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Help save history in your community by recording the stories of long-time residents, collecting and preserving historic photographs, and sketching and writing about significant local landmarks.

Spoken History: Bishop Leonard Grade 3


Table of Contents

Samantha's Interview
Noah's Interview
Monica's Interview
Katie's Interview
Aubrey's Interview

 My Grandma, by Jonah

My grandma remembers going to the movies for nine cents. There were three theaters on East Carson Street. They were The Arcade, Rex, and Liberty. There were two 5 & dime stores. On Saturday you could go to the 5 & dime store and get a bag of candy for a nickel, then go across the street to the Rex for nine cents and see a news reel, a cartoon, a serial, and previews of upcoming attractions--and still have 11 cents left over from a quarter. There were two places to get ice cream: Bard's and Isaly's. You could go to Isaly's for skyscraper ice cream cones.

My grandma helped me understand what the South Side was like 60 years ago, with streetcars and inclines. Everything was centrally located and you could walk to do everything--from shopping to entertainment.

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 My Grandfather, by Ryan

My grandfather told me many fantastic memories of his life and times growing up one block away from East Carson Street during World War II and after. Early memories my grandfather has are of spending many dark nights sitting at his home on 22nd Street when sirens would go off warning of possible air raids of enemy planes during World War II. Once the war ended, life became better for everyone and adventures on or near Carson Street became more regular and memorable. He remembered as a child walking across East Carson Street four times a day going to and from St. Casimir's School and coming home for lunch in between. He also remembered spending a lot of time at all four theaters on East Carson Street (the Arcade, Colonial, Rex, and Liberty). He felt extremely lucky that he lived across the street from Ormsby Park and pool. He said going there was “an eight-day-a-week adventure, especially in the summer time.”

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 My Mom, by Mallory

My mom told me that my great, great grandfather drove a horse and buggy for Duquesne Brewery, located a few blocks away from East Carson Street. He delivered beer on the South Side. The brewery clock was installed in 1933. It was the biggest single-faced clock in the world at that time. Now it has the words “Equitable Gas” on its face--and it still tells the time for all the neighborhood.

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 Tom, by Sarah

My dad grew up right around the corner from East Carson Street, on Sidney Street and S. 17th Street. He says that “Carson Street is a lot busier now than it used to be.” When he was young, there were lots of bars on Carson Street that catered to the steel mill workers. Today Carson Street has a lot of restaurants and bars that cater to a different crowd than when my dad was growing up. There are a lot of upscale restaurants, and lots of new construction. Where my dad used to live, there are now condominiums selling for $250,000! Since he was a kid the neighborhood has changed. Homes on the South Side are being remodeled and sell for a lot more money than their original purchase price.

My dad also remembers that “shopping was within walking distance of our house.” He said that his mom never had a driver's license. They walked everywhere for shopping. Isaly's was right around the corner, and they would get skyscraper ice cream cones there. There were 5 and dime stores, Brown & Greens (where they bought clothes), and Schwartz's Market. They also bought lunch meat at Bressler's and used to get all of their prescriptions filled at Landos Pharmacy. They would also get milkshakes at Bard's, and he would spend whole afternoons at the Arcade and Rex movie theaters because the same show would rerun all day. They would bowl every week. He remembers working as a pin setter for only one day because it was too dangerous.

My dad worked at Neven's 5 and dime and Schwartz's Market. He shined shoes at bars for 25 cents when he was young. All his friends worked on East Carson Street. One friend worked at a pet store, and my father remembers visiting him there and playing with all the monkeys, snakes, lizards, and fish. He vividly remembers the snakes eating white mice.

My dad went ice skating at the Skate Rink. He played hockey and basketball at the Market House. He swam indoors at the Oliver Bath House and outdoors at Ormsby Pool. During nice weather they played pick-up football and baseball with the many kids in the neighborhood. If the fields were already in use by other kids, then they would play ball in the alleys between the steel mills and empty lots. Nowadays there aren't many children in the neighborhood. They also fished a lot in the river. The river, back then, was very polluted from the steel mill and so they could only catch catfish and carp. The river is a lot cleaner now. Even though they were not supposed to swim in the river, they would swim in the river when it was hot. They got in trouble every time because of the smell! When he was young there were seven Catholic schools in the area: St. Michael's, St. Canice, St. John, St. Pete, St. Matthews, St. Joseph, and St. Adalbert. Now there is only Bishop Leonard.

My dad's father was a steel worker and had four children. He recalls that they weren't rich but they didn't want for anything. When he wanted some extra money, he would shovel snow.

He also remembers when the old Birmingham Bridge (the Brady Street Bridge) was imploded on May 29, 1978. An ironworker was trapped by the leg on the Brady Street Bridge and had to have his leg amputated right there on the bridge. He also remembers a big fire that destroyed the old Luigi's restaurant and Donut shop, which is where Bruegger's Bagels is now.

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 Debbie, by Alicia

Debbie told me about the time when Senator John F. Kennedy came to South Side on October 10, 1960 and rode down Carson Street for everyone to see. The car stopped on the corner of 13th Street in front of Heckler's drug store (now Esser's Floral Shop). Senator Kennedy got out of the car and picked up Debbie's little sister and gave her a kiss.

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 My Dad, by Samantha

When my dad was a little boy, East Carson Street was made of cobblestones. It had trolley tracks going down both sides of the street for the streetcars.

He remembers Lando's Pharmacy at 14th and East Carson; Nevin's 5 and dime at 15th and Carson; and Brown and Green Men's Shop across the street from Nevin's. Autenreith's 5 and dime was at 17th and East Carson. Dolata's Live Poultry Shop was across from where the Burger King is now. The Arcade Theater was where Eckerd's Drugs is now. Bard's Ice Cream Parlor was next to the Arcade, and Jo-Lynn's Pizza Shop was across from the Arcade. The Carson City Towers senior highrise was St. Joseph's Hospital. Across from the Birmingham Bridge was Miller's Furniture, and Isaly's Ice Cream and Wagner Shoes were in the 1700 block.

His most vivid memory of the South Side is hearing a really loud whistle at the J & L Steel Mill blow everyday at 4:00 p.m. “You could hear it all over South Side,” my father said. When the whistle blew, he knew his grandpap was done working and would be home in 15 minutes. Sometimes he and his father would go pick him up. When the gates opened, it seemed like a million men came pouring out. No cars could go because of all the men coming out. The cars just sat there until the last guy crossed the street.

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 Joan and Mike, by Noah

My grandma and grandpap told me about what East Carson Street was like when he worked at J & L Steel Mill and she used to do all her shopping on East Carson Street. The work whistles blew at 4:00 p.m., 12:00 a.m., and 8:00 a.m. You could hear them everywhere on the South Side. My grammy said that at the old Autenreith's 5 and dime store you could buy baby chicks and ducks during Easter for 50 cents. They would dye them pink, yellow, purple, green, or blue. You took them home in a cardboard box with holes poked in it so the baby chick or duck could breathe. There also was a lady who sold stockings and who h ad a great big glass eyeball. Every week in the summer, one of the churches had a carnival.

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 Helen, by Monica

My grandma told me about events that happened before I was born. She grew up on 17th Street, just a block from East Carson Street. On Carson she worked at a store called The Mercantile. She also worked at a fruit store on 17th and Carson.

She told me about St. Joseph's Hospital in the 2100 block of East Carson Street. She said my dad and his sister were born there. A home for senior citizens now stands where the hospital was. My grandma's dad was an air raid warden during World War II. Whenever a siren went off, he would go around making sure everybody turned off their lights. He also helped paint the letters “J & L” on the giant smoke stacks of the steel mill.

I also learned that the South Side used to be called Birmingham. Back in the 1930s and 1940s, people used to sell produce on horse drawn street cars. There was a chicken house by the Market House. You could get eggs from real chickens. There also was an incline from the 12th Street Park up to Warrington Avenue.

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 Pappy, by Katie

Pappy lived on Billy Buck Hill. He would walk down the steps to Carson Street. There he would go to the movies. There were four movie theaters to pick from: the Liberty, Rex, Arcade, and Colonial. It cost 10 cents to see two movies and one cartoon. Afterwards, he would go to either Isaly's or Bard's to get an ice cream cone for a nickel.

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 Grandma, by Aubrey

When I interviewed my grandma, I learned that things cost more money now. In the 1960s, it only cost 35 cents to get in the movie theater and 15 cents to buy a large box of popcorn. I also found out that going to the theater was popular and fun. You would get to watch cartoons, see a movie, and live show. You could bowl too!

My favorite part of the interview was finding out that the Three Stooges were live on stage at one of the Carson Street theaters. My Aunt Joyce got to see Larry, Moe, and Curly. She said they were very funny. I wish I was born then because I love The Three Stooges. My sister, my dad, my mom, and I would have loved watching them live.

You can learn about how things were from people who were there. They can tell you what things have changed since then. I like to learn about what kind of fun they had because they didn't have as much stuff as we do now.

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