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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: Roosevelt Elementary Grade 3


Table of Contents

Amanda's Interview
Colleen's Interview
Anthony's Interview

 Carol, by Raina

In my interview I learned that during the 1960s Carson Street was very different than it is today. Carol graduated from South High School, which became South Vo-Tech and closed in 2004. She told me that there were three movie theaters: the Rex, Liberty, and the Arcade. The Rex still exists, but the others are gone. There were three baker shops, shoe stores, meat markets, jewelry stores, clothing stores for men and women, and many small family-owned stores. Most of these original stores are gone and other places of business have taken their places.

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 Uncle Steve and Grandma, by Jacob

In the 1920s, the children played a lot of different things like jacks, marbles, baseball, hoops, and football. Did you know there weren't any water fountains in the 1920s? Did you know children actually played on East Carson Street? And did you know people had to take a special car to go to church and to work? I also learned that houses were lined up neatly row by row.

Did you know that my grandma is one of nine children in her family? And also did you know that my grandma and her younger sister didn't quit school at middle school and the rest did!

I think it's important to learn about people's historical experiences or memories because there is a connection between the past, present, and future.

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 Aunt Nancy, by Colin

My Aunt Nancy was born and reared on the South Side in the 1940s to be exact. Chochie told me all kinds of stuff about East Carson Street and the South Side. By the way, “Chochie” is aunt in Polish.

East Carson Street had trolleys going from South Side to downtown and Oakland. It cost only a nickel to ride. People didn't have to leave South Side because they did everything right there on East Carson Street. They had butcher and baker shops, like Wildy's and Diamonds where they got bread and donuts. You could pick out a live chicken at Dolata's. The meat man took it in the back and killed it. You took it home.

They had 5 and dime stores that were like novelty shops. They had dress shops called Friedman's and Engelman's Parisians where everyone got their dresses. Wagner's was the shoe store. The drugstores had soda fountains, so while you waited for your medicine you could have a soda and sandwich. Isaly's was lunch meat and ice cream. You could get a skyscraper ice cream cone for a nickel.

Every Saturday a man would come up the streets of South Side where we lived yelling, “Pretzels, get your fresh pretzels.” Two days a week a man called the huckster would come with fresh produce and open his big truck. One man would come every other week yelling, “Rags and old irons.” He smelled and scared everyone. He drove a horse and buggy.

Everyday one of the kids would go outside and wipe all the soot off the windowsills. The soot was from the J & L Steel Mill which is long gone.

One more thing: everyone knew your name. South Side was one big family.

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 Jeff, by Kaitlyn

My dad remembers “all the inclines going up and down Mt. Washington, and the lunch time whistles going off at Byers Pipe Mill, between S. 6th and S. 8th Streets.

It's fun to learn about someone's life and how they grew up so when they are gone you still remember them and their childhood.

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 Arlene, by Amanda

In the 1950s, my grandmother lived on East Carson Street in an apartment above a storefront. There were many immigrants having family-owned businesses, such as meat markets, produce stands, ice cream parlors, and shoe repair stores. The main business on South Side was steel-making.

One of my grandmother's first memories was traveling down East Carson Street and seeing all of the steel mills in operation. She was so shocked to see all of the smoke and soot in the air. She was amazed to see the separation of the community. One half was a neighborhood of all houses and stores, and the other half was all steel mills.

I discovered that streetcars were used instead of buses. The people of South Side did not have to leave their neighborhood for anything. Their work, school, church, and shops were all there.

Through my grandmother's eyes, I can compare South Side then and now. Now all of the steel mills are closed and South Side is becoming an entertainment district.

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 Richard, by Colleen

The U.S. Steel Mill was along East Carson Street next to the Monongahela River. The workers worked around the clock in shifts. My great grandfather John was a crane operator and retired in 1966. Bars lined East Carson Street and steel mill workers visited them during their shift changes.

Black people lived above 21st Street. The South Side was full of Polish, Slovak, and Lithuanian people. They all had their own ethnic churches and spoke their own languages at mass.

I learned how all different people can live together in a neighborhood like South Side.

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 The Donnellys, by Anthony

When Mr. Donnelly was 10 years old he was let out of school so he could view the parade on East Carson Street on October 10, 1960 for Senator John F. Kennedy. He was running for President of the United States.

I think the history of the J & L Steel Mill is the most important part of South Side history. Three generations of Mr. & Mrs. Donnelly's families worked in the mills. They made steel for cars, bridges, buildings, and train tracks. Steel products were made and shipped all over the world.

I learned about the South Side mills and came to realize that if people don't write stories down they lose the story.

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