Chapter 5

Home ] Up ] Prologue ] Chapter 1 ] Chapter 2 ] Chapter 3 ] Chapter 4 ] [ Chapter 5 ] Chapter 6 ] Chapter 7 ] Chapter 8 ] Chapter 9 ] Chapter 10 ] Chapter 11 ] Chapter 12 ] Addendum ]



Chapter 5  (1931-1940)


In the 1920's, workers earned more money than ever before until the crash which brought the United States to a stand-still. Banks and factories were closed as consumption dropped and there were no buyers of goods. More people than ever before were out of a job.

In 1932, a drought hit the Great Plains. Little rain fell that year. Crops withered and died in the fields. Top soil turned to dust. Thousands of farms were ruined. Remember the story "The Grapes of Wrath"?

In November 1932, Americans voted for the Democratic candidate, Franklin D. Roosevelt of New York, overwhelmingly, for President of the United States. He promised Americans a "New Deal" and gave them confidence again by saying "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself". In order to stop unemployment he created the Work Program Administration (W. P. A.). In 1935, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Administration Act.

The "Great Depression" did not really end until 1939 when World War II began in Europe. In 1940, F. D. R. won a 4th term over Wendell Wilke with the promise to keep the United States out of the War. World War II started on September 1, 1939 when Hitler sent the German Army into Poland.



"A Park for East St. Louisans" named "East Side Park" was built by Milton K. Harrington on St. Clair Ave. at 23rd Street.

Harrington raised $600. from local businessmen and put in $600. of his own money to build an enclosed softball park for women. It was an illuminated softball center - admission was 10 cents and $1200. was returned to the investors at the end of the first year. Many good women softball players were developed and they traveled on the road for their games. Harrington prides himself on the fact that not one woman was accosted or bothered although the women either walked or rode bicycles to the park. Andy Kurrus was the announcer at the softball park and every night at 10:10 p.m. the local train would pass and Andy would say "The 10:10 is coming by" - All would applaud. 45-harringtons.tif (89694 bytes)

Harrington and his wife Doris (Tyler) Harrington live in a beautiful home in Country, Club Place. Her father Walter Tyler, was a 40 year employee of Sundheimer & Roche, an outstanding commission firm at the Stock Yards.

Harrington started with nothing in 1931 in the greeting card business and sold out for a great fortune.

He and his wife traveled the world for many years collecting all sorts of artifacts, rocks, stones and Native American pottery.

Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville has built and dedicated to Harrington a million dollar museum for his collection.

Their epitaph reads "Through Eternity We'll Never Forget".



Felix Kleppin of Belleville called me and I went by his home to get the "E" Book, and 1890 Illinois State Directory and an invitation "Solar Club of Astrological Club at Catholic Community House (25 cents admission) in 1941.

He grew up during the early thirties at 25th Street and Caseyville Avenue and 14th Street and Lynch Avenue. He remembers the Settlement House at 9th and Winstanley Ave. and the Leslie Davis Neighborhood House with its shuffleboard courts and meeting room for the local Boy Scouts.



Frank L. Eversull, Ph.D., was Principal of East St. Louis High School in 1930.

First handbook committee consisted of Dorothy Rives, Laura Jones, and Margaret Keyser.

Charles Bobinette was President of the Student Council.

Dr. R. L. Campbell was President of the Board of Education.

National Honor Society members were: Harry Lewis (Pres.), Sidonia Stedelin (V.P.), Ruth Jordan (Secy.), Harvey Smith, Earl McCloud, Martin Waidmann, Delores Barthelemy, Lucille Miller, Charles Marshall, Dorothy Whitman, Medora Ames, Harry Chesney, Eleanor Edwards, Ruth Merz, Olive Murray, Dolly Robinson, Helen Trowbridge, Arthur Wadsworth, George Gerhold, Betty Jones, Leonard Waters, George Hendricks, Woodrow Ozment, Marjorie Stedelin, Marion Mallett, Saul Bixhorn, Georgia Ortgier, Bernice Sirakas, Charles Bobinette, Donald Clark, Lilian Hauss, Myrtle Prather, Ruth Lory, Mary Aiken, Vivian Villiger, and Leota Wright.



A 60th year reunion of the 1931 East St. Louis High School graduating class was held at Fischer's Restaurant in Belleville on September 7, 1991.

Frank Plattner, attorney, was in charge of the affair and over 100 persons attended.

Members of this class were: Marguerite (Sauget) Mischke, Doris (Tyler) Harrington, Vernon Kurrus, Joe Riestis, Louis Silberman, June (McClelland) Cook, Jack Cook, Katie (Beondeck) Meinen, Alice (Bolgard) Federstiel, Ruth (Casey) Murphy, Christine (Cramer) Heagler, Violet (Doulard) Aderholt, Margueirite (Finke) Neel, Fern (Fischer) Thompson, Jennie (Foote) Hamilton, Jimmy Gregory Flaugher, Louise (Heely) Green, Nadean (Holman) Hirth, Virginia (Jaeger) Ortwein, Hazel (King) Arnett, Ruth (Lory) Edwards (Stanley), Leona (Luscomb) Wuller, Delores) Hagerty, Pauline (Martin) Edwards, Helen (Popp) Schutzenhofer, Myrtle (Prather) Fisher, Martha (Russell) Denbo, Elizabeth (Sanford) Hindman, Helen Judd, Mel Stonecipher, Lola (Buster)) Dragon, Virginia Dillon, Helen (Fallon) Adams, Lucille (Gerold) Hanford, Anita Hennessy, Mary (Henessy) Hogan, Eleanor (Reichman) Baltzeor, Marjorie (Spannagel) Burton, Harry Cassin, William Cochran, Forrest Wells, Ed Spiesbach, Burrell Simmons, Bill Shepherd, Herb Roark, Frank Kurelatis, Herb Lawler, Jerry Donovan, Wetzel Harness, John Joyce, Earl Layton, John Manion, Leo Mackin, Irwin Yare and many others.



The early thirties saw many stunt tricks in the air, such as refueling in mid-air, and open cockpits. Wiley Post and humorist, Will Rogers, took off on a flight around the world, and they were lost. Their plane crashed while taking off from a strip in Alaska. Later in 1937, Amelia Earhart an aviatrix from Atchison, Kansas (home of St. Benedict's College), on a trip around the world was lost in the Pacific. There have been numerous stories about her ever since, about the Japanese capturing her, etc., but never a confirmed story. Other tricks were hanging from the wing of a plane with a rope in their mouth, pilots barnstorming with air jumps from the wing of a plane for $25. Other activities of the time were Walkathons (dancing for days) also known as marathon dancing, and flagpole sitting.



Encephalitis (sleeping sickness) broke out in the area during 1933. This was a specific virus spread only by the mosquito (Culex Nigrapalpus). It was spread from person to person. People became infected when this particular mosquito bites an infected animal, typically a bird, then bites a human.

This disease had a very devastating effect on the city of East St. Louis and many deaths resulted from it.



In 1932, my Dad, John English, and Al Fields ran for the Democratic Levee Board as independents, and after' being nominated, the Democratic organization picked them up in November. They were then elected along with Stephen H. Kernan, Thomas D. Meehan, and Will Knaus.

My Dad became aligned with the Emmett Griffin-Dan McGlynn-Leo Dougherty faction. Al Fields was a John Hallihan and G. Locke Tarlton man and politics were in a whirl for the 1935 City election.



On December 5, 1932, the 18th amendment of the Constitution was repealed. This action caused the breweries and liquor industries to once again become an important factor in St. Clair County.

Tavern applications for East St. Louis were overwhelming and we soon had over 200 taverns in our fair city.



When Mayor Frank Doyle died in 1933, James T. Crow succeeded him as Mayor. In 1935 Crow's ticket had as candidates for commissioner: Joseph had as candidates for commissioner: Joseph Ganschinietz, Abby Lauman, Tom Corrigan and Edward Rieman.

The other faction had my Dad for Mayor, and four Commissioner candidates namely: John Connors, Leo Dougherty, Herman Zierrath and Dr. Stanley Wynn.

My father was only forty years old and Mayor Jim Crow was in his sixties. Also, he was a very popular businessman-politician and my father realized that he had very little chance of beating Mayor Crow. However, he had given his word to his faction that he would run for Mayor to complete their ticket. He ran and was defeated by 1,900 votes.

Note: Locke Tarlton had offered my father a place for Commissioner on their ticket plus a large cash contribution to him personally. He would be a cinch for Commissioner being on both tickets, but he refused. My father's word was his bond and loyalty to his friends was uppermost with him.

My father's ticket did succeed in electing John Connors and Herman Zierrath for Commissioners along with Joe Ganschinietz and Abby Lauman from the Crow group.

Herman Zierrath died in late 1936 and my father was appointed Commissioner of Streets in January 1937.

Al Fields served only one month as City Clerk and was succeeded by John Tierney (son-in-law of Herman Zierrath) in the change in the majority on the City Council. My father, after his appointment as Commissioner in January of 1937, appointed Leo Dougherty to be Superintendent of Streets.

During the ensuing two years, my father and Dougherty were to make many friends with repairing the streets and alleys in preparing for the 1939 election.



In 1939 John Connors was nominated for Mayor, with my father, Leo Dougherty, Joe Ganschinietz and Abby Lauman for Commissioners.

The other ticket (Hallihan & Fields) had John Karns for Mayor and Al Fields, Gene Hayes and two other candidates for Commissioners. The entire ticket my father was on was elected and a new era in local East St. Louis politics began. The next year (1940) my father and Emmett Griffin were successful in electing three candidates on the Levee Board. B. 0. Cooper beat Bill Knaus by 83 votes for the majority of three to two on the Board.

In an election of 1940, Leo Dougherty and Dan McGlynn were fighting for control of the Republican party in St. Clair County. This was to become a split within our group and caused many problems over the next decade in party politics.





Click here to see an incomplete list of East St. Louis Businesses in 1937



Marcellus Bosworth was the author of the book "Boom or Bust", a story of East St. Louis published in 1989. His book concentrated mostly on his family and the dairy farm business and I did enjoy reading his book. He retired after 36 years with the Postal Service and moved to Lake of the Ozarks, Mo. in retirement. Later on he moved to Fort Worth in 1985 and died in October. I received three pictures from him for my book, : Collinsville Ave., Eads Bridge, and an original from the newspaper of Jones Farm which later Jones Park. Jones gave the land to the East St. Louis Park District with the proviso that the park shall be called anything but "Jones Park". I am including a copy of his letter to me and also his commentary on East St. Louis.

Fort Worth,

April 14,1990

Mr. English:

I received your card stating you are writing "something good" about our hometown East St. Louis. My instant reaction was: why not? So much has been written about her decline that her former glory days should be documented.

Having read my book BOOM AND BUST feel free to use any historical data you wish; although I am sure you have done your own research. Needless to say, I anticipate receiving a copy when your book comes to fruition. It took me 8 years to complete mine, what with all the goofing off I did, fishing and golfing. I would like to exchange notes with you now and then. Keep in touch!


Marcellus Bosworth


Click here to read Bosworth's Commentary on East St. Louis and a Drawing of Jones Farm



William H. Thomas came from Zanesville, Ohio, in 1898 and settled in East St. Louis at 1619, St. Louis Avenue. He married Ida M. (Scholl) Thomas and they had sic children. He was a glassblower with Obear-Nester Glassworks and lived until his death at the above

His six children were: 1) Arthur Thomas (Major General) USAF (Retired) born in 1896 and still living in Colorado. 2)Willis C. (Bro) Thomas (1898/1972) married to Margie Thomas who is moving to Sedalia, Mo. to live with her daughter, Dorothy Beykirch (Mrs. Robert Beykirch), whose husband is an Anheuser-Busch distributor in Sedalia. They have six children. 3) Katherine (Thomas) Bollman born in 1900 and still living. 4) Eugene J. Thomas (1905/1978) married to Genevieve Alice Scully (1902/1955). Gene was the District Manager with the Standard Sanitary Plumbing Supply on 7 No. 7th St. (later Max Hill Printing plant). My father worked with Gene until he was appointed City Commissioner in 1936. 5) Hubert Thomas and wife Loretta are both deceased but they have a son still O'Fallon, IL. 6) Margaret Thomas (1909/1986) was married to a Dillon.

(Note: I received this information from a neighbor of mine (2 doors away here in Clayton, Mo.), Bill Thomas, who was a son of Gene Thomas. Bill works with Fruin-Colnon as an engineer here in St. Louis.)



On September 4,1929, Central Catholic High School began at Wabasha and St. Clair Ave. with 75 boys and a teaching staff of three.

In 1931, it was moved to old St. Patrick's Grade School at 6th and State Streets. In 1953 it was renamed Assumption with 450 students and moved to Kingshighway and St. Clair Ave. Enrollment reached 880 students in 1969 and in 1973, the teaching staff was combined with the Brothers of Mary, joining St. Teresa's Academy teachers (Adorers of the Blood of Christ).

On May 27, 1979 a 50th Golden Anniversary was held at Fischer's Restaurant in Belleville.

In June 1990, Assumption was closed due to the heavy asbestos in the construction of the building and it is slated to become an Illinois State Prison after the removal of the asbestos.

I graduated from old Central Catholic High School in June 1940 and later will cover our 50th reunion party of the three classes of Central Catholic High (1939-1940-1941) held jointly with the same classes of St. Teresa's Academy in 1990.

The first students at Central Catholic High School were: Henry Banfield, Bernard Bowen, Charles Bryan, James Buckley, Richard Carter, Walter Cichon, James Clark, Robert Duke, Kenneth O'Donnell, Raymond Schmidt, Raymond Van Vooren, John Byrne, Francis Biegler, Ferd Belz, William Klaus and Leon Kalicki.

The second class had Tom Hennessy, Roy Scott, Stanley Gula, and Kilian Fritsch, M.D. among others.



Alexander S. Vien Sr. (1862/1938) came from East Carondelet, IL and in 1894 married Eleanore (Chartrand) Vien. They had four children: 1) Marie (Vien) Gallen (Bill Gallen). 2) Henry Grady Vien; attorney; (Mary Frances), 3) Loretta (Vien) Godfrey (Tom Godfrey Jr.), 4) Alec S. Vien Jr.; Insurance Broker.

Frank Nealon married Catherine (Farlow) Nealon in 1897 after both came from Springfield, IL. They had six children, namely: 1) Sister Mary Pauline, O.E., 2) Helen (Nealon) Bickel, 3) Marion (Schramm) Bott, 4) Catherine (Nealon) married to my uncle, James English, 5) Francis Nealon, 6) James Thomas Nealon.

Note: This information was furnished by James M. Gallen (St. Louis Attorney) and a son of my cousin Catherine Ellen (English) Gallen.



The Kuebel family of 7825 State Street had nine fathered by Joseph H. Kuebel whose wife's name was Nellie. Joseph Kuebel was an accountant with Nelson Morris & Co. and also a director of State Savings & Loan Assn.

Children were: 1) Marie Kuebel who had polio, 2) Veronica married to Dr. George Broadburn of St. Louis, 3) James, DDS, married to Lucille Ettienne, 4) Joseph married to Helen Keeley (Hoeffken Bros.), 5) Donald married to Dorothy Besse, 6) Delores (Dolly), a twin married to Merle Boggiano, DDS, 7) Vincent, a twin, married to Elizabeth Crick, 8) Charles, a bachelor, 9) Robert, DDS, married to Bernice, and my information for this book, along with my neighbor in Clayton (Dolly). Note: Dr. Bob had a picture of his mother and the Mothers' Club installation at the K. C. building in 1930. The picture also included Mrs. Lorentzen, Mrs. Wuller, Mrs. Dillon, Mrs. Scurry, Mrs. Bowen, Mrs. Ashton, Mrs. Gerold.

Dr. Bob Kuebel also had some snapshots taken at their "Drive-In" restaurant across State Street, with Charlie and Vinny along with my brother Jack English, Gene Menges, Jack Ryan and Jack Manion. In the same vicinity, other drive-ins were Ira Sims (Custard's Last Stand) and Joe Hannigan's Drive-In.


Click here to read about East St. Louis's popular Century Cigar Store



Miss Edith Lieb of Fairfield Bay, Arkansas, wrote that she moved to New York City in 1927 and returned to East St. Louis in 1941. She lived in Prospect Park and rode streetcars to various schools and Lehman's Music Store. "East St. Louis was always happy memories and a wonderful life. People were kind and friendly". She was a student of Mrs. Homer who made her "the" entertainer and gave professional standards.

EUGENE J. SMITH of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, wrote that "his parents moved to East St. Louis because it offered a better chance to make a living than farming or working in a small town quite a distance from a city. He and his father worked at Swift's and he also worked for a feed store on St. Louis Ave. He wanted to make a little money and he was willing to work for it!"

JOHN S. MOATS of Seattle, WA. was born in Kansas and moved to National City across from Swift's and Morris Packing. He contracted polio; with his right leg impaired and wore braces. He later lived at 1423 (a) Cleveland Avenue, went to Monroe School, then finally to Washington U. where he graduated in 1928 with a degree in chemical engineering. He went to work for Monsanto Chemical and later in 1930 took a Civil Service exam and worked in the U. S. Department of State in Seattle, Washington.

JOHN D. PERRY of Belleville lived in East St. Louis before 1927. His father worked 30 years as a switch engineer at the Aluminum Ore (later Alcoa). He knew Paul Farthing as the "Blind Judge" on the Illinois Supreme Court.

HOMER SCHLEIGET of Flat River, MO. was born in East St. Louis and went to East Side. In 1930 he moved to North Dupo, and during 1955 moved to Flat River. He was in town for a doctor's visit and he has a suitcase of his Mother's with lots of pictures.

NORMAN W. TOUCHETTE, St. Louis, mailed us copies of three old pictures of Swifts, Telephone Bldg. and a hotel that was located at 21 N. Main called "Peter Mumbower Hotel".

BILL AND JOYCE OWENS, Cottage Grove, Oregon wrote "Best of Luck on your book - Has no "Fuzzies" on memories of East St. Louis after 43 years in Oregon (God's Country). Memories of East St. Louis are good."

HAROLD W. FIEBIG, Belleville, IL. has books showing: City Guide of East St. Louis (1931), Bloody Island, Illinois Town, American Bottoms, Papstown (10th & State Sts.), "Weed City" (Goose Hill) and the Sunken Garden.

MRS. ANNA MAE DAILY, Herrin, IL, wrote she received a clipping from her sister and brother-in-law of St. Charles, MO. She has arthritis and bad heart, but wrote a two page letter. She remembered my Dad as Mayor of East St. Louis and as manager of Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Co. She has only good memories of East St. Louis and wished me lots of luck.

(Note: My father was Police Commissioner although he ran for Mayor in 1935 and was defeated by James Crow.)

MRS. ANNA MAE (PIQUARD) BUCK, Godfrey, IL, wrote that she had lived in the Edgemont and Harding Grade School area and had an excellent education. Her minister for 37 years was Rev. G. J. Wright of Edgemont Bible Church. Her friends constantly relive their memories of days in dear old East St. Louis, IL. "I too am up in years but again I say, I am glad I was reared in East St. Louis. It was a beautiful place to live".

GLORIA A. ROTH STOCKLIN of Houston, TX sent me a three page letter relating her thoughts and included a two page handwritten letter by her 93 year old mother Mabel M. Pugh Roth Hinchey containing her memories of East St. Louis.

Gloria A. Roth Stocklin wrote as follows:


20 Aug. 90

I received your note regarding the book you are publishing about East St. Louis. I was in Illinois the end of June, and heard about the book, but of course, figured it was complete. You didn't give a date as to when this info had to be received by you. But, here I go --

All my memories of East St. Louis are certainly happy ones. Most of my grade school days were spent at Longfellow School, 1400 Pennsylvania (believe I started in school at Jefferson, which was at 1800 No. 25th). Then to Rock Jr. High and East Side at 9th & Ohio. My fondest thoughts were of grade school and Jr. High. Enjoyed High School but didn't have too much time in High School, as the time allotted to go from class to class was very minimal, and if my memory is correct - lunch hour was twenty minutes. So, most of our time, was spent in class. It was crowded. Had study classes in rooms, where regular classes were being held.

I lived at 1744 College Ave. from about 1932 'til 1938. Those were certainly happy times. All the circuses and carnivals came to what we called the "Y" lot. At that time, the Moose Hall was at the far end of that lot. All the kids in the neighborhood spent a lot of time over in that lot playing. We also played on the corner (kick the can; hide & go seek; etc.). There was a curfew in those days. Nine o'clock, the whistle blew, and all the kids went home.

We always had a swimming ticket to the Knights of Columbus swimming pool (the Knights of Columbus was located on State Street at that time). My mother did not like the pool at Jones Park, because of the drop off there. Felt it was safer for us at the Knights of Columbus pool because it was smaller than Jones Park pool. We always went to see the movies twice a week. You must remember these were depression years, but everybody was happy, and we all got along well together and played together. This included friends Robert L. Roth (3 yrs. older than me) and sister Lenore T. Roth Blunt 4 yrs. younger). This past Christmas, one of my oldest friends (Mary Louise Metzger Zoll) wrote and said what a great childhood we had, and it is too bad that the children today aren't having , same type of childhood. My mother always had a car in fact, she didn't give up driving til after her 90th birthday, but us kids walked everywhere. My girlfriend and I walked and talked incessantly.

Remember vendors coming down the street, selling vegetables and fruits. When the strawberry vendor came selling his produce - he would holler "strawberries" and all us kids would holler in return "what rnakes your nose all us kids would holler in return "what rnakes your nose so red" and he would say "strawberries". Also, remember the delivery of ice - always got a sliver of ice from his truck. My Mother got her first refrigerator in the early 30s. It was called a Crosley, as I remember, and had an electric clock on it. All my life my mother had an electric washing machine, iron, electric roaster, and electric waffle iron. Her mother had one of the first electric irons, purchased in 1914.

East St. Louis, in my years there, never changed very much. I left East St. Louis in 1951. My Step-Father, Leon Hinchey, said during the depression years, that if you wanted to work, you could find a job in East St. Louis. He worked at Key Boiler Co. (they made oil, well equipment). Of course, Aluminum Or the Stock Yards, Railroads, etc.

The first apartment building that was built with air conditioning was pointed out to me, while it was being built. This building was on State St., and according to what I was told, the Mayor we had at the time, had an apartment in that building. I thought that was great having air conditioning in your home. Of course, I've lived in air conditioned houses since 1959.

Don't know if you can use any of this info I have written here - as I don't really know exactly what you have in mind for your.

I did have my mother give me a few of her thoughts on her early years in East St. Louis. She left East St. Louis in 1956. She, of course, is now 92 years old. Will be 93 in March '91. Her name is: Mabel Marie Pugh Roth Hinchey.

Best of luck to you in your endeavor.



Following is a letter of memories from Mabel M. Pugh Hinchey (92 yrs. old in Aug. 1990 when written):

I was born of Jones Farm, which is now Jones Park, in 1898. The nearest streetcar at that time, came to 13th & St. Clair (this was coming out toward Lansdowne). Later the streetcar line came to 15th & Nectar, and some years after that to 40th & Waverly. The line divided at a later date, one to Washington Park and one to Rosemont.

The family home was built, after leaving Jones Farm at 2205 No. 33rd St., in what was called Lansdowne (what we would call a subdivision today).

My first grade of school was in a private home at 40th & Caseyville. This was called Roselake School. Jefferson Grade School was built and I transferred to same (possibly my 2nd year of school). Miss Kitty Ramey was the teacher of that grade. Her family owned Monks Mound in those days. Graduated from grade school in 1913. Started at East St. Louis High School at that time, but it was located in what was later Rock Jr. High. The bldg. next door, at that time, was a grade school.

During my grade school years, in the winter, I sometimes ice skated to school. There were either 4 or 5 lagoons out by Lansdowne at that time. There were foot bridges over all these lagoons.

During my growing years, there was an amusement park (Lansdowne Park) on 29th Street. In this park, there were rides; places to eat; dance hall; outdoor theater; pavilion for food and drinks and a figure-eight roller coaster. The dance hall extended over the water of the lagoon. During my teen years the amusement park burned down. The only building left was the dance hall, which was made into a roller skating rink. The amusement park was owned by a Mr. Donovan.

My memory of tiding a streetcar to town alone was when I was about 9 years old. The fare was a nickel to and from downtown. You paid your nickel when you got on the streetcar, and they gave you a token for your return trip.

There was a fish market downtown between Broadway & Collinsville Ave. that I used to go shop for my mother by streetcar. There was also a meat market in the same area.



On to Chapter Six


top.gif (906 bytes)