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.
EAST SIDE PARK (1931)
"A Park for East St. Louisans" named "East Side Park" was built by Milton K. Harrington on St. Clair Ave. at 23rd Street.
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".
1930 "E" BOOK OF EAST ST. LOUIS SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL
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.
1930 GRADUATING CLASS OF EAST ST. LOUIS HIGH SCHOOL
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.
1931 GRADUATING CLASS OF EAST ST. LOUIS HIGH SCHOOL
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.
AIR STUNTS & FAMOUS PILOTS
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.
1935 CITY ELECTION
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.
1939 CITY 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.
BUSINESSES - THEATERS - AMUSEMENTS
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.
Click here to read Bosworth's Commentary on East St. Louis and a Drawing of Jones Farm
THE THOMAS FAMILY
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.)
CENTRAL CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL
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.
VIEN NEALON GALLEN & GODFREY FAMILIES
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:
MABEL PUGH HINCHEY, 92
Following is a letter of memories from Mabel M. Pugh Hinchey (92 yrs. old in Aug. 1990 when written):