and mother. In my research I came across Giles S. Bates and three wives and numerous children that are buried in Allegheny Cemetery in Lawrenceville. I was able to find more information about Giles S. Bates through your website.

I am trying to connect my Giles Bates with Giles S. Bates as a possible father. There is also a baby Giles S. Bates, who was buried in Union Dale Cemetery in 1871 near my Giles.

Would you be able to direct me to resources I would need to make this connection? I would deeply appreciate any help with this matter.

Thank you,

Christine Kirsch

A: Try checking the sources listed on our web page http://www.lhs15201.org/articles_b.asp?ID=11. Hopefully, some of those sources will be of help to you. Anyone with information is asked to contact Christine at harryandchris@zoominternet.net.

Q: Hello, I was wondering if you could tell me whatever happened to the Willow Club of Lawrenceville? My grandfather, Andy Andrucci, was a boxer there in the late 1920s.

Thanks,

Sam Hopkins

A: The building fell victim to an arsonist. The club lost membership with the rise of televised boxing and television in general. Fewer and fewer people went out to see shows and sporting events. One by one the athletic associations closed up due to declining membership.

We’re guessing that you know about http://boxrec.com/list_bouts.php?human_id=256971&cat=boxer. If not, check it out.

Also, your grandfather is mentioned several times in Joe Borkowski’s manuscript Miscellaneous History of Lawrenceville. Apparently, he was quite good, winning the Junior Allegheny Mountain Association Championship in 1925, the Greater Pittsburgh Boxing Championship in 1925, and the Senior Allegheny Mountain Association Championship in 1926 and 1928.

If you do a Google News Archive search you might get several hits. We got nine, but the trouble with this web site is that you might get a dozen one day and none for the next twenty times you look and then get six the next time. Just keep trying.

Anyone with information about Andy Andrucci is asked to contact Sam at shopkins1994@gmail.com.

Q: We exchanged a few e-mails in the past regarding Zion Lutheran church. My questions were for the purpose of gathering information before travelling to Pittsburgh to see the only building my great grandparents lived in (1904 – 1907) that is still standing. That was 247 3Thirty Eighth Street, just a block from Zion Lutheran. I have another question you may know about.

Having seen it, my guess is the residents of 38th probably got everywhere they needed to go by walking. I saw no signs of accommodations for keeping horses/buggies. And my guess is most of the people living on 38th probably could not afford a horse anyhow. Therefore, everybody walked. Right?

The church my great-grandparents joined when they arrived in 1871 was First German Evangelical Lutheran which had multiple locations over the years, but mostly in the area of 6th & Grant. My great grandparents were in their 60s when they lived on 38th. Would it have been easy or hard for them to get down to 6th & Grant for Sunday services?

Thanks for your help.

Mike Addison

Lone Tree, CO

A: You’re quite right about the walking part. All the old timers told me that they would walk into Downtown or just about anywhere else. I remember my parents/aunts/uncles taking us all over the place by foot when I was a kid. It seemed that we would never get to our destination, then came the walk home. The few horse sheds that were in the area have mostly been torn down by now. Most of the horse owners were people who owned stores and made deliveries.

I’m not quite sixty yet, but being a walker like those old timers I can make it to 6th and Grant from 38th Street in about an hour, so walking would not have been a problem for most people from the early 1900’s. However, if they desired to do so, they could have taken the streetcar. One ran from Butler Street into Downtown and another ran along Penn Avenue.

Q: My great great grandfather was a butcher on Butler and Hatfield across from the cemetery for a couple of years. At least that is according to the Historic City Directories. I do not have the name of the grocery store. I know from his death certificate that he lived at 1093 Penn Street during this same time. He later became a butcher on Smithfield and his son took over being the butcher in Lawrenceville.

While I do not know for sure, I am assuming 1093 Penn Street is now Penn Avenue. The address 1093 is in downtown.

With that in mind, do you have any ideas as to how he would have gotten to work in circa 1860? That is about 3 ½ miles. Maybe not a big deal in 1860.

A: Unlike today, people thought nothing of walking three or four miles to work, putting in a twelve hour day, and then walking home. My grandfather was still doing it in the 1930’s.

Of course, he could have spent a nickel to ride the horse drawn street car.

Q: My Great Great Grandfather, who immigrated before 1852 and as I mentioned, was working as a butcher in Lawrenceville. This was the really interesting information from Historic Pittsburgh’s directories:

Directory of Pittsburgh & vicinity for, 1857-1858 Directory — H

Page 89

• …Catharine, widow of William, lab, Pike n Chestnut, A Helapand Conrad, lab, h Perry below Bingham, B Helbling Xavier, butcher, h Butler opposite Cemetery, L Helbling Jacob, butcher, h on Allen n Turnpike …

I am not sure where he and his wife lived before they went to 1093 Liberty Avenue by 1860. I believe his son took over the butcher position above in the 1860’s.

As I have come to find, my Lawrenceville ancestors also started a school in the 1850’s at their house (not sure where the house was) for German children. Also, F. Xavier’s daughter was married in the St. Philomena Church in Lawrenceville. This historical account has become a labor of love.

I have begun to develop a manuscript for our children. One piece of history that is very lacking was pictures. The Helbling’s, Yeager’s, and Seger’s were not great picture takers. However, I have seen pictures from Pittsburgh in the 1800’s. That is where my question comes in: Would you please be able to direct me to where I might find some pictures from around Lawrenceville? I am hoping to find pictures that I would be able to include in my family history book. Pictures of Butler Street would be a great addition to my writings.

Any assistance you can provide would be very much appreciated.

Ray Yaeger

A: The German School that was started by Xavier Helbling was located at 4807-4809 Butler Street. The building is no longer standing.

We know of no existing pictures of this site, but suggest that you keep trying the “images” found in the Historic Pittsburgh website. They keep adding more and more information and photos every couple years.

The school and various members of the Helbling family are mentioned in the book Monster on the Allegheny.

Anyone with more information can contact Ray at ryeager@dmicompanies.com.

Q: I am doing genealogy research on my family. My great-grandfather was Giles Bates. He was born around 1845 in Pennsylvania, was in the 102 PA infantry company F in the civil war, was married to Ann (Weaver?) Bates, had 4 living daughters. At the time of his death due to a PV&C Railroad accident on November 23, 1879 he resided at 222 Franklin Street in Allegheny City and was 34 years old. He was buried in Union Dale Cemetery on Brighton Road on the Northside of Pittsburgh. I am trying to find Giles’ father and mother. In my research I came across Giles S. Bates and three wives and numerous children that are buried in Allegheny Cemetery in Lawrenceville. I was able to find more information about Giles S. Bates through your website.

I am trying to connect my Giles Bates with Giles S. Bates as a possible father. There is also a baby Giles S. Bates, who was buried in Union Dale Cemetery in 1871 near my Giles.

Would you be able to direct me to resources I would need to make this connection? I would deeply appreciate any help with this matter.

Thank you,

Christine Kirsch

A: Try checking the sources listed on our web page http://www.lhs15201.org/articles_b.asp?ID=11. Hopefully, some of those sources will be of help to you. Anyone that can help Christine is urged to contact her at harryandchris@zoominternet.net.

Q: I am working on a story about the new Tender Bar & Kitchen that will be going into the Arsenal Bank building. I explored your website a bit, but wanted to check and see if you had any information about the building not shared online?

I’d love to know, in particular, more about the six safes that are in a back room. I found a newspaper article from 1884 saying a man died while helping move a safe in the building. (See link below.) Have you collected any additional stories of the bank’s past?

All the best,

AmyJo Brown

Link to 1884 piece: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=0w5mAAAAIBAJ&sjid=tY8NAAAAIBAJ&dq=arsenal%20bank%20pittsburgh&pg=6871%2C3734922

— AmyJo Brown
Staff Writer
Pittsburgh City Paper

A: Other than the fact that Joseph Wainwright was one of the presidents we don’t have any more information about the Bank itself; however, the building was home to Greyco Records for many years.

Also, McCaferty’s Co. was also located in the building. They were a well -known name in Lawrenceville dealing with Real Estate and insurance as well as being a Notary Public.

After these two businesses closed there were a number of short lived businesses located there, but none lasted very long.

Q: I am writing a story about Fritizie Zivic and was wondering if someone would be able to give me some information about his personal life and career.

I appreciate any information you can relay to me.

Thank you,
Edward Dee
Buffalo, New York

A: The book In Loving Memory . . . and Other Lawrenceville Stories has a chapter titled “The Fight That Rocked Pittsburgh,” written by Jude Wudarczyk. This chapter gives a good synopsis of Zivic’s life inside and outside the ring. The attached document tells you how you can obtain the book on-line or in stores. The chapter has an extensive list of sources that can provide more information.

The only biography which we know written about Fritzie is Champ Fritzie Zivic: The Life and Times of the Croat Comet, which was written by a guy using the pen name Timpav. This book is very, very hard to find.

There is a good magazine article by Jim O’Brien that appeared in The Strip! a magazine about the Strip District and Lawrenceville neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. The article can be found at http://www.bluetoad.com/publication/?i=64148.

While these three sources are a good starting point, Zivic is mentioned in many other books, magazines, and websites. Be forewarned that in some of these sources, it has been reported that Fritzie won a gold medal in the Olympics. He never actually fought in the Olympics. Although two of his brothers did, neither won any medals.

Q: I was wondering if you all have a copy of book called Pittsburgh’s Forgotten Allegheny Arsenal by James Wudarczyk.

I would also like the price of the book and could I send for the book at Lawrenceville Historical Society by check?

A: This book is not available from the Lawrenceville Historical Society. It is available from the publisher, Closson Press as well as at the Arsenal Ciderhouse and Winery.

Q: Our family is looking for information on the candy store that was operated at 5112 Butler Street from about 1916 – 1924. We would like to find the name of the store or any old photos it. Does anyone remember it? Rachel Beck

A: The name of the store was either Pavlakovic’s Confectionary or Pavlokovic’s Confectionary. We do not have any photos of this store. Anyone with such photos is asked to contact Rachel at becksteven@msn.com.

Q: I have just discovered that my great grandmother and her parents lived in Lawrenceville in the 1800’s and early 1900’s, and I would like to know if you have a book or publication for sale about local history, including residents. Their name was Hessom, and my great, great grandfather was Dr. Benjamin Franklin Hessom, veterinarian. I am diligently seeking any information, texts, records to which you can lead me. I grew up in Allegheny County, but have lived for some years in California, so access is difficult.

Thank you for your time and any information you can provide.

Lois Trimpey

A: We have three books that can be purchased on line (see http://www.lhs15201.org/publications.htm for detials), These books have received praise from all across the United States, Cananda, Sri Lanka, England, and Ecuador, so you can imagine that we are very proud of them. Unfortunately, none of them mention your ancestor, Dr. Hessom.

If anyone can help Lois she can be reached at jack@rational.org.

This information was added on March 24, 2013.

Q: Do you know if the Academy Building is for sale for residential use or who owns it? We have an employee who moved here from Chicago and is looking for something similar to this to renovate the interior and live in. He came across the building while he was walking in the area.

Thank you for your help.

Anna Marie LaGamba
Administrative Assistant
Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation

A: The last we heard, St. Mary’s Academy on 46th Street is for sale. The Catholic Cemetery Association owns the building and is asking $225,000.00 for the property. We know of no takers, so they may be willing to negotiate. We heard that it has been designated a City Historic Landmark.

Q: I am stuck trying to figure out what used to be in the wearhouse directly across the street from Shop n Save. I remeber being a kid and the build was in full construction, but as the years passed the tore down the walls and celeing and I belive it is used for school busses now. Thank a bunch, hope you are able to help.

-Conor Sweeney

A: This building was the Hanlon-Gregory Company. It was severely damaged during the macroburst of May 31, 2002.

Q: I am an historian researching the Holy Name Society, and I found your 2004 article — “Triumph of Faith” — fascinating. I will be in Pittsburgh next week at the Diocesan Archives, and I’ll be sure to look into Rev. Paul M. Lackner’s 1962 booklet in the Cardinal Dearden Papers.

I have a question, however, about another of your sources: Reverend Raymond Valentine Conway’s Saint Mary’s Church, Forty-Sixth Street, Pittsburgh, PA 1853-1953. Is there a hard copy of that source available in any Pittsburgh-area locations of which you are aware? I would very much like to see that source, and I’ll look forward to any information you can lend on the subject.

Best regards,

David J. McCowin, Ph.D.
Adjunct Professor of History
Mount Ida College
Newton, Massachusetts

A: Father Conway’s book is available at both the Main Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, which is located at 4400 Forbes Avenue and the Lawrenceville Branch of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh on Fisk Street. The call number is rBX4603.P6 S34x. It is cataloged under the title Saint Mary’s Church, Forty-Sixth Street, Pittsburgh, Pa. Something of its history; the first 100 years, 1853-1953.

Q: Timothy Bintrim asks if the Lawrenceville Historical Society (LHS) has information on Cara “Carrie” Reese who died in 1914 and is buried in Allegheny Cemetery. He states that since the LHS has access to Allegheny Cemetery’s records could we find a copy of her death notice. He says that when she died in 1914, she was only 58. Reese was the only female reporter to cover the Johnstown Flood of 1889.

A: While it is true that the Lawrenceville Historical Society has a good working relationship with Allegheny Cemetery, they do not let us have access to their archives. The cemetery does answer most of the questions we ask them. With that said, I contacted the cemetery in hopes of finding an answer to your questions. Hopefully, they will provide the information you desire. I have not been able to learn anything regarding her death or the location of her obituary, if she had one, appeared. Perhaps she was living outside Pittsburgh when she died.

Nancy Craigo of Allegheny Cemetery replied to your inquiry. They request a $15.00 donation be made to:

Allegheny Cemetery Historical Association
4734 Butler Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15201-2999
In your letter, you state that she was only 58 when she died in 1914. The average life expectancy in the U. S. was only 54 in 1920, so she wasn’t that young for the era in question.

Q: ’m looking for a history of the Arsenal explosion. Can you point me to the best sources?

Laurie S. Anderson
Director of Grants Administration
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

A: It’s our opinion that the best source of the Arsenal explosion is Jim Wudarczyk”s book, Pittsburgh’s Forgotton Allegheny Arsenal; Closson Press.

Jim’s book goes into far more detail than anything else we’ve seen thus far.

There are plenty of other sources, but this is, in our opinion, the best.

Q: I know that some historical societies keep copies of yearbooks. Do you happen to have any for the St. Francis School of Nursing?

My mother-in-law has never seen a picture of her mother as a “young person.” I would like very much to surprise her with a picture of her mother (Martha Jane Bildhauser, who graduated from St. Francis in 1925) for her birthday. Of course, I will gladly pay for research time, postage, copying/scanning, etc.

I hope you can help me and look forward to your reply.

Thank you.

Joy Walk

A: Unfortunately, the Lawrenceville Historical Society does not have any old yearbooks of St. Francis Hosptal’s School of Nursing.

According to Drew Wilson, formerly of the Public Relations Department of St. Francis Hospital, all the hospital’s records were sent the nuns’ motherhouse on Hawthorne Road in Millvale. You might want to try calling there.

Q: A letter from Jeanne Clark says: The family I am tracing is McLaughlin. I believe they came over from Ireland before 1888. The names I have to go by are: James McLaughlin (he was a police officer) and may have been the father. The others are Mike, Annie and Mary. They lived on 53rd Street in Lawrenceville and were members of St. Kieran’s Church.

I am told that the store was in Lawrenceville, possibly on Butler Street. I’m assuming it was a produce or grocery store.

I am also attempting to locate information on Annie McLaughlin and her husband John Daly. They also resided in Lawrenceville. I know they had at least one child who was baptized at St. Kierans; Catherine.

A: James McLaughlin owned a grocery store at 42nd and Willow Streets in 1880/1881. There are several James McLaughlins listed in the city directories during 1882 and 1883, but none in Lawrenceville. In 1884 there is a James McLaughlin who was a grocer at Homewood and Fairfax, which is not in Lawrenceville. In the 1885/86 directory there was a grocer at 4016 Foster Street and a James, who was a policeman at 61 Boston Street, which is not Lawrenceville.

Q: For whom was the name given Leslie Park. Or better who was it named after.

Grant Leslie Hopkins

A: Leslie Park was named in honor of Malachi Leslie, who was better known as Max Leslie. He was a political king maker of the Republican Party during the early years of the twentieth century.

When the park first opened it was originally called Lawrence Park in honor of Captain Lawrence, who became famous for the phrase, “Don’t give up the ship.” It was this same Captain Lawrence for whom the neighborhood of Lawrenceville was named. (See the book Monster on the Allegheny . . . and Other Lawrenceville Stories.)

We don’t know the exact date as to when the name of the park was changed. However, many senior citizens still call the park by it’s original name.

Q: I stumbled upon your “Ask a Historian” web pages and thought I’d take a chance at solving a family mystery involving Lawrenceville by contacting you.

In researching my wife’s family line her mother Harriet, who is now a failing 87, was recalling what information she could from her childhood and placed her (Harriet’s) grandfather, one Frank ROUSER, in Lawrenceville, residing on Liberty Avenue near Saint Augustine church after separating from his wife circa 1900. His wife then resided in Homestead, Pa. Frank went to the Lawrenceville area because he supposedly had a sister there, a sister who is recalled having married a fellow named TEECE who owned a drugstore on either Penn or Liberty Avenue around the 4000 to 4600 block. Frank was supposedly buried out of St Augustine’s in 1928 but a check with the office there could not confirm records back to that date (and Catholic archives is no help without specific data to go on).

Now I don’t expect you to do genealogical research for me. However, would you have any reference material about the businesses along Penn Avenue in the 1920s, in particular, the Teece (?) drugstore mentioned above?

In closing please allow me to say that I thoroughly enjoy your web site and all the history thereon. I pass through Lawrenceville almost every day on my job and your informative site is making me quite the tour guide to my friends and co-workers. Perhaps I missed it on your site, but I once worked with a fellow who grew up while his father worked at Allegheny Cemetery and he said there was a tunnel there that ran from the office building on Butler to some point beyond in the cemetery itself that may have been used as part of the underground railroad. Is that true?

Thanking you in advance, George Tkach, Pittsburgh

A: Thanks for the kind words. If you like to take tours of the neighborhood, make sure you come to the Stephen Foster Festival on the second Saturday of July at Allegheny Cemetery and our House Tour in October.

Unfortunately, we were not able to find any information on your family.

This is the second time we heard about a tunnel going from Allegheny Cemetery to a building on Butler Street. We have no information to share on this tunnel, what it could have been used for, or why it might have existed. Supposedly, it has been blocked off.

Anyone with more information is asked to contact George at jurajtkac@juno.com.

Q: I am researching my g-g-grandparents William and Annie (Montgomery) Geary. They were married on Jan. 21, 1862 in Lawrenceville’s St. Mary’s church. William’s father, Peter Geary is buried there; died Aug. 10, 1871. Are there any resources, to aid in my research? My records so far show William arriving into the US in 1852; first record in Lawrenceville/Pitt. City Directory in 1858/59. A Peter is listed in 1859 as a gardener on Minersville, Pitt Township. I am told they came from Cork, Ireland. Any help you may provide to aid in my research would be greatly appreciated.

Thank You,

Dennis R. Geary

Q: Do you know of a M.E. Grave Yard in the Lawrenceville area? I have some church records from St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, closed some years back, that mention a burial in a M.E. Grave Yard in 1887. My Francis family was living on Penn Ave. at the time. I am curious if the cemetery still exists and if they have records. I might turn up some other information. I just recently found an 1870 census record for my Francis people, the year they arrived, and found they were living with in-laws who had preceded them to Pittsburgh. I thought the Edge family had stayed in England. It opened up a whole pile of new people living there.

Dave Pardoe
Outside Baltimore, Maryland

A: To the best of our knowledge there were no M. E. grave yards in Lawrenceville.

Q: I am trying to learn something about a camp stove we have. It is designed to be taken completely disassembled & has an oven – it is a beautiful stove with no chrome – all black that we purchased years ago at a local auction in NJ. I was told many years ago that it was impossible for me to have this particular stove by someone who owned a stove store who was supposed to be a local expert. He came & looked at the stove a was shocked & said it was a museum piece. I did see a stove very similar (could not make out the name or decorative elements of it) in a civil war photo from a documentary on TV.

Any information about the foundry name listed on the piece would be greatly appreciated or possibly you could give me the name/email address/phone number of someone who could point me in the right direction. Thank you for any help.

Sincerely,

Lois Zelenski

A: It sounds to me like you might have a Sibley Tent Stove. For a photo of this stove see http://www.afn.org/~micanopy/html/sibley_tent_stove.html. If this isn’t the stove that you have please send us a picture of it as an attachment. Hopefully, we can find someone that can shed some light on the matter.

We have some questions for you. How do you know that the stove was manufactured in Lawrenceville? And more to the point how do you know it was manufactured in the Lawrenceville that is now part of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania?

The earliest stove manufacturer that we can find in Lawrenceville was William Sylvis’s company, National Co-operative Foundry, which was located on Boundary (now Thirty-third Street). By the time the foundry opened in 1867, the Civil War was already over. There may have been one that predated this, but we have yet to learn of it.

Q: I have been trying to get information about the Doughboy in Lawrenceville and was referred to you. I trust that you will be able to help me.

My brother was in the Navy during World War II and actually was in battle in Iwo Jima, Gunto, and other Islands in the Pacific. My other brother was in the Marine’s at that time. He was one of the four service men who was selected to stand at attention at the time of the dedication of the Doughboy. His name is on the Doughboy memorial, but the name of my other brother who also served in World War II was not listed. Both of my brothers were from Lawrenceville at the time. I am not sure why one would be included and the other would not be.

I am sure that there have been others who also served in the War that were not included. Do you know if there is a special listing placed at the Doughboy for my Navy brother and others whose names were not included on the Doughboy Memorial at the time of the dedication or since that time? I wondered how I could have my Navy brother’s name included on the Doughboy? Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my questions. My brothers are Joseph and Stephen Vujevich.

Also, do you recall or do you have a record of when they had the rededication of the Dough Boy in the early 1940’s. Was it in 1945? As I said, my one brother, Joe Vujevich, was the Marine who was selected to stand up there along with four men from the other branches of the service. If I knew that date, it would help me to determine where my other brother, Stephen Vujevich, was living at the time. If you have the time or where you could point your finger right on that date, I would appreciate it. If not, that is okay, too, as I appreciate what you have done.

Marlane Vujevich

A: The Lawrenceville Historical Society gets this question a lot. Many people think that the names of the men on the Doughboy Statue are those of Lawrenceville service men. They actually are the names of the men from the Fifth Zone, which was comprised of the Sixth Ward (Lower Lawrenceville, Polish Hill, and parts of the Strip District). In most of the cases in which the family members inquire as to why their brothers, uncles, fathers, etc. are not listed on the Doughboy it is because they did not live in the Fifth Zone. The Ninth Ward (Central Lawrenceville) and the Tenth Ward (Upper Lawrenceville) had their own honor rolls, but these were wooden structures that either blew down or rotted away because no one maintained them.

In the few cases that people told me that they tried to get their family members listed they were not successful.

Your brother Joseph is listed. Stephen is not, so the question is, “Where did Stephen live at the time he enlisted?”

Michael Murphy, Director of Veteran Affairs for Allegheny County informs us that the City of Pittsburgh owns the monument and all correspondences regarding the names and missing names on this monument should be directed to contact the old Recorder of Deeds Office (now Real Estate Office) at (412) 350-4299, and inquire if there is a discharge on file, If so the home address of the veteran should be on the discharge which would prove his residency at the time of entry into service.

Q: am a teacher in the North Allegheny School District who is bringing a group of 30 high school students through Lawrenceville on Friday, December 21st for a photography safari. We’ll be starting in the Allegheny Cemetery and ending in Lower Lawrenceville with a stop at a house on Butler Street that used to be a distillery during Prohibition. We will also be hearing from Mary Calland, who wrote a book about the Arsenal Fire, about that particular time in history.

The specific nature of our trip will be much more photography more than history, but I still want to provide a brief overview or Fast Facts kind of preparation for our trip.

Might you have any articles or materials on hand that I could access prior to our trip (particularly in regards to the history of this area during the bootlegging years)?

I realize this is a very tight turnaround with the timing this week – and it’s not really necessary for us to have this in order to look at Lawrenceville through a photographer’s lens – I just thought it would be interesting.

Thanks for getting back to me at your convenience if you can think of a resource that might prove helpful.

Sincerely,

Cyd Stackhouse
Gifted Program Teacher
North Allegheny Intermediate School

A: Thank you for showing your students around Lawrenceville.

It seems like you’re trying to take in quite a lot of territory, especially on a cold winter day.

I must admit that I’m a little confused over the agenda. It seems to be all over the place. First you’re dealing with the Allegheny Cemetery, then there’s the Allegney Cemetery, and you also include the Prohibition. That’s quite a lot to cover in one day.

Here’s the web page for historic sites and lost landmarks in Lawenceville – http://www.lhs15201.org/articles_b.asp?ID=83. This has quite a few interesting sites listed. In regards to sites connected specifically to the Prohibition Era, not much has been researched on this topic, but here is what I know.

There was a bootlegger at 4500 Butler Street. One of the batches of moonshine turned out bad, but he didn’t know it. He was arrested when two of his customers got sick and died. One lived on the corner of Forty-sixtth and Davison Streets. I think the victim’s address was 300 – Forty-sxith Street. The bootlegger had his business where the Vocelli Pizza shop is now.

The hill immediately behind this pizza shop is known as Happy’s Hill. It is bounded by Butler, Lawrence, Forty-fifth, and Forty-sixth Streets. Although I can find nothing to substantiate the stories, according to local legend the hill is associated with moonshiners. We heard a couple tales, but haven’t been able to verify either. Both stories share similarities, so there might be some truth to the stories.

The first involves a bootlegger, who, during prohibition, would sample quite a bit of his own hooch. He was a jolly drunk, and because of his disposition, he earned the nickname “Happy.” The fellow used the profits from his enterprise to buy a house on the hill. During this time the houses were very new and the hill became known as “Happy’s Hill”.

The second story also involves bootleggers. Supposedly, several of them bought new homes and threw some wild parties up there. The hill became known as “Happy Hill” and was later corrupted to “Happy’s Hill.”

Another story is that a Lawrenceville teenager during the early 1970’s was mortified when he found out that his grandmother was making beer in the family bathtub during the 1920’s and 1930’s. She was elderly at that time her grandson found out and was an extremely devout Roman Catholic. She explained to him that she had a large family and his grandfather had died, leaving her a widow with no means of support. She had to do something to feed the children and she had no family to watch the children if she took a job. They were too young to fend for themselves. When the grandson exclaimed, “What would the priests say if they learned that you were breaking the law?” The grandmother replied. “Ronald, a lot of people did it back then. Besides the priests at Holy Family and the local police were my best customers.” (Holy Family Rectory at that time was located on Forty-first Street just a little below Foster Street.) As far as I know the house was located at Davison Street and Service Way. It has a yard along Davison Street.

There was a “speak-easy” on the corner of 4301 Butler Street, called Doggie’s. It was on the second floor. The place was said to be booming with business, but was never raided.

Pittsburgh Brewing Company, like so many other places stopped producing beer, and sold soda pop. When Prohibition was repealed people jammed the area around the brewery and waited until midnight April 7, 1933, see the Pittsburgh Press article of April 7, 1933. According to this article, it was estimated that 700 trucks were lined up waiting for the beer to flow.

Q: Do you know the order of sisters that taught at St. Mary Assumption School on 57th St? Was it the School Sisters of Notre Dame?

Thanks,

Nancy Staresinic

A: According to the booklet “Saint Mary Assumption Parish – August 15, 1897 – October 29, 1993,” the school was started in the basement of the church and was taught by two lay teachers. It wasn’t until a new fireproof edifice was constructed and went into operation in 1912 that nuns were brought from Baltimore to staff the school. They belonged to the order of the Sisters of Notre Dame.

Q: Do you know the first name/any info about the McCleary for whom the school was named?

Thanks,

Scott McCurdy

A: Rich Bassett, a retired school teacher that helps us with school related questions, provided the following information about McCleary School.

“McCleary School, named for Miss Rose McCleary, principal of Mt. Albion Sub-district, included five schools. It was erected in 1900.” This information was taken from the 1964-1965 of Board of Public Education Directory.

“Mt. Albion must have been that area of Lawrenceville from 57th Street on. The school was located near Sawyer and Butler St. (There is a car dealer on that site now) I am sure that McCandless was probably one of the five, and possibly Sunnyside. I am not sure what the fifth was, perhaps Morningside.”

Q: Hello, my name is Jenny Kirkpatrick. I am a nursing student at Duquesne University. At the beginning of the semester, we were divided into groups and sent to various community locations. My self and others were placed in Lawrenceville. We were given an assignment to complete to do a collaborative presentation for the end of the semester. There were specific areas that were outlined for each group to address in their communities and then these many areas were divided up amongst the group members. I am writing to you with hope that you will be able to help me locate some vital information for my portion(s) of the project. I have met some difficulty recovering specific information. Here are the topics that I volunteered to explore:

1.) Study the history of the community: The community history should include initial development, any specific ethnic groups that may have settled there, past economic trends, and past population trends.—–> I was able to see tidbits of information, but nothing that seemed to stick out for this project.

2.) Age and Gender: Obtain age and gender information from census data——> Do you have these specific numbers? I attempted to find information on the census site, but to no avail. It does not allow the search of specific zip codes; also, it seemed tricky to search Lawrenceville by zip code alone, as I saw that a small portion is in a different zip code? I visited the Mount Lebanon library and the reference librarian had the same issues I had. I was referred to the Main branch of the Carnegie Library and they suggested I contact you for this information.

3.) Racial and Ethnic Groups: study census figures and state and local reports—–> This information would typically be included on a census report, but as the previously stated area notes, I have been unable to obtain this data. In the community health center we have seen many Somalian Refugees and it was my understanding that they located to Lawrenceville as placement by Catholic Charities. Do you have any information about this? Would the population be included in the census information?

4.) Vital Statistics: obtain vital statistic data from the National Center for Health Statistics, state and local agencies and hospital records including birth and death records and morbidity data——> I looked on the first noted website, which is actually the CDC, and ran into a similar problem as with the search for census related statistics.

5.) Household Size, Marital Status, Mobility- refer to US census for the number of people per household, their marital status, and stability of the population.—–> Again, I need to locate the specific census information for all of Lawrenceville.

Essentially, I need specific census information that includes all of this information and encompasses all three areas of Lawrenceville. I also need basic history about the beginning of the community, how it has grown and changed and why. This will help our group to understand how it has evolved into the neighborhood it is today.

I would greatly appreciate any information or guidance that you are willing to offer. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

A: Some Lawrenceville census information is on line at http://pittsburghpa.gov/dcp/snap/. The map breaks the neighborhood into Lower, Central, and Upper Lawrenceville. It does not show age groups, population in terms of numbers and percentage of people by race (not ethnic group), population change, and housing information.

Additional information can be found at http://www.ucsur.pitt.edu/files/nrep/2010/UCSUR_SF1_NeighborhoodProfiles_July2011.pdf. This site breaks down the neighborhood as Lower, Central, and Upper Lawrenceville. It does show age groups and racial groups, but does not show information by ethnicity. Additional census information might be found at the Reference Department of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Make an appointment to speak to the Government Document Specialist.

Q: I was referred to you by the staff at Allegheny Cemetery.

In one of their publications last year a photo from the early 1900s showed either a Memorial Day or July 4th parade in the cemetery.

They say they have no archival material of this nature and to contact you. If you have photo archives, I would appreciate the opportunity to view them.

My focus is anything that might involve GAR Post 157, from its inception until 1932. My g g grandfather, John Cooke Swearingen (who is buried in Allegheny Cemetery) was Commander of this Post in 1911 and gave a speech, I assume that same year, on Memorial Day. I have been working at Soldiers and Sailors Hall to research his involvement but would like to explore possibilities in Lawrenceville.

Mr. Swearingen owned Swearingen Ink Co. at the intersection of Dinwiddle St. and Ink St. in the Hill District, just above the old Fifth Avenue School. He lived on First Street, downtown, at the Ink Co., and on Holland Ave. in Wilkinsburg. The company supplied all the ink and mussilage for Pittsburgh Public Schools, Iron City Brewery and many other businesses.

I look forward to hearing what you might have.

Regards,

Anita McElwee

A: Unfortunately, we have no additional information to share. Anyone that can help Anita is urged to contact her at anitamcelwee@yahoo.com.

Q: A friend bought one of the new explosion medals for me.

It is a shame that you did not get any free publicity in the press articles about the explosion anniversary.

How many medals were struck?

Who made them and were any in other metals?

What do the initials A. R. W. stand for?

How can additional medals be purchased?

Larry Dziubek

A: These souvenir medallions were made especially for the 150th anniversary of the explosion of the Allegheny Arsenal. There were 150 of them made. They were not made in any other metals. The initials A. R. W. stand for Abram R. Woolley, the Arsenal’s first commandant. The medallions were sold out within the first two weeks of their release. They are a limited edition of a commemorative coin. No more will be struck. Try local coin dealers from time to time or search the internet for some that might appear on sale.

This information was added on November 25, 2012.

Q: Alfred Mann writes – I am working on the history of Samuel Kier, who was the Lawrenceville resident that pioneered this country’s petroleum refining business. As a member of the American Chemical Society, I have arranged for a National Historic Landmark plaque to be erected in Pittsburgh honoring Kier’s work. I am searching for a suitable location. I have been asked whether there are any of Kier’s artifacts still in existence, other than the ones at the Drake Well Museum in Titusville PA. This could include the bottles he used to sell petroleum as a medicinal product, the advertising materials in the form of bank notes, the illuminating lamps that he produced, etc.

My thought is that the Lawrenceville Historical society might have information on how to obtain such materials. I have also contacted Kathy Kier of Tarentum, great granddaughter of Samuel Kier’s brother.

A note from Kathy Kier, dated November 28, 2005, suggests that Samuel Kier lived on 51st St in Lawrenceville, near the present Sears warehouse/outlet store. She said the address might have been 27 – 51st St, but she wasn’t entirely sure of this.

Can you or anyone involved with the Lawrenceville Historical Society add additional information?

A: We cannot find anything on 51st Street except Crescent Works (divison of Crucible Steel), which was on the even numbered side of the street. On the odd numbered side of the street there was Keystone Bridge and Lucy Furnace.

Fifty First Street changes its name to Stanton Avenue above Butler Street. There was a J. M. Kerr living on the corner of Stanton and Butler in 1910, but no Samuel Kier as far as we can tell. The on-line directories only run up to 1930. Did Samuel Kier ever work for Crescent Works, Keystone Bridge (which became a division of American Bridge), or Lucy Furnace? If so, this could explain the 51st Street address. Please ask Kathy Kier send us a scan of the address. Maybe we can decipher something from the scan.

Unfortunately, the Lawrenceville Historical Society does not have any information on artifacts relating to Samuel Kier or his company.

Q: Karen Brooks-Reese, the librarian at the Lawrenceville Branch of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh got the following question from Sandy Crain, and asked if we could answer it.

I am from north of Syracuse, NY, and plan to drive to Lawrenceville in the next couple weeks to search Farr genealogy, and I would appreciate a list of cemeteries in Lawrenceville and an address. Is there a free wear that might have old newspaper articles on the area. I am looking at 1800’s and early 1900’s. Any help is appreciated.

A: The only four burial areas that we know of in Lawrenceville are Allegheny Cemetery, St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Cemetery, the Washington Burial Ground, and the Fourth Presbyterian Cemetery. The latter was bought by Allegheny Cemetery during the 1870’s.

The Washington Burial Ground, which is also called the Lawrenceville Burying Ground was closed and the grounds used for Washington School and Carnegie Library. The school is now used as Stephen Foster Community Center. Many of the graves were moved to Allegheny Cemetery. (See the book Monster on the Allegheny . . . and Other Lawrenceville Stories for the details.)

Norm Meinert maintains a really good website for locating graves. (See http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~njm1/tombs.htm.) For old newspapers, we always use Google News Archive. It has a pretty bad search engine, so we go back every couple days and check again and again to see if new articles show up. They often do.

You should also check out the Historic Pittsburgh website at http://digital.library.pitt.edu/p/pitttextall/. It’s an excellent starting point and has 97 hits for the name Farr.

Q: Stephanie asks – I’m working on a project related to the Heppenstall history and the Heppenstall sign. I was hoping you can point her in the right direction

A: We can refer you some good sources to check out. Jim Wudarczyk mentions Heppenstall in both Monster on the Allegheny . . . and A Doughboy’s Tale and In Loving Memory . . . and Still More Lawrenceville Stories. You will also want to check out the Lawrenceville Historical Society’s website. (See http://www.lhs15201.org/articles_b.asp?ID=83.)

The Historic Pittsburgh website (see http://digital.library.pitt.edu/p/pitttextall/) gave us 68 hits. Make sure you do not select the city directories. If you do, the count will jump to 722, because so many people worked there.

The Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania and the University of Pittsburgh both have copies of the following source:

Author: Heppenstall Company.
Title: The history of Heppenstall Company : Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Alternate Titles: Fifty years of service.
Imprint: Pittsburgh : Heppenstall Company, 1943.

Google News Archive gave us 45 hits. You have to be careful using this source, because the search engine is so bad. Sometimes you’ll get a few hits, the next day you might not get any, then the third day you’ll get all 45 or more. We selected “Heppenstall”. I also ranged the dates from 1814 to 2012, since I didn’t know when the company opened.

Now regarding the sign – you don’t mention to which sign you are referring. We can think of two. One straddled the entranceway to the plant’s property. It can be seen in the “Images” section of the Historic Pittsburgh website. The photo is dated c. 1950, but gives no indication as to the age of the sign. The other sign is the huge one that was on top of one of the buildings. It appears on a photo that was taken by Peter Tysarczyk during the 1936 flood, so we know that it is at least that old.

Finally, here are a couple things that the late Frank Novosel told us. He used to work there. When they closed, the company let him take the old whistle. He collected industrial whistles. He climbed up to the roof and carried the whistle down on his shoulder. Someone told me that Frank was nuts for doing that, because the whistle weighed 150 lbs. He could have gotten killed as going on the roof was very dangerous. Frank said that another man went with him, but got scared when they got to the top of the ladder and wouldn’t go on the roof.

Frank also told us that Heppy’s made razor blades that were so good that the company had to discontinue making them when sales were so bad, because the blades would not wear out. He said that they lasted at least three or four times longer than other brands. Other men verified this story.

Frank also told me that they printed playing cards. Other men verified this, but others told us that those men were mistaken. They said that the cards were made by another company and given to employees when Heppy’s opened a new building.

Q: Jude Wudarczyk asks – I recently saw an old bottle from Doughboy Cola. Was this a Lawrenceville Company?

A: Nancy Worek of the Downtown Business Library Branch of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh provided us with a link to the PA corporation bureau record for the company – https://www.corporations.state.pa.us/corp/soskb/SearchResults.asp. From this link and the city directories of the 1940’s were able to establish that there offices were located at 410 Commonweath Building, 308 Fourth Avenue, in Downtown, and the bottling plant was at 822 East Carson Street on the South Side.

Q: Donna Booth forwarded the following – Forwarding from the Carothers rootsweb surname board which I subscribe to.

I have a collateral line, Robert Carothers, born c. 1800 Ireland, died 1865, Lawrenceville. Married one of my greatgrandfather’s older sisters Ann Jane Thomson (1804–Franklin Co., PA–d. 1863 Lawrenceville). The burials were in the Allegheny Cemetery.

Searching for descendants of this couple possibly Sarah, Mary, and Nancy, but not verified.

Anyone have Carothers in their ancestry?

Marybeth C.

A: The earliest reference we could find on Robert Carothers is that he was a weaver in Pittsburgh in 1815. See:

Standard history of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania by Eramus Wilson and Weston Goodspeed.

The 1815 City Directory has him listed as living on the east side of Penn between Irwin Alley and Hand (now 9th) Street. Throughout the years he moved around a lot between Allegheny City and Lawrenceville. In 1826, he’s living in Allegheny, in 1850 he’s living on Allen (now 38th) Street, in 1857 he’s liver in Lawrenceville near Two Mile Run, in 1861-2, he’s in Allegheny as a carpet weaver, in 63-4 he’s living on Dravo Street near Butler Street, in 65-66 on Penn Street in Lawrenceville, in 67 he’s he moved back to Allegheny and remained there until ’71 when he disappears. When he lived in Lawrenceville he worked as a carpenter, but when he lived in Allegheny he was a carpet weaver. When he lived downtown in 1815 and in Allegheny in 1826, he was a weaver.

Q: I’m searching for information on Samuel Garrison, who was the Burgess of Lawrenceville in 1844. Any information will be appreciated. Debbie Yarrow

A: We checked the old Lawrenceville Borough Council Minutes from 1844, and found that Samuel Garrison was not the Burgess of Lawrenceville that year. T. H. Sarber was.

The minutes were handwritten and are very hard to read. The entry for May 5, 1844 shows that Samuel Garrison was the “Overseer of the Poor”. There is an entry next to his name of $13.55. Although we’re not certain, because the secretary did not keep good records, and his handwriting left much to be desired, we believe that this was the money that was in his account. We think that those jobs were voluntary positions and as such the $13.55 would not have been his pay.

He was also one of the Directors of the Lawrenceville Savings Bank in 1867. (See Pittsburgh and Allegheny County Almanac, p. 234.) Also, he was an honorary member of Engine Company No. 12. (See Our Firemen : the History of the Pittsburgh Fire Department, from the Village Period Until the Present Time edited by Charles T. Dawson, page 27).

According to Miscellaneous History of Lawrenceville by Joseph A. Borkowski, Samuel Garrison was the “Master Coppersmith” at the Allegheny Arsenal. (See page 26.) Mr. Borkowski does not mention in what year(s) Garrison held this post.

According to “an Address Delivered at the Request of St. John’s Lodge, no. 219, F. & A. M. at the 444th Stated Meeting, April 12th, 1883, on the History of the Lodge, and the Establishment of Freemasonry in Pittsburgh” (see page 24) Garrison was the treasurer of Hamilton Lodge No. 173 in Lawrenceville. They met the first Wednesday of every month. According to the book Pittsburgh in the Year Eighteen Hundred and Twenty-six he was already the Lodge Treasurer.

In 1903, a Samuel Garrison was the president of the Mortgage Banking Company. (See page 37 of A Century of Banking in Pittsburgh by Edward White.) According to History of Pittsburgh and Environs Vol. 2 by George Thornton Fleming, he was this institution’s first president. It seems doubtful to us that this is the same man.

A write up about him and his company, Garrison, Williams & Company Limited, appeared in the book Pittsburgh and Allegheny Illustrated Review by John William Leonard. (See page 83.)

The 1844 Harris Business Directory lists him as both the Master Coppersmith at the Allegheny Arsenal and Lawrenceville’s Burgess. However, as we stated earlier the Council minutes lists Sarber as the Burgess for 1844. As the information for the 1844 Directory was garnered in 1843, and we didn’t actually see Sarber’s name until April of 1844, we’re guessing that Garrsion preceded Sarber and held his position starting in 1843 and ending early 1844. This directory lists S. H. Sarber as a councilman. Earlier we mentioned that T. H. Sarber was the Burgess. We’re guessing that we misread the first initial as the handwriting was so difficult to read.

In the 19th Century Pittsburgh had two city councils. One was called the Select Council and the other was called the Common Council. Garrison served on the Select Council’s Committee for City Properties according to the 1877-1878 City Directory. However, we can’t determine if this was the first Samuel Garrison or the second.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Debbie at teacherlady0409@yahoo.com.

This information was added on November 24, 2012.

Q: I am looking for the Jeske bunch who arrived in New York 1881 and migrated to the Lawrenceville location to labor at various occupations. My Grandmother for some reason stayed in Indiana County PA and married my Grandfather on a large farm. Her side of the Jeske’s lived on a farm in West Prussia. Her 5 sisters and parents moved into Lawrenceville probably in the 1890’s.

The particular names are my Grandmother’s mother and father…Paul and Anne Jeske. They were in their 60’s in approximately 1910, which is the only information I can find about them. They all belonged the German Lutheran Church.

Thanks—I want to make sure that Lawrenceville is what I am looking for.

A: The earliest record we found for Paul Jeske in Lawrenceville is the 1887 City Directory, which lists him as living at 5219 Duncan Street. He doesn’t appear again in the city directories until 1904 where he is living next door at 5221 Duncan. He does show up at the same address in 1905 and 1906, but from 1907 through 1911 he is listed as residing at 5223 Duncan Street. This is another move next door. This practice of moving a very close by was not uncommon in those days. Sometimes the tenants would get a $1.00 or $2.00 cheaper a month rent from a different landlord/landlady, or the property owner would send them to another house while the house where they were living underwent renovations.

Annie (widow of Paul) Jeske pops up living at 5221 Duncan Street starting in 1914 through 1918. Gustave and Robert Jeske both show up at 5231 Duncan in 1914 and in 1915.

So far we only found two Lutheran Churches that would have been in Lawrenceville in 1887. The first was Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church at 37th and Bandera Streets, then called Banks Street. This congregation is still in existence today. The zip code is 15201. The contact person is Rebeckah Johnston.

The second church was the St. John’s German Evangelical Lutheran Church. This church closed in 2002, and the records were shipped to St. Andrew’s. The pastor there told us that she will not honor requests for information from people searching their family history.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Dick Gibson at lexus215@verizon.net. He has informed us that one daughter was named Alvina (Lena) Brosky. She died in June 1955 and was buried in the Allegheny Cemetery.

Q: I just learned about your annual Stephen Foster festival. Will you hold one this coming January? If so, would you please provide information?

Stephen Karl Klotz
Executive Director of Validation Training for Country Meadows Retirement Communities

A: The Stephen Foster Music and Heritage Festival, or Doo Dah Days as it is more likely called, occurs the second Saturday in July. We are planning to co-host this event again in 2013 with the Allegheny Cemetery Historical Association. (Watch www.doodahdays.com for details. Someone usually posts them as the details are ironed out.) This is a fun filled five hour festival that draws people from all across the world. You can ride a horse and wagon, listen to four bands, bring a picnic basket or buy food there, or tour the cemetery on a trolley.

On January 13th Allegheny Cemetery Historical Association is the organization that honors Stephen Foster on the anniversary of his death. The Lawrenceville Historical Society is always invited to participate in the event, but we do not host it. It is a very nice event with a few speakers and music by a local school. Some years there is an afternoon event in Oakland, which is done in conjection with the Stephen Foster Memorial, part of the University of Pittsburgh. You will have to contact Allegheny Cemetery to find out more. If January 13th falls on a Saturday, this event will take place on the preceding Friday. If it falls on a Sunday, then it takes place on that Monday.

Q: Christine Fish asks, “Did the Bakewell family that are famous Pittsburgh glass manufacturers and who are buried in Allegheny Cemetery manufacture or invent bakelight?

A: While we did not find any information on bakelight, we found that bakelite is a plastic used in making jewelry. According to the website http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Baekeland, it was Leo Hendrik Baekeland, a Belgian chemist that first made bakelite. There is no connection between the Bakewells and Baekland.

On a recent tour of Allegheny Cemetery a couple weeks ago you asked if the Bakewell Company first manufactured bakelight, a plastic used in making jewelry. While I did not find any information on bakelight, I found that bakelite is a plastic used in making jewelry. According to the website http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Baekeland, it was Leo Hendrik Baekeland, a Belgian chemist, that first made bakelite. There is no connection between the Bakewells and Baekland.

Q: I am doing some research for a friend of mine’s father who lives in Germany. He has a huge fascination with “The Pittsburgh Windmill”. I was hoping I could visit some historical sites and photograph them for him during my next trip to Pittsburgh (in a couple weeks). Could you give me a list of places that would be considered historical for this fighter in Pittsburgh (i.e., homestead, local establishments he frequented, gyms he may have trained in, gravesite)? I appreciate all of you help with this!

A: The Lawrenceville Historical Society only answers questions about Lawrenceville people, places, and events. Harry Greb was from Garfield, not Lawrenceville. He’s buried in Hazelwood’s Calvary Cemetery Sect. W, Lot 40, Gr 5, (I) – (See http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~njm1/calvary1.htm.) The only place we know that he fought in Lawrenceville is Weidemier Hall, which is now the Arsenal Bowling lanes on 44th and Butler Streets. Try contacting Carnegie Library’s Pennsylvania Department or the Heinz History Center for more information.

Q: Mary writes, “I am looking for the location of a saloon, bar, or hotel on Butler Street, early 20th century, that was owned by my father’s grandfather Michael Deasy. Can you locate it? Was it named Deasy’s? Do you have any photos of it or photos of any Deasys in Lawrenceville? They were also active in AOH.

He owned the business before and after prohibition.

A: Michael W. Deasy did own a bar at 4500 Butler Street. Today it is Vocelli Pizza Shop. We first found him owning the bar in 1910. He continues to show up in the city directories until 1918. We don’t know if he was involved or not, but during the Prohibiton the site was known as an outlet for boot leg whiskey. One batch turned out bad, and two men from the neighborhood got terribly sick. One, a man named Moriarty, died.

Michale Deasy was indeed active with the AOH (Ancient Order of Hibernians). He was the chairman for an event honoring St. Patrick. His picture along with the event’s details appeared on page 11 of the March 12, 1916 edition of the Pittsburgh Press.

We know of no old photos of the bar.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Mary at begreen@comcast.net.

Q: My name is Aaron Dahl and I am trying to find information on the final resting place of my Great-Grandmother’s Grandfather Hiram Anson Van Eps who died in March 1864 at Camp Copeland PA. My Great-Grandmother was born in 1894 and didn’t die until 1996 at just under 102 years old. Hiram was a Pvt in the PA 145th, enlisting Feb 29th 1864 and dying at Camp Copeland on March 24th 1864. For many years I have been trying to find out what became of Hiram after his death. He didn’t end up buried in the family sections of the two local cemeteries where his brother Abram Loren VanEps who survived the war and his father who also died in 1864 are buried.

Recently I made a discovery and found that some of those who died in March of ’64 at Camp Copeland were later buried in the GAR Civil War Memorial section of Allegheny Cemetery. 13 of these Civil War section graves are marked as “unknown”. I have found that 5 or 6 of the Civil War soldiers buried there died within a week of Hiram, and one PA 145th member died 4 days after him. It seems very likely that Hiram could have ended up there as well. After contacting the cemetery, we found that Hiram Anson Van Eps had indeed been buried there….the record has no dates and lists only “removed away by friends”, no info on when he was buried there or when his body was removed. Hiram had 5 brothers who could have come for his body after the war, or it could have indeed been friends, but they all would have taken his body back to Warren county and buried him in Davie Hill or Sutton Hill cemeteries. In addition the family of Abram Loren VanEps (Hiram’s closest brother) kept and passed on all the information of his death and family, yet they didn’t know where Hiram had been buried.

With that in mind, I have a theory… I don’t think that Hiram’s family or friends came for his body, and in fact I don’t think his body was ever removed from Allegheny cemetery. I think instead that his body was moved within Allegheny cemetery to be reburied by the GAR in the memorial section….at which point the labeling of his remains was somehow lost and he was reburied as “unknown”. I came to this guess of sorts after reading that Civil War soldiers had first been buried in two places within Allegheny cemetery, the Federal section and a potter’s field section where the indigent were first buried. These potter’s field graves were moved into the GAR section in the late 1860s or early 1870s.

If this information is true, then I figure that the soldiers who died at Camp Copeland and were buried in Allegheny belatedly would have been close to indigent and likely been those Civil War soldiers referenced as first being buried first in the potter’s field, before they were later moved to the GAR section as the Memorial et al was established. Allegheny Cemetery records only “US Volunteer’s Lot” and Grave: “No.13”, but they aren’t sure where exactly that means in the cemetery. I think I may have made a connection as I found that 1 of the 13 unknown soldier’s there is labeled on-line as being buried in “Soldier’s Lot Stone # 13”. With the state of this old record at Allegheny Cemetery I surmise that Grave #13 is where Hiram’s body was moved TO, not removed FROM.

So after my long-winded and rambling lead in is finished, my question is this: Do you have any knowledge on what records or information might have been kept from the GAR at that era, and if there is any way to possibly gain access to any clues that might exist as to the activities the GAR went about establishing this Civil War section in Allegheny Cemetery?

Aaron Dahl

P.S. The 150th anniversary of Hiram’s death will be March 24th of 2014….I’d really love to be able to find him and have his grave marked in his name to honor him… 18 months to mark 150 years.

A: After many, many contacts with Allegheny Cemetery I have found that they keep meticulous records. If they say that friends took the body and removed it from Allegheny Cemetery, then it most likely happened that way. I’m surprised that they don’t have a date for this occurrence. The reason for removing Hiram Anson Van Eps could provide a clue (albeit not a big one). Was he Catholic or Jewish? If so, perhaps his friends felt he should be with his own kind. At that time, Catholics and Jews did not permit burials in Allegheny Cemetery, because it was not sanctified ground (as in sanctified by their religions). We checked a burial site that we often use. (See http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~njm1/tombs.htm.) Unfortunately, we came up empty. We checked Google News Archive, and again came up empty. Let us know if you can determine his religion. This might provide us a clue. We love a good mystery; however, this one has us stumped.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Aaron at aaron_dahl@hotmail.com.

Q: I was researching on the internet for the Bloomfield Historical Society. The information I found suggested that the Lawrenceville Historical Society serves the neighborhoods of Lawrenceville, Bloomfield and others.

Is this true? I am looking for some old pictures of the Bloomfield area and the Lawrenceville area. My ancestors from the 1850’s to the 1940’s lived in these two neighborhoods.

A: Raymond Yeager writes, “The Lawrenceville Historical Society only provides information on Lawrenceville, not Bloomfield. There are three good sources for neighborhood photos. These are the Historic Pittsburgh website (see http://digital.library.pitt.edu/images/pittsburgh/), the Pennsylvania Department at the Main Carnegie Library in Oakland, and the Heinz History Center Library. There is a fee to enter the Heinz History Center and to use their library unless you are a member, in which case it is free.

Keep checking back at the Historic Pittsburgh website. They keep adding more and more stuff every few years.”

Q: Raymond Yeager followed up with this question.

My great great grandfather was a butcher on Butler and Hatfield across from the cemetery for a couple of years. At least that is according to the Historic City Directories. I do not have the name of the grocery store. I know from his death certificate that he lived at 1093 Penn Street during this same time. He later became a butcher on Smithfield and his son took over being the butcher in Lawrenceville.

While I do not know for sure, I am assuming 1093 Penn Street is now Penn Avenue. The address 1093 is in downtown.

With that in mind, do you have any ideas as to how he would have gotten to work in circa 1860? That is about 3 ½ miles.

A: Unlike today, people thought nothing of walking three or four miles to work, putting in a twelve hour day, and then walking home. We have heard reports of men still doing it during the 1930’s.

Of course, he could have spent a nickel to ride the horse drawn street car.

Q: Ray Yeager followed up with one more question.

My great-great grandfather, who immigrated before 1852, was working as a butcher in Lawrenceville. This was the really interesting information from Historic Pittsburgh’s directories:

Directory of Pittsburgh & vicinity for, 1857-1858, Directory Page 89

…Catharine, widow of William, lab, Pike n Chestnut, A Helapand Conrad, lab, h Perry below Bingham, B Helbling Xavier, butcher, h Butler opposite Cemetery, L Helbling Jacob, butcher, h on Allen n Turnpike …

I am not sure where he and his wife lived before they went to 1093 Liberty Avenue by 1860. I believe his son took over the butcher position above in the 1860’s.

As I have come to find, my Lawrenceville ancestors also started a school in the 1850’s at their house (not sure where the house was) for German children. Also, F. Xavier’s daughter was married in the St. Philomena Church in Lawrenceville. This historical account has become a labor of love.

I have begun to develop a manuscript for our children. One piece of history that is very lacking was pictures. The Helbling’s, Yeager’s, and Seger’s were not great picture takers. However, I have seen pictures from Pittsburgh in the 1800’s. That is where my question comes in: Would you please be able to direct me to where I might find some pictures from around Lawrenceville? I am hoping to find pictures that I would be able to include in my family history book. Pictures of Butler Street would be a great addition to my writings.

A: The German School that was started by Xavier Helbling was located at 4807-4809 Butler Street. The building is no longer standing.

We know of no existing pictures of this site, but suggest that you keep trying the “images” found in the Historic Pittsburgh website. They keep adding more and more information and photos every couple years.

The school and various members of the Helbling family are mentioned in the book Monster on the Allegheny.

Q: Ray wrote us with another question.

Again, I am sorry to bother you, but still on my quest for information. I found on your Historical Society Website a walking tour of St. Mary’s. Since many of my family is there, I thought I would check it out.

One of the families on the tour was Helbling. As in your book, you outline that Franz Xaver started the German School. I know where my Great Great Grandfathers site is – FX Helbling. I know that FX was born in Germany and F is Franz and X is Xaver. I also looked at the entire directory and found no other Franz Xaver. With that in mind, am I right in believing that FX is the Helbling that started the German School?

A: As far as I can tell this is Franz Xavier (I think this is the correct spelling, not Xaver) Helbling, the guy that started the school.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Ray Yeager at ryeager@dmicompanies.com.

Q: My name is Liam Halferty, and I am a senior student at Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA. I am a currently a native of Bloomfield and a former resident of Lawrenceville. I am a broadcast communications major, and I am currently in the process of shooting a documentary about St. Mary’s Lyceum. I was wondering if there were historians involved with the Historical Society that would be willing to answer some questions about the Lyceum, and Lawrenceville in general.

A: The Lyceum is a brick structure consisting of two floors. The lower level is used today for such things as parish bingo games, voting, and community meetings as well as civic functions such as AA and block watch meetings. Old timers told me that the lower level used have a bowling lane in the basement. The basement also has a kitchen where volunteers make pierogies for parish fundraisers.

The upper floor is lined with balconies. Back in the days when the parish had a school, it was used for the school basketball games, school dances, movies, and other school or parish related activities. At first, the building was relagated to use by St. Mary’s parishioners only, or anyone that rented the hall for wedding receptions, parties, or other special functions; however, in 1968 St. Mary’s School merged with Holy Family and St. Augustine Schools. After the merger, Holy Family School was used for grades K-5, while St. Mary’s was used for grades 6-8, and St. Augustine’s was used for a high school. The new merged schools became know as the Lawrenceville Catholic School system. After the merger, the children from all three of these parishes, and St. John, the Baptist, School, which joined the merger in September 1969, were using the lyceum.

This merger was the first of its kind regarding Catholic schools anywhere in the United States.

The merger did not sit well with most of the parents. The three parishes each identified with their own ethnic group. Holy Family had strong Polish roots, St. Augustine’s was German, and the bulk of St. Mary’s families were of Irish decent. The parents were afraid that the kids from the other parishes would start fights with their kids because they were from a different parish. To the best of our knowledge, no such fights took place. Parents from Holy Family were particularly up in arms because they had sacrificed so much money, time, and effort in building a new school on 44th Street, which had just opened in 1964.

Parents from St. Mary’s were angry over the merger, because their parish had the lyceum and now children from the other parishes would be using the building for gym class.

Also, parents from St. Augustine’s and Holy Family parishes were up in arms, because the City of Pittsburgh had condemned St. Mary’s School, because it was in such poor shape, and said it had to be closed unless the necessary repairs were made. The parish began the repairs, but did not finish them in time when the school year started in 1968. The first two days of classes were conducted in the lyceum.

One old timer told us that the Golden Gloves title fights were held in the Lyceum at one time, which we have been able to verify by finding an article in the March 18, 1948, edition of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette

. As the schools closed one by one and the parishes merged on October 30, 1993, to become Our Lady of the Angels only the old Holy Family School building remained in use as a school. The name of the school was then changed from Lawrenceville Catholic Elementary School to St. John Neumann School. The school closed about two years ago. The Lyceum is still used for sports related activities.

About 1968 or 1969 there was a judo club that met in the Lyceum. A neighborhood arts club also met in the building a few years ago.

St. Mary’s Parish and Our Lady of the Angles parish both used the building in conjunction with their parish festivals.

Today the building is starting to show signs of neglect, and needs to be renovated.

We recommend that you contact Brother John, the parish pastor. See http://www.oloa.org/ for an e-mail link. He prefers to be contacted via e-mail. He might have some photos you could scan, or he might have additional information such as when the building was erected.

This information was added on March 12, 2012.

Q: My father served in the Army Air Corp in WWII. He remembers seeing him in the chow line at Keesler Field, Mississippi while in K.P. duty while at basic training – the date would be April 27, 1944. He even sent home a clipping about an exhibition.

I am in the process of compiling my dad’s WWII correspondence home to his parents and would like to have the details straight and complete as possible. I would greatly appreciate any information you can share with me concerning Mr. Zivic and his WWII service.

Sincerely,

Wendy Neal

A: We’re sorry to report that we have no information on Fritzy’s military career.

Anyone that can provide information is asked to contact Wendy at bobbycat2@msn.com.

Q: I just can’t seem to remember – and can’t locate an old newsletter — do you run genealogical inquiries in your newsletters? I keep on hitting those proverbial brick walls and since those reclusive ancestors were from Lawrenceville, a published inquiry might help.

Judy Freiland Shaffer

A: Our new newsletter editor does not run genealogical inquiries in Historical Happenings; however, we still try to put them on our website when time permits.

Q: I was wondering if you could tell me anything about a tavern that was on my father’s side of the family. It is/was the Kims’ Tavern or Bar. I think it was on a corner of Liberty Ave. or Penn Ave. I haven’t been in town for many years, and it was one of my father’s relations that we did not have a lot of contact with. I do remember stopping there with my father when I was young. Is it still there???

A: The bar was called the Kims’ Bar, and was located at 3801 Butler Street. It was there as early as 1960, it was owned by Joe and Ronald Kims. As far as we know, Ronald either died or sold out to Joe. When Joe Kims died, his wife (Agnes) sold the place, and the new owner called it No Names.

Today the building is an extremely popular restaurant called Piccolo Forno, and is considered by many to be Pittsburgh’s best Italian eatery.

The Kims brothers were of Polish decent. Their last name was extremely hard to spell and pronounce. The family changed their name, and some went by Kims and others went by Kins. Gertrude Kins was the last member of the family living in the family home. It was sold to the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania (HSWP). The HSWP was interested in the house because it had all kinds of old furniture, all the wallpaper and carpets from the 1920s, and all the family diaries, and bills of sales. There were plans to turn the home into an Immigrant Family Museum, but the plans fell apart and the building was sold. It was a shame for Pittsburgh that the plans never bore fruit. If it had, this museum would have been the first of its kind in the nation.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact David at davek1948@msn.com.

Q: I am interested in the Freiland family- Anthony Freiland ( 1830-1906) and his wife Catharine Stein (1841-1904) who lived at 3449 Ligonier Street in Lawrenceville. They were members of St. Augustine’s and Anton had worked at the Pittsburgh Brewing Co. on Liberty Ave. They had nine children.

I am also interested in the Eckel family. John Eckel (1846-1922) and his wife Philomena Lamkemeyer (1849-1890 lived at 130 39th Street in Lawrenceville., There were six children in their family.

These folks are my great grandparents and I was wondering if anyone else was interested in researching these families.

I am interested in any info about the above families. I know that Philomena’s father, John Lamkemeyer was a builder/carpenter for the first St. Augustine’s Church and that he was married to Maria Clara Brueggeman. Brueggeman and Lamkemeyer names pop up a lot in the records of St. Philomena’s.

Judy Freiland Shaffer
freishaffer@gmail.com

A: The death notice that appears in the December 6, 1904 issue of the Pittsburgh Press tells us that Catherine Freiland died suddenly at 3:00 A.M. that morning and that she was an active member of St. Augustine Church.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Judy at the e-mail address provided above.

Q: I was excited when I found your web site. I have tried for a while to determine if the building my grandfather’s business was in is still standing. Unfortunatley all the people that could help me in my quest in are sadly no longer with us. It also makes it more difficult in that I live in Alabama.

The company name was Kress Pattern Company . The old letterhead I have only has an address listing as 55th and Butler Streets, Pittsburgh 1, PA. I know the company was founded in 1922 by Walter Kress and A.L. Kress (my grandfather.) If the original building is still standing I would like someday to get a picture when I visit Pittsburgh. I would appreciate any help you might be able to provide.

Best regards,

Mark Kress

A: The old city directories starting in 1923 show the company as being originally located at 2614 Smallman Street. This address would have been in the area we call “The Strip District”, because it was a narrow strip of land between the Allegheny River and Skunk Hollow. Many people call the Strip District part of Lawrenceville, but others don’t.

After the company moved, it was located at 5431 Butler Street, The building is still standing. We couldn’t find any old pictures of it. There’s a really bad picture that can be found on the Allegheny County Property website at http://www2.county.allegheny.pa.us/RealEstate/Search.aspx. A tree covers most of the façade.

For the municipality you’ll need to select “Pittsburgh – 10th Ward”.

The Smallman Street picture looks too modern to have been your grandfather’s business. An old timer once told me that they used to hold boxing matches in the Butler Street building.

If anyone can help Mike, he can be reached at the phone numbers given above or at alkresssales@charter.net.

Q: My name is Ralph Herschk my family and myself are all born and raised in Lawrenceville. I was wandering if would you know any historical information on 164 – 38th street (the house I own), or do you know anywhere that I can find old pictures of 38th Street.

A: At this time we have found no history or old photos of 164 – 38th Street. If anyone can help, Ralph can be reached at clover3342@aol.com.

Q: My name is John Cattaneo, I am the Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Monongahela Cemetery in Monongahela, PA. We are preparing for the 150th anniversary of the cemetery. The original 32 acres of the cemetery was designed by John Chislett. Currently we have no original records of Chislett. If you have in your collection or know who has Chislett’s papers please contact me at teach_200@hotmail.com. I am planning a visit to the Alleghany Cemetery in April to do some research and would like to make arrangements to pick up copies of what you may have during this visit.

The cemetery’s phone number is (724) 258-8750.

Thank you,

John Cattaneo

A: Unfortunately, we do not have any of John Chislett’s original records.

Q: I recently purchased 3418 Penn Avenue. Do you have any old photos of this building? Or do you know where I might be able get some?

Zeb Homison
Director
Bikram Yoga Pittsburgh

A: You are the sixth or seventh person requesting photos of the old Penn Theater. Unfortunately, we have no knowledge of where you can get any.

Q: Do you have any information regarding the Haggerty family of Lawrenceville. Harry was a fireman and pro boxer, John was a professional fighter and Hugh (my grandfather) was a policeman and professional boxer and he also fought in the 1924 Olympics. They fought out of The Willows Club in the 20s. any help would be appreciated.

Dan

A: “Hughie” Haggerty is mentioned in Joseph Borkowski’s manuscript “Miscellaneous History of Lawrenceville”. He won the Senior Allegheny Mountain Association Championship for the 160 lb. weight division in 1924. That same year he won the Junior Allegheny Mountain Association Championship for the 147 lb. division. He also snagged the Greater Pittsburgh Boxing Championship in 1924, where he competed in the 147 lb. weight division. He also was selected for “Jack Metz’s personal All-time All Willow Club Boxing Team” (147 lb. division). Jack Metz was the trainer at the Willow Club for decades. Sadly, Mr. Borkowski does explain what the All Willow Boxing Team was, but each of the eight weight divisions has only one or two boxers. As far as I can tell they all boxed in the early to mid 1920’s.

In 1926 Johnny Haggerty won the Greater Pittsburgh Boxing Championship (112 lb. division) , and in 1920 he clinched the Junior Allegheny Mountain Association Championship in the 118 lb. division. By doing a Google News Archive search under Johnny Haggerty, you can find a few of his upcoming bouts listed in the Pittsburgh Press. Both brothers seem to have fought in the 1920’s and early 1930’s.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to access the attachment. Can you resend it as a simple jpeg with a 300 dpi resolution? I’m not very computer savvy. You’ll also need to sign the attached release form giving us permission to use the photo. You’ll need to own the copyright to the photo.

In the 1920 City Directory Hugh and Harry are listed as brakemen living at 3835 Liberty Avenue. There is a John, whose occupation is “policeman” listed in that same year as living on Dearborn Street, which is not in Lawrenceville. However, with a common name like Haggerty it is hard to tell if this would be your John or an uncle, a cousin, etc.

Daniel Buchwach can be reached at buck5134@yahoo.com.

Q: I am beginning the hobby of Blacksmithing and have purchased a few tools. One of which is marked Iron City inside a six pointed star. After some research, I found that this was the Iron City forge started by the Kloman brothers. Andrew and Anton (later changed to Anthony). They were instrumental in the Carnegie Steel Empire. I have found personal information on Andrew Carnegie, but I am having trouble finding some personal background on the Kloman brothers. I am also trying to find the history or background behind their logo, which appears to be the Star of David. Were the Kloman brothers Jewish? That would explain the logo, but I am also interested in other personal info, concerning their involvement with the community at large in any social activity or politics? Did they affect any changes either locally or nationally in the 1860’s?

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
Bo Clark

A: The quickest and easiest way to get started in your research about the Kloman brothers is to go to the Historic Pittsburgh website at http://digital.library.pitt.edu/p/pitttextall/. If you put in the name Kloman you’ll get 114 hits. From there you can sift out the information that you desire, or you can narrow the search by putting in their first names. If you want to see where they lived, place Kloman, Andrew and Kloman, Anton and/or Anthony, and you’ll get the city directories with their addresses. All the information we know about them can be found here.

You might also want to use the maps to find the sites of their businesses.

The Kloman brothers were not Jewish They were Roman Catholics, and both are buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Lawrenceville.

We’ll look into the logo.

We do know that Andrew Kloman III, the industrialist’s grandson, was murdered, probably a robbery as he was found with his pockets turned inside out and his watch missing.

Andrew Koman bought the house where Stephen Foster was born. It had been damaged by fire, and he had it torn down. He had the current structure at 3600 Penn Avenue built on the foundation. According to local legend, when asked why he didn’t have Foster’s birth house restored, he replied, “I never thought his music would last.”

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Bo at boclark@accessmatrix.com

This information was added on December 19, 2011.

Q: Hello! I am researching the McKenna family that lived on 45th street, specifically Mary who was also known as “Mayme”. Family lore says she had some mental problems and when she died in 1956 her last known address was 311 1/2 Fisk St. I have found that Canterbury Place has been in business since the 1850’s and their current address is 310 Fisk St. Could their address have been 311 1/2 at some point? Would you have any information about the history of Canterbury Place?

Many thanks for any information you can provide! Diane McKenna

A: By searching the old city directories found on the Historic Pittsburgh website we have found James F. McKenna living at 318 – 45th Street. He held a variety of jobs during his life. In 1910, he was listed as being a chemist. In 1915, he was a clerk. In 1922 he was an auditor for the State Workmen’s Insurace Fund, and in 1930 he was an adjuster for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

While it is true that Canterbury Place has a rich history in Lawrenceville, it was not know by that name until recent decades. Earlier it was known as the Episcopal Church Home. It is not likely that the address changed from 311 1/2 to 310 Fisk Street as the odd number addresses are usually on one side of a street and the even numbered addresses are on the other. As far as we know, this facility has always been on the even numbered side of the street.

Anyone with additional information on Mary “Mayme” McKenna is asked to contact Diane at hughes.dianej@gmail.com.

Q: I’m looking for information about one of my ancestors. His name was Joseph Henderson Black and he was born on July 25, 1831 in Lawrenceville, PA. I have looked everywhere online and cannot find anything about his parents. Do you have any records that mention his name? Angela Black

A: By searching the old city directories, we were able to locate Thomas and Lydia Ann Black. Thomas first appears living in Lawrenceville in the 1839 directory. He was living on Burrows Street at the time. In 1847 he was on Water Street, in 1850 in Cherry Alley, and in 1856 on Ewalt Street. In all cases his occupation was listed as “carpenter”.

Regarding the street names, many of the street names were changed over the years, especially in 1868 when Lawrenceville was annexed to the city of Pittsburgh, and again in 1907 when Allegheny City was annexed to Pittsburgh. Ewalt Street is now known as 43rd Street.

Lydia first appears in the 1857-1858 directory as the widow of Thomas. She is listed as living on Ewalt Street near North. In the 1858 directory, she is listed as “Lizzy”, not Lydia. We found no record of her living in Lawrenceville beyond 1858.

We have found no mention of a Joseph Black, living in Lawrenceville during this period, although there are several Joseph Blacks living in Pittsburgh. Lawrenceville was a separate municipality at that time. We are guessing that Thomas died in 1856 or 1857, and Joseph probably took on an apprenticeship as a teenager, hence he moved away while he was still very young, maybe thirteen or fourteen. (These are only guesses, we don’t know for sure. Perhaps his mother was ill, and he was sent to live with an aunt and uncle or with grandparents, while he was a child.)

Anyone with additional information can contact Carol at angela.black.dvm@gmail.com.

Q: Kate Bayer asks, “Do you know anything about what used to be Krasny’s Bakery?”

A: We can find Robert Krasny of Krasny & Uffelman Bakery in the 1924 City Directory. At this early date they were located at 2323 Penn Avenue. However, it was Conrad Krasny, that opened the bakery at 4405 Butler Street.

Krasny’s Bakery was advertising as early as November 19, 1936, in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Here we read that Conrad was selling delicious pumpkin pies and butter layer cakes.

In an ad that appeared in the book The Holy Family Institute Golden Jubilee, 1900-1950, which was published by the Holy Family Institute in Emsworth, Krasny’s Bakery, specialized in wedding and birthday cakes, whipped cream butter layer cakes, and other whipped cream pastries. Their phone number was 712-5171.

Krasny’s was famous for their terrific tasting bake goods. One of the things they were known for was their mountain tops, which were very large mound shaped cupcakes that were totally covered with icing (only the bottom wasn’t covered). Some people told us that they remember the mountain tops being covered with whipped cream. Others remember the ones with chocolate icing and jimmies.

We were once told that the key to their great taste was that they used butter for all their baked goods. We heard this from an old barber (not someone that worked there), so it may not be true.

They also had great Dutch Apple pies and hard rolls.

Q: Joanne Shelby-Klein writes, Have a question for you. The Pittsburgh Brewing Company (Iron city beer) was founded in 1861. Do you know where I might be able to locate information on whether or not they supplied the army with beer during the civil war? The staff of the mini-series “To Appomattox” is looking for documentation for beer suppliers and coffee suppliers who sold to the Army during the war. The first thought in my head was Iron City Beer but can’t find any documentation and not sure where to go to locate.

A: Tom Powers provides the following answer.

To my knowledge, the only beer consumption troops in the field experienced was when they might have occupied a town with a working brewery. Prior to 1870, transporting beer to armies was impractical due to refrigeration problems, to say nothing of temperance issues that were quite strong at the time.

Here’s a a short article on refrigeration…

http://www.history-magazine.com/refrig.html

Liquor consumption was mainly restricted to distilled whiskies and the like. The most popular Civil War beverage was coffee. One of the largest coffee suppliers in the 19th century was Arbuckle’s of Pittsburgh. But their patented process for shipping coffee came after the war. Here’s a short history on Arbuckle’s…

http://www.thewildwest.org/cowboys/wildwestcowboyfacts/210-cowboysarbucklecoffee.html

One other source of liquor was through patent medicines. Hostetter’s Stomach Bitters (a Pittsburgh company) was a very popular “medicine” that was transported to troops during the Civil War. It’s not surprising given the diet of troops in the field that a tummy ache elixir would be very popular. Hostetter’s was essentially 64-proof Rye Whisky. The link below shows a page from a 1863 issue of Harper’s Weekly. At the bottom of the page is a Hostetter’s ad…

http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/civil-war/1863/april/quack-medicine-advertisements.htm

And here’s a bio on David Hostetter…

http://www.quackwatch.org/search/webglimpse.cgi?ID=1&query=David+Hostetter

Anyone with additional information can reach Joanne at joanneshelby@verizon.net.

Q: I am searching for genealogical information on my ancestors. I was told that around the 1880’s my great grandparents had a grocery store in Lawrenceville, around 45th and Butler. There last name was Lennon and we are assuming that the store may have been named after them.

Could you let me know if it is possible for me to obtain this information from your society or should I search elsewhere?

The family name I am tracing is McLaughlin. I believe they came over from Ireland before 1888. The names I have to go by are: James McLaughlin (he was a police officer) and may have been the father. The others are Mike, Annie and Mary. They lived on 53rd Street in Lawrenceville and were members of St. Kierans.

I am told that the store was in Lawrenceville, possibly on Butler Street. I’m assuming it was a produce or grocery store.

I am also attempting to locate information on Annie McLaughlin and her husband John Daly. They also resided in Lawrenceville. I know they had at least one child who was baptized at St. Kierans; Catherine.

Thanks.

Jeanne Clark
4400 Gateway Drive
Monroeville, PA 15146
724-327-7564
JCLARK1@wpahs.org

A: While we could not locate a Lennon Grocery Store, we did learn that James McLaughlin owned a grocery store at 42nd and Willow Streets in 1880/1881. There are several James McLaughlins listed in the city directories during 1882 and 1883, but none in Lawrenceville. In 1884 there is a James McLaughlin who was a grocer at Homewood and Fairfax, which is not in Lawrenceville. In the 1885/86 directory there was a grocer at 4016 Foster Street and a James, who was a policeman at 61 Boston Street, which is not Lawrenceville.

Q: My name is Sarah Hoffmann and I’m a student at La Roche College. I’m working on a project and want to know the history of the Catalyst building in Lawrenceville located 141 41st, Pittsburgh, PA.

My general questions are:

Who were the original architects?

When was it built?

What’s the building’s history?

How long has it been vacant?

What was the name of the building before the Catalyst?

I contacted Jim Aiello who is the current owner and he was not sure of the building’s history.

I would like to know the information asap because I have a presentation on Tuesday (11/8). If you can answer these questions, I will be very grateful!

A: The Catalyst Building was originally a combined Roman Catholic church and school called Holy Family. A very brief history of the building can be found on the Lawrenceville Historical Society’s web site. (See http://www.lhs15201.org/articles_b.asp?ID=81.)

The upper floor was originally used as a church, and was later changed to a gym.

The parish administrators did not upkeep the school, and it fell into to disrepair. During the early 1960’s, some of the floor boards were rotting, because leaking radiators. The students still had ink wells in the desks even though ball point pens were already in vogue for many years. Hence it was decided to open a new school next to the new church, which wasn’t so new anymore as it opened in the 1940’s. The old school closed in 1964 and was left abandoned.

Dr. Cercone, a noted surgeon in Lawrenceville, bought the building with plans to develop it, but his plans never bore fruit. Mr. Aiello bought it around the turn of the millennium. He originally thought to turn into a business incubator building, but was not successful. He later tried to turn it into condominiums, but hasn’t been successful with that venture either.

Unfortunately, we don’t know who the architect was.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Sarah at sarahghoffmann@gmail.com.

Q: I am researching my grgrgrgrandfather Thomas Moreland born 1819 and died about 1867-1869 Lawrenceville, Allegheny Co, PA. His wife was Emily Jones Moreland, who was born between 1812 and 1819 and died in 1903.

At the time of her death it was said she was one of two, of the oldest living residents of Lawrenceville. She had lived with her sons, William, Nathan and John A. Moreland, on Butler Street for many, many years.

I am willing to pay for her obituary if anyone can find it. I have the information from it, but there is no obituary. I have all the City of Pittsburgh directories as well. Thomas Moreland was a BLACKSMITH, her obit refers to him as a “PIONEER BLACKSMITH, one of the best in the nation”. Thomas Moreland is NOT Thomas B. Moreland, who is the son of Moses and Mary Moreland. I do not know the parents or siblings of my Thomas, but clearly they are two different Thomas’s. I do think they are closely related as they have similar occupations that would enable them to interact. Thomas B. Moreland and son Thomas B. Moreland, Jr. ran a livery and carriage and undertaker business. My Thomas Moreland was a blacksmith.

I am not trying to research Thomas B. Moreland. I am interested in my ancestor. I know you don’t have death records there. But ANYTHING, church records etc, that you might have or if you know some older OLD town folk that can recall Morelands, or if there are any Morelands that you know in the area would help. I am certain someone has information for me.

I will reimburse for records. Please Please help. I do not need census records. I have them.

1840- Cambria, Washington CO

1850-Lower St. Clair, Pgh, Allegheny CO. (Surname is mispelled as Meriland)

1860 South Pittsburgh, Post office Buchanan

(Those three are Thomas and Emily Moreland)

Then

1870-18th Ward, PO box Pgh (Emily s-widow)

1880-90th Butler Street

1890- Butler and 57th Street

1899-4407 Butler Street

1900- Harrison Street/57th

1903-Emily dies residence listed is 57th and Harrison

1861 City of Pgh Directory lists

John Moreland, riddler, Minor and Olive Street

John D Moreland. , carpenter 702 Penn

John Moreland, drayman

Thomas Moreland, Blacksmith , Minor and Olive St.

Thos B. Moreland, of Moreland and Mitchell

Thomas Moreland, Blacksmith, Brownsville Pike (THIS IS Thos. Jr. -my Thomas’ son)

Theodore, telegraph

Wm Moreland, Laborer

Wm. C, Attoryney (he is a brother of Thomas B. Moreland)

I believe my Thomas Moreland’s father was John Moreland, because they have the same address-Minor and Olive. It also shows my Thomas’ son Thomas Jr.

If you could find any additional information on them, that would be awesome. I know this is very detailed. I just don’t know where else to turn. I checked the courthouse records. The church where Emily went doesn’t exist now. It was the First Presbyterian Methodist Church Butler Street in Lawrenceville.

Let me know!

Suzanne Farabaugh 410-531-2808
suzif@verizon.net

A: At this point in time we have nothing more to add to the information that you have provided. If anyone has additional information please contact Suzanne.

Q: I have another question. Do you happen to know of any city directories PRIOR to 1861? I have not seen any or tax lists?

I am trying to think of some kind of records that would exist from 1840 1850 other than census that would provide Thomas or John.

Thanks for any help.

Suzi Farabaugh

A: There are city directories dating back to 1837 on the Historic Pittsburgh website. (See Harris Business Directory for that year.)

Q: I am an instructor in the Surveying and Mapping Program at the University of Akron. My special interest is surveying history. In researching Thomas Hutchins, first and only “Geographer of the United States”, I found an article by Silvio Bedini in Professional Surveyor magazine which I quote below:

“Shortly after Hutchins undertook the third expedition to complete the Seven Ranges in September 1788 and had proceeded from his office in Pittsburgh, illness forced him to return, and he died on April 28, 1789. He was buried in the graveyard of the First Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh and his grave marked with a stone stating that it was erected “In Memory of THOMAS HUTCHINS, Geographer of the United States, Who departed this life April 28, 1789.”

My husband and I visited the graveyard next to the church on Labor Day weekend. We couldn’t find any gravestone with that inscription or any other relating to Hutchins.

A second reference, the introduction by Joseph G. Treagle to a reprint of a Hutchins journal, states that:

“Funeral services were conducted by the Reverend John Heckewelder, a Moravian clergyman closely attached to those three Christian Indian villages which Hutchins was never to survey. For more than a century his remains lay in the graveyard of the First Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh, until in 1900 the burial ground was moved to make way for an addition to the main building. Along with may others, Hutchins was reinterred in Allegheny Cemetery. No records were made of individual burial plots, and the man who did so much to chart the unmarked lands of the Old Northwest lies today in an unmarked Pittsburgh grave.”

Do you have any information on Hutchins gravesite? Anything you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Ann Besch, P.S.
Engineering and Science Technology
The University of Akron

A: We had to contact Nancy E. Craigo at Allegheny Cemetery to help with this one. Here is her reply:

This is very sad, because I cannot find any record of any Thomas Hutchins here, even when I search all Interments by year (1900) so as to check for alternate spellings. Treagle’s line “no records were made of individual burial plots” disturbs me, so I would like to check around the office and with Barb to see if anyone can come up with any other facts or clues.

Nancy then added: Mr. Hutchins is not in our system, but that does not negate any historical research that says he is here. Case in point, I just came across a note that reads “1st Presbyterian Church was referred to as 4th Presb.. See before Sec.26…3 Trenches of unknown burials.” I am interpreting this to mean that before Sec. 26 was developed/named that three trenches were dug to house the remains of persons removed from the 1st Presbyterian Church. This doesn’t have a date on it but another note says that there were removals from the 4th Presbyterian (1st) in 1885 93 of which were unknown/unnamed persons.

Anyone with additional information can reach Ann at abesch@uakron.edu.

Q: Hello my wife and I recently purchased the large home and 1+ acre property at 5800 Donson Way (formerly Dresden) in the 10th ward, at the very end of Donson Way. The home was previously addressed as 5800 Butler St, but has long ago been isolated from access to Butler st. It is my understanding that the home was built in 1870 by the Atlantic refinery, and that the property previously included some of the surrounding woods going up the hill to Stanton Heights. I am looking for any records and information or early photographs you may have of the home and property to assist us in our extensive rehabilitation of the home, as we are hoping to reclaim some of its Victorian charm (it has been altered many times over in the past, including drop ceilings and partitioning into separate units). We have been fortunate to speak with the owners of the Unique Auto Wash below us, who have a large, panoramic picture of the old refinery with our house in the foreground, before it had additions built. There also seems to be an old switchback road/path up the hill behind the house. Did it lead to an old mine?

I appreciate any help you can offer, as we plan to restore this house to a single family five bedroom home for our family to live in. The project is estimated to take 6 months, as it needs a new roof, mechanicals, and utilities. We hope to be moved in by this summer.

Sincerely,
Ben Schneider

A: Welcome to Lawrenceville.

Unfortunately, we have not been able to find any photos of the house. The home actually belonged to the superintendent of the Standard Oil Company, whose name was George H. Weaver. Standard Oil later became Atlantic. We didn’t find any evidence of him living there until 1905, but we haven’t had much luck finding anything about him. Our suggestions are these:

1. Keep checking the Historic Pittsburgh website. They keep adding more and more information. They have many photos of Lawrenceville and hopefully will add even more.

2. Hire a good architect to help you restore the building. Without professional advice, you might do more harm than good.

3. When it comes to object restoration, contact a state certified object conservator.

Anyone with additional information or photos is asked to contact Ben at bschneider412@yahoo.com.

Q: I used to live in Lawrenceville in the 1970’s. I drove through a couple days ago, but didn’t notice Nied’s Hotel. They used to be on the corner of 52nd and Butler Street. Do you know when the closed? They were famous for their fish sandwiches.

A: Nied’s is still open. They recently celebrated their 70th anniversary of being business. Pittsburgh’s country music singer, Slim Forsythe recently released his second CD, which is titled “Down on My Knees at Nied’s Hotel Again.” Nied’s was opened in 1941.

The Hotel is located at 5438 Butler Street, which is on the corner of 55th and Butler Streets, not 52nd.

This information was added on November 6, 2011.

Q: I was wondering if you have anything on the candy store that was next to McCandless School. I know the school was torn down due to damage by the 1936 flood, but was wondering about the candy store. Would like to have any history you may have on it, mostly original owners and the names of owners who followed.

I was born and raised in Lawrenceville until 1940.

The store that I am referring to was on the right side of the McCandless Elementery School on Butler Street, across the street from the fire house at McCandless Avenue and Butler Street.

Thank you for any info you may be able to provide.

Mrs. Shirley Barnes Weber

A:We don’t normally do building histories unless we have a volunteer to do it for us. Without a specific address, we really can’t answer your question.

There is a really great article on the candy stores in that neck of the woods written by Gene Scott. It appeared in the Post-Gazette. (See http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09149/973542-294.stm.) Hopefully, this article can offer you some information that you seek.

If you wish to research the building in question, then you should check out the resources suggested by Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. (See http://www.carnegielibrary.org/research/pittsburgh/history/househistories.html for details.)

Anyone with information on this candy store can contact Shirley at shirlan8@consolidated.net

Q: I have a quick question regarding the Werneberg name. Digging back into the deeds of my home, 274 Fisk St., I saw that the original builders (after the parcels were broken into lots, but not for building until 10 years passed, 1880-1890), the first owners that sold a house on the parcel were named Werneberg.

There’s also the alley of the same name a few blocks East.

Is much known about the family?

Jonathan Gaugler

A: The Werneberg family had several members living in the community over the years. We have found none of the family living in the vicinity of Werneberg Way. This alley isn’t mentioned in the City Directories until 1889, which seems to correspond roughly to the same time frame (the 1880’s) with the appearance of Berlin Way and Dresden Way in Lawrenceville. Given this information we suspect that the alley was named after Wernberg, Germany, and someone just misspelled the name of the city.

Anyone with additional information can contact Jonathan at arsenal.cheese@gmail.com.

Q: Jeffrey Worthen, Public Art Assistant, Department of City Planning Department writes, – I am working on putting together an all-inclusive database of all the war memorials and monuments in the city. Would you happen to know where a memorial to Thomas Enright would be currently located? I have an incomplete (Department of Public Works) DPW database that I’m partially working from, and it says there may be one in Frick Park. We have a photo of this memorial with “Frick” written on it.

A: The memorial that is pictured in the photo that you are have is not in Frick Park. It is on Schenley Drive in Oakland. It is very, very close to the Frick Fine Arts Building, hence the connection to Frick.

For information on Thomas Enright the reader is referred to http://www.lhs15201.org/articles_b.asp?ID=25.

Q: In the 1900 census of Pittsburgh, I had a relative that lived at 2472 Smallwood Street, the 12th Ward. I have been told this area is part of Lawrenceville. I cannot find the street on any maps. Your help would be appreciated.

Tom McMurdo
Braselton, GA

A: We think that this is an error by the census taker. Most likely the address should be 2472 Smallman (not Smallwood) Street, which was in the 12th Ward during 1900. We know of no street named Smallwood, past or present, in that area.

Q: Tim Neff asks, ” Why are the (Stephen) Foster family graves so spread out in Allegheny Cemetery, and when did his daughter die?”

A: Stephen Foster is buried with his parents in their family lot. Jane Foster remarried after Stephen died. She is also buried in her parent’s lot. Her second husband, Mathew Wiley did not have a family lot. He is buried with Stephen’s daughter, Marion Foster Welch, in section 39.

Marion died July 11, 1935. It’s not clear as to why she is not buried with her parents or husband, whose name was Walter Welch (sometimes spelled Walsh). He might have been Catholic, which would explain why he’s not in Allegheny Cemetery.

Anyone with additional information can contact Tim at tneff1224@hotmail.com. Please “cc” us as we would like to know this information.

Q: Mary Johnston asks if The Clipper was a publication just for Lawrenceville?

A: The Clipper was a Lawrenceville based newspaper being published at 3521 Butler Street by H. C. Knapp. After perusing a few issues we found that the front page of each issue was full of information about Lawrenceville residents, businesses, and events (some of which were rather humorous). The rest of the paper was news from all over the world. The ads were dominated by Lawrenceville businesses. Each issue was eight pages and cost one cent. The editor took a strong stance against the Lawrenceville Library being placed at its current location. He favored a lot that ran along 35th Street that connected Butler Street and Penn Avenue. He felt that this location could have three entrances – one for each street, was close to Carnegie’s mills, and was on two streetcar lines. He also felt that it would better service the residents of Lower Lawrenceville, Polish Hill, the Strip District, and had support of some of the people of Central Lawrenceville.

For more information, read In Loving Memory . . . and Still More Lawrenceville Stories (starting on page 74).

Q: Several people asked, “Where can I find more information about Stephen Foster?”

A: Check out t the books listed on our website about Stephen Foster. (See http://www.lhs15201.org/articles_b.asp?ID=9.) We like the book Beautiful Dreamer (see http://www.lhs15201.org/review1.asp?rID=11 for a review). We also have the Doo Dah Days DVD for sale (see http://www.lhs15201.org/dvd.htm).

Q: In his excellent article The Atlantic Refinery Fire of January 21, 1924, author John Gombita mentions “…a Catholic priest, Father Thomas Brown.”

Can you tell me anything about this priest ?

Thanks for your fine efforts with the ‘Society.

Best Regards,

–paul sentner

A: The only things we found so far about Fr. Thomas Brown is that he was an Assistant Pastor of St. Kieran Parish. His stay there was a very short one, lasting only one year and ending in December 1924. (See Hundredth Anniverary 1887-1987 Saint Kieran Parish). Hence he would have been stationed in Lawrenceville at the time of the fire.

In 1926 he was at Holy Cross Parish. (See Chronology: 1909-1934 Author: Church of the Resurrection (Pittsburgh, PA).

In 1941 he became pastor of St. James parish (See Centenary Jubilee, 1854-1954, St. James Parish, West End, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania).

Anyone with additional information can contact Paul at psentner@verizon.net.

Q: For a footnote on the Historic Gun story I’m doing for the upcoming Historical Happenings, I need the page number of the article that features Jim Wudarczyk. The story is titled “Lost in Time,” and it appeared in the The Pittsburgh Press, “Metro News”, September 15, 1987.

A: It appeared on page B4.

Q: I have an 1849 Methodist hymnal and on the inside page it belongs to a Metz.

It does have what looks like “wm” before the last name. It is written in cursive. Also, there is an address of 559 Butter Street. The last line is “Home for the incurables Pittsburgh pa.”

Could you help in identifying this person?

Thank you,

Davetti Koskela

A: We scoured the old City Directories in search of an answer. While I found many William Metz’s living in Pittsburgh, (up to seven at times) none were living on Bulter Street, nor could I find any mention of a William Metz at the Home for Incurables.

If anyone can help, please contact Davetti at davetti@q.com.

Q: I am doing research on my father’s family that grew up there. Do you have photos of the area in the 20’s and 30’s? I am looking for any information about the Charles Guest family that lived on Post St from 1915 through 1950. Do you have any information on the Fowler family who lived on 42nd Street in the 1920’s?

Lara Guest – laraguest@hotmail.com>

A: Charles Guest lived in Lawrenceville as early as 1905. He is listed as a laborer. In the 1906 City Directory he is listed as a machinist. He lived at 214 – 43rd Street. We could not find him living on Post Street. We’re not sure if this is the same Charles Guest or not, but there was a man in Homestead by that same name. In 1901 Charles I. Guest was the School Director in Homestead’s Fifth Ward. In 1906-1907 he was a bricklayer.

Before moving to 157 – 42nd Street, James Fowler family lived in Lawrenceville at 183 Banner Way. His name appears in the City Directories as living at this address from 1920 to 1925. Also living at that address were Josephine and Irene Fowler. Josephine worked as a cashier at the Arsenal Theater. Irene was a forelady, but the directories do not tell us where she worked. By 1926 the family is living at 157 – 42nd Street. In 1927 Irene is working at Ward Baking Company. In 1928 Martina is listed as the widow of James, and Irene is a wrapper at Ward’s and is living at 81 South 26th Street.

The Lawrenceville Historical Society does not have photos for sale at this time. We are currently trying to build a collection of our own. There is some talk about our finally getting a small, (very small) museum. We’ll need the photos we have for that project.

Nonetheless, you can find old Lawrenceville photos on the Historic Pittsburgh website (http://digital.library.pitt.edu/images/pittsburgh/) and Retrographer (http://retrographer.org/neighborhoods/Lawrenceville).

We’re told that you’ll need to purchase the photos from the Historic Pittsburgh website, but the Retrographer photos are free. The latter site has an old photo with a current one underneath, but half the current photos don’t match the site of the old ones. For example, I called up a few that show the current photos and they were in Washington, PA. The old photos are worth checking out.

Q: I am a Pittsburgh resident doing an undergraduate history thesis on the effect of public transportation technology on the ethnic and class makeup of different Pittsburgh neighborhoods. I thought that you may be able to point me in the right direction to good primary source holders (archives, etc.) in the Pittsburgh area or give me some tips! I am planning on doing case studies on Squirrel Hill, Mount Washington, and Lawrenceville.

Nathaniel Mark

A: With the help of LHS member Rich Bassett we were able to provide the following information – the Nuttall Company, which was the world’s largest manufacturer of streetcars and streetcar parts was located in Lawrenceville. We also know that the first horse drawn streetcar line and the first electric streetcar line in Pittsburgh both ran through Lawrenceville.

Rich Bassett provided the following information:

The best place to start would be with Pittsburgh Railways, A pictorial Journey through the History of the Pittsburgh Railways Co. vol. I. This work starts with first form of public transportation, the omnibus, then through horse cars, cable cars and finally electric trolleys. It has detailed maps of early operations. It also includes a chapter on inclines, of which 4 went to Mt. Washington. This work covers the early days of the system, pre 1900 and then into the 1900’s. The author does have a website: http://pittsburghstreetcars.com/.

I am assuming that you are in Baltimore? The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, located 25 miles south of Pittsburgh, has a historian who is in charge of our archives. Please keep in mind he is a volunteer. If you have specific questions, he might be able to help you. His name is Ed Lybarger, and the number at the museum is (724) 228-9256.

Another suggestion would be to google the three areas that you are interested in researching. For Squirrel Hill, try
http://squirrelhillhistory.org/index.php?sqh_history.

Another place I would contact would be the Heinz History Center.

Finally, we recommend that you also contact the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

Anyone with additional information can reach Nathaniel at thanmark412@gmail.com.

Q: My name is Sarah Hoffmann and I’m a student at La Roche College. I’m working on a project and want to know the history of the Catalyst building in Lawrenceville located 141 – 41st, Pittsburgh, PA.

My general questions are:

Who were the original architects?
When was it built?
What’s the building’s history?
How long has it been vacant?
What was the name of the building before the Catalyst?
I contacted Jim Aiello who is the current owner and he was not sure of the building’s history.

I would like to know the information asap because I have a presentation on Tuesday (11/8). If you can answer these questions, I will be very grateful!

A: The Catalyst Building was originally a combined Roman Catholic church and school called Holy Family. A very brief history of the building can be found on the Lawrenceville Historical Society’s web site. (See http://www.lhs15201.org/articles_b.asp?ID=81.)

According to several people that went there as students, the second floor originally served as the church with the third floor being the choir loft and balcony. When the new church was built on 44th Street, the balcony was closed off and used as a gym for the students. The second floor was subdivided into classrooms.

The parish administrators did not upkeep the school, and it fell into to disrepair. In the early 1960’s, some of the floor boards were rotting, because leaking radiators. Students still had ink wells in the desks even though ball point pens were already in vogue for many years. Hence it was decided to open a new school next to the new church, which wasn’t so new anymore as it opened in 1940. The new school opened in 1964, and the old school was left abandoned.

Dr. Cercone, a noted surgeon in Lawrenceville, bought the building with plans to develop it, but he never did. Mr. Aiello bought it about ten or twelve years ago. He originally thought to turn into an business incubator building, but was not successful, having only a couple tenants. He later tried to turn it into condominiums, but hasn’t been successful with that venture either.

Unfortunately, we don’t know who the architect was. However, we do know that the addition was added in 1918.

Another interesting little tidbit of information is found on the Lawrenceville Historical Society’s website at http://www.lhs15201.org/articles_b.asp?ID=83 .

Under Holy Family the information reads:

First Holy Family R. C. Parish Complex This church, which was later relocated to 44th Street, was founded on 41st and Foster Streets in 1902, with the Reverend Anthony Smelsz being assigned as the first pastor. The church-school complex was completed in 1904, a rectory was purchased in 1907, and a convent was bought in 1914. By 1928 the parish had 1,050 families and a school with 1,000 students. Founded as an ethnic Polish parish, Holy Family was often host to important clergy, Polish diplomats, and the military hero General Haller. Today, with the exception of the former church-school building, all other structures in the complex have been demolished. As of this writing, there are plans to convert the building into condominiums.

Anyone with additional information can contact Sarah at sarahghoffmann@gmail.com.

Q: My name is Loren McClosky. I am a senior at Duquesne University majoring in Journalism. My Magazine Journalism class is currently working on compiling stories about Lawrenceville to compose our annual “Off the Bluff” Magazine. I am working on a story about the the end of prohibition in 1933 and the mobs of people who gathered outside of Pittsburgh Brewing Company at midnight on April 6-7, 1933 to celebrate the end of prohibition. I was just wondering if you had any information you could send me or if you could tell me a little bit more about this. Or perhaps you have a phone number of someone I could call to talk to about this. Whatever way you could help and any information you could provide on this subject would be greatly appreciated!

A: The only information we have on this event can be found in the Pittsburgh Press article of April 7, 1933. According to this article, it was estimated that 700 trucks were lined up waiting for the beer to flow.