1920-29

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1920-1929

 

1920 - Thanks to Aluminum Ore (employing 2,500 men), the city is the world's largest aluminum processing center. It also leads the U. S. in production of roofing material, baking powder, and paint pigments. it is the third largest primary grain market and second only to Chicago as a hog market and rail center. It has the cheapest coal in the world and its population stands at over 75,000.

The Catholic Community Center at Fifth and St Louis is built.

The Harding Ditch, named after the man who developed Washington Park and inserted all of those deed restrictions in the titles, is built. It is constructed to drain water during torrential downpours. It crosses State near 67th Street and drains into Grand Marais at lake #3.

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St. Augustine Parish, at 14th and Broadway, is organized to serve the needs of Negro Catholics. They had a record enrollment of 207 students in 1948, but enrollment began to decline steadily and the school was closed in 1953. The church closed its doors in 1960.

City Cemetery at 33rd and State is condemned and bodies are moved to St. Clair Memorial Park at Routes 50 and 161. Clark Junior High will be built on this site.

Nineteenth Amendment becomes law, giving women the right to vote. Mrs. Carrie Alexander Bahrenburg led this movement in East St. Louis.

Quinten Spivey, born in McLeansboro, Ill., comes to East St. Louis. He earns a law degree and is later elected as a judge. During one fourteen year period, he is the only Republican office holder in St. Clair County.

The Volstead Act goes into effect making it illegal for anyone to manufacture, sell, purchase, drink, or possess alcoholic beverages. Prohibition has a significant impact on East St. Louis as well as the nation as a whole. "Black Leg" mobsters saw opportunities for enormous profits and opened illegal "speakeasies." The Shelton brothers were dominant in East St. Louis and brought in illegal slot machines and prostitutes to their establishments. One of the Shelton Gang, Jardown "Blackie" Armes, was a good automobile mechanic and put his talents to work modifying cars to outrun Prohibition agents. This was done by others all over the South with the same goals in mind. From these efforts at modifying car engines came stock car racing as we know it today. Prohibition was also largely responsible for the growth and development of organized crime and the Mafia empire as it now exists. Prohibition corrupted police and city officials in East St Louis because it gave them a chance to supplement their meager salaries with bribes and kickbacks in return for looking the other way.

The Exchange Club is founded and Joe McGlynn is elected first president of the group. A service organization, the club eventually became the largest club of its type in East St. Louis with 125 members, and the largest Exchange Club in Illinois. Robert Pfeifer was president of the club in 1961.

Mrs. Paul Hodson organizes the first chapter for Girl Scouts in the city. Other early leaders include Mrs. Floyd Stephenson, and Mrs. R. H. Kenagy. In 1935, the WPA builds camp Ouatoga, a recreation site for Girl Scouts at Pere Marquette State Park in Grafton. In 1953, the Park Board leases a 23 acre site on Signal Hill known as Bluff Park. The camp is called Minnie Wa Wa.

Virginia Clara is born in St. Louis. A great great granddaughter of Captain James Piggott, she performs at the Muny Opera and then goes to Hollywood where she will become a film star under the stage name Virginia Mayo. She marries actor Michael O'Shea in 1947 and in 1996 gets a star on the St. Louis "Walk of Fame" on Delmar near the Tivoli Theater in the Central West End.

The Jaycees are organized in East St. Louis with Sherman Morgan as president. Founded several years earlier in St. Louis, the East St. Louis chapter is the second oldest in the nation. It was the Jaycees who started the School Boy Patrol program.

Circle Packing Corporation begins operations in a duplex building at 319-325 Winstanley Avenue in the Goose Hill Area. Its principal founder was John Skrabacz who was also an East St. Louis fireman. The building was blessed by Father Andrew Janiszewski, who served as the pastor of St. Adalbert's parish for over twenty years.

American Zinc (shown below) in Fairmont City gives workers a five cents per hour raise.

58-americanzinc.tif (55542 bytes) Mrs. Jane Law is elected leader of the Democratic Women in the city who support Cox and Roosevelt in the upcoming presidential election in November.

Jacob Dlugon, owner of National Soda Water Bottling Co., moves the business to 800 Division Ave. where he lived. It will stay at this location until 1961 when National Bottling moves to 7903 State.

A Student Council is organized for the first time at East Side. Student police are responsible for directing traffic in the hallways and the council helps select Lyceum programs during the school year. Mark Chambers and Willard Max were presidents in 1933.

According to a government report, annual income per household is only about 24% of the overall Illinois average. These low wages prevent a strong middle class from developing in the city.

 

1921 - "Mule Pole" Fritz, owner of a popular saloon in the heart of the city, complete with a spacious, ornate gambling parlor in the rear, becomes the town's most notorious gangster. He eve ritually becomes a partner with the Shelton gang - Carl, Bernie and Big Earl. The Sheltons headquarter their gang in a roadhouse in West Frankfort named Shady Rest. It will later be used as a meeting place by the Birger gang when the Shelton's move to East St. Louis.

All TRRA passenger main lines are reballasted and laid with 100 pound rail. Limestone rock is purchased from the East St. Louis Stone Quarry at Falling Springs. The quarry will later be known as the Casper-Stolle Quarry and the Falling Springs Quarry Co.

Hill Brick and Ultra-Life Labs begin operations. Ultra Life does testing for Dixie, Corno, and Allied mills. and also the stock yards.

The Optimists Club is started in the city under the name of Downtown Club with Paul Farthing, former member of the Illinois Supreme Court, as its first president. Ed Ferguson, Clarence Rogers and Chester and Paul Farthing are also key early leaders. "Friend of the Youth" is the international slogan of the Optimists. Officers in 1936 include: H. F. Schmulbach, A. M. Aszmann, C. E. Jenks, William Heckart and John McCormick. Civic affairs and juvenile welfare work are their main interest areas. A branch of the group, known as the Reveille Club, is organized in 1959 with Edward Beck as its first president. Harry Cruncleton was president in 1961.

Swansea Stone and Concrete works founded at 33rd and Louisiana.

The city's schools are ranked with the foremost schools of the nation in providing opportunity for instruction in manual training and in the domestic arts. Overall, the schools are rated as among the best in the state. A state report highly commends the teaching staff, saying that teachers in the district "know what and how to teach."

City gains a reputation for making everything from A-Z. Archival records indicate an industrial base that produced acid, aluminum, barium, barrels, beer, boxes, bricks, brass, cans, castings, cereal, coal, creosoted timbers, dairy products, electrical supplies, elevators, farm equipment, feeds, fertilizer, fittings, flour, foundries, fruits, gas, glass, grain, heavy chemicals, ice, iron, lead, lumber, machine tools, meats, oil, ore, paint and paint pigments, rail equipment, roofings, rubber, soap, steel, shoes, syrup textiles, tools, utilities, valves, vegetables, wood, white lead, yearlings, and zinc.

School Board authorizes minimum starting teacher salaries of $800 a year at the elementary level, $1,000 at the high school level.

Brodhead Ford is organized by two brothers, Willis and Jack Brodhead. Originally, the headquarters were at 1135 Missouri Ave. The business was moved to its more familiar custom-built location at 8th and St. Louis in 1947. By 1957 they had sold 50,000 cars. There were 75 Board employees with the company in 1957, including Jack's son, Bill Willis, who became the vice-president of the firm.

1922 - Father Joseph Pico celebrates first mass of Holy Rosary Church in Fairmont City.

H. J. Alvis is principal of East St. Louis High School at this time.

Ben Hayden, a Negro employee of Union Trust Bank, foils a $2,000 payroll holdup but is severely wounded in the process. He is proclaimed a local hero.

Sterling Steel (at right) begins operations at Falling Springs Road, on the south side of town near Monsanto.

Full Gospel Tabernacle is established at 1119 Piggott Ave. It will later move to 26th and State. Rev. A. Trotter will be the pastor in 1940.

The new Hawthorne School at 3800 Caseyville is built. The old building becomes Teddy Roosevelt . F. J. Thurston is the first principal and C V. Fulkerson is principal in 1961. Morrison School at 630 North 59th Street is built. J. J. McGlynn is the first principal and Wyatt Rawlings is principal in 1961.

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In the early twenties, the odor of political corruption in East St. Louis vied with that which emanated from the nearby stockyards. At this point in time Art and Bessie Newman were proprietors of the Arlington Hotel, located just across the street from City Hall. Newman loaned the three Shelton brothers money to begin bootlegging operations. The trio had once worked in the mines of Carterville in Williamson County, but they had a distaste for manual labor and came to East St. Louis looking for easy money. With Newman's backing, Carl and Benue began selling the booze that brother Earl hauled up from Florida at their saloon at 19th and Market. Newman's Arlington had a reputation as a local hangout for thieves, prostitutes and other predators. The Shelton boys were in the habit of sitting in the lobby and cleaning their pistols in full view of other customers. Bessie Newmani balked at this and forced the Sheltons to move across the street to the Savoy Hotel, The last place she ran was Jack's Hotel on the southwest comer of Collinsville and Illinois Avenues. The hotel was above Ted Gaskin's music store. Ted also managed the Capieno Accordion School above Godt's Dry Goods, which was located next door.

Art Newman would later break his association with the Sheltons and join forces with their arch enemy, Charlie Birger.

Haun-Menges Floral shop opens for business in the 100 block of Collinsville Ave. The business is burned out in the 111-Mo Hotel fire in 1927. By 1957, E. V. Menges Sr. and son E. V. Menges were running two shops, one at 518 Missouri Ave., and the other in the Loisel Shopping Center.

School officials propose a comprehensive junior high system of education. Future plans are made to build Clark and Lansdowne Jr. High Schools.

The City Council passes an ordinance requiring young people to have at least an eighth grade education before factories and business establishment can hire them for full time employment, if they are under the age of sixteen.

Unity Baptist reorganizes and becomes Edgernont Bible. Their membership grows, and in 1963 they "I build a new brick structure a block east of their white frame building. Pastor G. J. Wright will lead the church during the mid-sixties,

Virginia Ray (not related to Kitty Ray) becomes one of Ziegfield's most outstanding chorines. She marries a professional baseball player and resides in California.

Governor Emmerson designates Cahokia Mounds as a State Park.

Construction on Union Electric's Cahokia power plant begins. It will be built in three stages and completely finished in 1939.

Members of the 1922 East Side football team include: James Ingram, Glen Ingram (quarterback), Lester Harris, Karl Linder, Bartley Schmitt, Walter Eversull, Richard Broderick, Thomas Sullivan, Howard Stemm, Carl Browne, Clarence Berry, Fred Webster, Albert Bums, Earl Millard, Arthur Berry, Gerald Rodehaver, and Silas Hockaday (manager).

 

1923 - Christ Buesse, a lifelong resident since 1844 dies. He once pastured cattle where the Federal Building was constructed.

Kitty Ray, the original of the East St. Louis Rays, startles New York theater audiences by swinging nude on a pendulum in "Carroll's Vanities." She later wins the Miss Coney Island contest. Her picture appears on several magazine covers - this time with more clothing.

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Businesses that advertised in the 1923 Journal include: St. Clair Packing Co. 330 E. Broadway, Tri-City Packing Co. 2nd and St. Clair, Missouri Packing Co. 4-6 Collinsville Ave, Thoene's General Merchandise at the southeast comer of Collinsville Ave. and Illinois Street,

Oswalt and Reichmann at 1250 State selling the Chandler auto, Byerly Auto at 920 State selling Hudsons, Guteley's at 230 Collinsville Ave. selling men's clothes, Arcade Furniture Co., W. T. Grant at 231 Collinsville, Hopper Packing Co. at 105 Collinsville, McCoy-Weber Jeweler at 310 Collinsville Ave., East Side Buick at 326 N. 10th, St. Clair Motors at 510 Illinois, Hirschfield-Steiner Furniture at 402 Collinsville, East St. Louis House Furnishings at 227 Collinsville, Adelman Bootery at 128 Collinsville, Quick Meal gas ranges sold by Illinois Power at 414 Missouri Ave., Skye's Drug Store at 5th and Missouri, Jennings Auto featuring the Collins Coupe at 502 Missouri Ave., Zerweck's selling Brunswick records and phonograph players at 348-50 Collinsville near Illinois, Rhodes Burford Furniture at Collinsville and Division, Crescent Gas (four locations): 25th and Lynch, 9th and St. Louis, Edgemont, and at the foot of the Free Bridge, White Brothers selling the Oakland for $945 at 1101 St. Louis Ave., Griesedieck Auto selling Chandlers at 1501 State, Standard Motors selling Chevrolets at 1100 Illinois, Harding Chevrolet at 104 St. Clair, Dirden and Lackey Motors selling Oldsmobiles at 1908 State, Stack Furniture at 10-12 Collinsville,

Nelson Morris Packing Co. at the Stock Yards,

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John Ryan Furniture at 122 Collinsville, Fellner and Crow clothing and dry goods at Collinsville and St. Louis Avenues, Bensinger Brothers stoves and ranges at 402 Missouri, Silverburg's and Blumberg's selling velocipedes (bicycles), King's Clothing at 121 Collinsville, Paige and Jewett cars sold by Stuhr Motors at 2105 St. Clair.

Lots in Rosemont Manor are being sold for $240.00 by Harnett and McCasland Co. located in the Arcade Building.

Charlie Birger, A frequent visitor to East St. Louis and proprietor of the Half Way House on Johnson City Road in Marion, is wounded in a gun battle there that resulted in the death of St. Louis gangster, Whitey Doering.

East St. Louisan Griff Meints is honored by the Naval Academy. A film of the ceremonies is shown at the Lyric Theater.

Silent film star Leah Baird arrives in the city to promote her new film, Destroying Angel. She models clothes at Seidel's and does her Christmas shopping at Bernard's on the comer of Collinsville and St. Louis. She then selects local beauty Irene Purdue of Washington Place for a small part in one of her upcoming films.

Shriners from all over America come to the city to dedicate the new Ainad Temple. A parade of 5,000 people march down Collinsville Ave. It takes the parade one hour to pass a specific point along the way. The building was constructed by Jesse Gedney Construction; Phelan-Faust of East St. Louis supplied the paint; St. Louis Structural Steel did the ironwork; brick, stone and plaster was done by Hill-Thomas, and furnishings were supplied by Morton Brothers at 328 Collinsville Ave.

Judge C. B. Thomas of East St. Louis makes a serious bid for the Democratic nomination in the governor's race. He is responsible for bringing the Federal Court of Bankruptcy to the city and in influencing the United States District Court to move here.

The state of Illinois had 644 murders and 895 suicides last year.

 

1924 - Beck-Doyle Company is founded under the name of Whistle Bottling Company.

The first basketball game is played at Ainad Temple. East Side loses to Greenville.

The Croatian Hall at 1300 North 9th Street is dedicated.

The first truck hauling livestock arrives at the National Stockyards. It would be only a matter of time before trucks replaced trains altogether at the site. At the time, the truck was dismissed as a passing fad.

Heffs Chili Parlor in the Contratto Building at 40th and Waverly becomes a front for gambling in the rear  rooms. Heff throws his weight around by parading up and down Waverly with his huge German Shepherd dog in defiance of the community.

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Holy Angels in Lansdowne parish is founded at 3706 Caseyville Avenue. A wooden pavilion is built. Father W. E. Trombley was the initial pastor. By 1960 it would be the second largest parish in the city. St. Philip's would be the largest.  About 171 children enroll for school and the first four classes at Holy Angels are taught by .Sisters of Notre Dame in the four comers of the pavilion.  The wooden structure is 90 feet long by 50 feet wide. During the Depression it was used as a WPA center. The building was demolished in 1950.

Soldiers War Memorial (pictured below) unveiled at 25th and Caseyville. One side of the upper shaft was dedicated to the men of the Revolutionary War, another to those in the Civil War, a third to soldiers in the Spanish-American War, and the last to the men killed in the Great War (World War I).

The Ku Klux Klan was making progress in Southern Illinois during Prohibition. Illinois' Grand Dragon, Charles G. Palmer, said that the Klan stood for Protestantism, Americanism and racial separation. The local Klan leader, S. Glenn Young, a former Prohibition agent who had been kicked out for misconduct, had recently moved here from Williamson County where he did battle with Charlie Birger and his gang. He was scheduled to appear in East St. Louis at the Federal Building to answer the charge of attempted murder, filed by a Polish immigrant whose house he had raided.

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Instead of going to court, he led 200 Klansmen to the Labor Temple on the same street as the courthouse and sent word for the Justice of the Peace. He held a press conference and charged that public officials at City Hall were in league with the bootleggers and stood in the way of the Klan's divine mission to clean things up. The J. P. set bond and Young's followers signed for the money. Young emerged from the building to a cheering crowd of over a thousand people. Young, who had been appointed by the Klan to reorganize things and recruit new members, will be fired from that position and expelled from the Klan. Young is killed a year later by anti-klansman, Ora Thomas.

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Southern Malleable Iron is founded at 21st and Bond.

Some significant industries at this time include: Plymouth Cordage, Kettle River Creosote Co., Indiahoma Oil Refining, HamiltonBrown Shoe, Kehlor Mills, Golden Grain Mills, East St. Louis Lumber, Dielim. Wholesale Grocer, Hezel Milling, Pioneer Box, Laclede Steel, American Manufacturing Fibre Plant.

Ed Belz begins working for the Journal in a career that will last 32 years.

First Pageant of Progress is presented by the Shriners and Downtown Businessmen of East St. Louis. Commonly known as POP, it features a week of festivities in October of each year, beginning with a parade and culminating with the crowning of a queen, a beauty chosen from the Southern Illinois area. The pageant is presented nightly at the Ainad Temple and is performed by locals.

During the week, outdoor events are featured, including street dances and vaudeville performances. One year an act will feature a couple who dance and perform acrobatics atop an 80 foot flagpole with a small platform. The extravaganza will be discontinued in 1936 and replaced by the Lady of the Lakes Pageant.

Frank Holten is elected to the State Legislature. He is the only Democrat to win in county elections. He will serve in that capacity for 40 years.

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1925 - The revived, new improved version of the KKK holds a four day rally at a large picnic area next to Monks Mound. The featured speaker is the Grand Exalted Cyclops, the Imperial Wizard, of the Ku Klux Klan, which has its central headquarters in the state of Georgia. The Catholic Church publishes a list of members and urges its parishioners to boycott those who are merchants.

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Mel Price begins working as sports editor for the News Review of East St. Louis. He will also work for the Journal and the St. Louis Globe-Democrat.

Fairmount Jockey Club (left) opens on Collinsville Road. Races run for 30 days in the spring and fall.

Washington Park Church of God builds white frame structure for worship at northwest comer of Kingshighway and North Park Drive, across from Manners School.

The first service is held in the new Sacred Heart Church at 8th and Baugh.

The Knights of Columbus building is completed at Washington Place near 14th and State. It features a swimming pool, a ballroom, 42 rooms for single men, a basketball court and handball courts, four bowling alleys and a roof garden.

The Bond Theater at 3617 Bond is opened by Sam Greenberg. The Idlewood Theater at 2250 Illinois Avenue opens.

City returns to aldermanic form of government with more power reverting to the mayor.

The Shelton brothers rob a mail carrier in Collinsville of $15,000. They will be caught and convicted (largely on the basis of testimony from Art Newman and Charlie Birger), and sentenced to prison at Leavenworth, Kansas.

Glenn Young and three other men are killed in Herrin, Illinois.

YWCA gets a home of its own (right) when the Beatty Building at 317 Missouri Ave. is dedicated.

Optimists Club continues its work by becoming involved in activities supporting the betterment of the city. They organized the Optimists Bowling League in 1928.

Blue Goose bus line, a subsidiary of East St. Louis Suburban Electric Railway, begins hourly service to Caseyville, Maryville, Edwardsville, Alton, and other outlying towns. They start with a fleet of 28 buses.

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First United Lutheran Church at Summit and Wabasha established. Rev. Kenneth Knudson will be the pastor in 1940.

The Triple F Fraternity is organized. The three "Fs" stand for Friendship, Fidelity and Fraternity. The group will become responsible for organizing the annual football dance and queen coronations.

The Ainad Temple and Knights of Columbus building will be the site of most of these events. The group will consist of young men from both East Side and Central Catholic High.

Total income for the city amounts to $916,080. From 1888 to 1925 the income for the city increased at a faster rate than the expenditure, except for monies owed due to the cost of raising all of the downtown streets. The money spent on redevelopment is used to increase its facilities, thereby increasing its income by taxes as well as other revenues.

East Side football team, coached by Eber Simpson, has a 4-3-2 won-lost record. Members include: Leroy Hensley, Russ Schuhart, Les Sawyer, Bob Thomas, Earl Aitken, Tom Graney, Phil Merker, Warren Harris, Ted Cassady, Bill Threlkeld, William Homer, Ralph Foley, Warren Dierking and Lacy McCord. Girls Glee Club: Ellen Thage, Lucille Taylor and Verna Spitzer. Pep Club: William Gruetzmacher. Tennis: Richard Smith. Estfian: Frances Hackmann, Edgar Williams, Mildred Miller, Judith Smith, Clarence Curry (Editor). Prom Queens: Margaret Shreve (Feb.) and Helen Hamlin (June). GAA: Kathryn Metzger, Mildred Ropiequet. High-Y: Quenton Spivey (president). Band: Wayne Harris (president). Literary Society: Lenore Maroney (president).

Class Officers: Victor Lukas (president), Helen Eggmann, Harry Pfiffner, Paul Fleming. Radio Science Club: Elmer Althoff (president). Baseball Team: Morgan Foley, Walter Godin, Fred Steurnagel, Ralph Foley. Pitchers: Howard Thomas, Phil Merker, Harmon Manker.

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Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church is founded at 1125 Gaty Avenue. It will be the only branch of the Eastern Orthodox in southern Illinois. Members come from as far north as Litchfield, as far south as Cairo, and as far east as the Indiana border. Russians, Armenians, Syrians, Slovakians, Assyrians, Romanians, Poles and Ukrainians worship with the Greeks.

The church was founded by William Boudoures (right), owner of the Majestic Cleaners. He will be Parish Council President until 1964. The group will later build its magnificent brick and stone structure on 69th and State.

Walter Zabawa builds two story brick home and grocery store at the comer of Caseyville and Kingshighway in Washington Park.

 

1926 - St. Clair Theater, also known as the Odeon, opens on 818 St. Clair Avenue. It costs $25,000 and was operated by Stephen Habanek. The two story building had a seating capacity of 1,000, had space for two other stores on the lower level, and included living quarters upstairs.

James Kirk, founder of the Journal, dies at the age of 78 from a stroke at his home on Pennsylvania Avenue.

A $350,000 blaze sweeps Cain-Hurley Lumber Co. There is an $80,000 fire at the National Stock Yards and a $50,000 fire at Southern Malleable Iron at 21st and Bond.

New million dollar St. Mary's Hospital at 129 North 8th begins operations.

S. J. Peters, known as the "King of Bootleggers," formerly of East St. Louis, surrenders to authorities in Chester, Illinois.

Two men are burned to death in $300,000 fire which destroys the Arnold Hotel.

Free Methodist Church founded at 439 Collinsville Ave. It will later move to 29th and Waverly. Rev. Ray Nowlin is pastor in 1940.

James and Mary Helms open Parkway Inn at 25th and Caseyville/Lynch (below) and operate it for 29 years until they close in 1955. Sinclair Oil chose not to renew their lease because they wanted to expand their facilities on the south end of the lot. They will build a new Parkway on Route 50 near Vincennes, Indiana It quickly becomes a favorite hangout for teens.

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The first bowling league for women is formed at the Knights of Columbus which had five lanes in the basement. The gals wear a long two-piece coat called Hoover Aprons and tennis shoes. They eventually get the men to change the terminology such as alleys to lanes and gutters to channels.

Prohibition Army under Deputy Administrators from Springfield, Chicago and St. Louis mop up the city, taking into custody 48 prisoners, among them 7 women.

John Niederer, 57, of the firm of Niederer-Huggler Dairy Co., dies as a result of a fatal motor accident. Ben Gidney becomes another car crash victim a few weeks later. There will be sixteen fatal car accidents in the city during the year.

East Side joins the Southwestern Conference. Eugene Tucker was captain of the football team which won eight out of ten games despite having only sixteen members on the varsity roster.

St. Joseph's school is completed under the leadership of pastor James Downey.

The years 1926 and 1927 see numerous gun battles openly conducted between the police and criminal elements who are trying to recoup their loses of the three previous years in the city.

Leo Kosydor, a former Studebaker dealer, establishes Automotive Sales Co., a block long establishment at 13th and Broadway. Leo retired in 1941 and his sons Ray and George took over the business. The firm operates as an auto salvage company and sells both used and new parts. In 1957, a new block-long location was purchased at 20th and Missouri. The firm has paid as little as fifty cents and as much as $3,000 for damaged cars.

John J. Keeley establishes Keeley Construction Company. His son, John Jr., will join him in 1947. In 1952, the firm was reorganized into a partnership with Walter Grogan who handled the administration of the company while father and son handled operations. The contracting firm built Union Electric Company on Broadway in 1956, St. Patrick's Church, Howard Johnson's Restaurant, Sealtest Dairy, and others.

Annual Baby Beef show at the Stock Yards is attended by 200 boys and girls.

City police arrest "dog faced" bandit wanted in St. Louis for murder of aged man. Judge English resigns on eve of his trial before the senate on impeachment charges.

Tom Huddleston, a Negro Republican politician, is shot to death on eve of November election as a result of an argument in a political meeting.

Third annual Pageant of Progress opens. Emily Craig of Mt. Carmel is chosen queen.

"One Eye" Connelly, champ gate crasher comes to town. East St. Louis lands state labor convention. 20,000 attend Labor Day ceremonies at Fairmont Park.

Local baby, John Francis Dullea, 27 months old, given highest mark of 99.5 in State Fair contest.

Kurrus Undertaking Company announces it will build new facility on State.

Ground broken for construction of $1,000,000 Broadview Hotel.

The K of C picnic is attended by 15,000 people.

Six armed bandits hold up crew and guards on special car of Suburban Railway Company near the Winstanley car barns and escape with $8, 100.

City Council decides on $1,000 a week license fee for carnivals.

Body of Mrs. Elsie Barnhouse of North 6th Street, riddled with bullets, is found in a thicket near Horseshoe Lake. Herman Gerking, former East St. Louis patrolman, is sentenced to 20 years for the murder.

L. A. Baugh killed instantly when Interurban car hits his automobile. Sally Trendley, 80, pioneer here, dies.

East St. Louis gets through air mail service.

James Anglopoulles shoots Curtis C. Critchfield with fatal results in a room at 510 Division Avenue, where he found Critchfield with his wife.

Lou Davis, Negro self-styled "Hardest guy in town" meets one harder, Patrolman "Paddy" Ryan, when he attacks policeman with pool cue.

Body of Morris Stemberger, proprietor of the Empire Furniture Co., is found in Pittsburg Lake, where he was duck hunting.

Five men are arrested in connection with robbery of $57,600 from John M. Fisher, wrestling promoter.

Death takes city pioneer, Mrs. Frederika Mestmacher at age 72.

Village of Monsanto incorporated containing chemical, oil refining, power, and rubber-reclamation plants. A brass mill will later be added. The name will be changed to Sauget in 1967.

Weissman Iron and Metal Co. is swept by $30,000 fire. Three oil tanks exploded.

Dec. 22nd: Daylight, due to "smog pall" does not appear until 8:00 a.m.

Dec. 25th: Santa Claus visits city.  Plenty of loud neckties visible in downtown area.

 

1927 - Miles Davis (below) and his family move to East St. Louis, a year after he is born in Alton.

Miles will graduate from Lincoln High and go on to become one of the most influential jazz musicians of the twentieth century. He became a cultural icon as a masterful trumpet player who explored the instrument's lower register.  He played with such notables as Charlie Parker and John Coltrane, released a multitude of records in his 45 year career, and was at the center of almost ever movement in modem jazz history.   He is especially associated with "cool jazz" and "be-bop."

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Frank Doyle serves as mayor through 1933.

The Drake Theater at 418 Collinsville Avenue opens.

Ill-Mo Hotel (below), formerly known as the Royal Hotel, is destroyed by fire. It will be replaced by the Goldman Building (Walgreens).

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The Kiwanis Club is founded. Officers in 1936 include: Paul Hodson, L. G. Osborn, 1. W. Sleyster, R. W. Bucknell, Rex Fisher, L. E. Crump, Edmund Goedde, Carl Shank, Frank Campbell, E. M. Selser.

They help sponsor Boy Scout troops. Another of their activities is to honor outstanding individuals in the city for their work.

Noted Americans visiting East St. Louis include Amelia Earhart from Atchison, Kansas, Charles Lindbergh (on his way to Scott Field) and At Smith, Governor of New York and presidential nominee in 1928.

Century Cigar which was located in the Ill-Mo, later reopens at 343 Missouri Avenue in the Fowler Building. The store becomes a favorite hangout for men who buy cigars and tobacco products. Before the widespread popularity of the radio, baseball scores were posted via a sports "ticker tape." Card playing was another favorite activity at the store which provided tables and cards for the games. The cost was either ten cents or twenty-five cents depending on how high the stakes were in the games. Popular games included poker, gin rummay, pinochle, hearts, fan tan and bridge. The place was known for its friendly atmosphere and interesting conversation. Bill's brother, Ferd Belz also helped run the store.

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Library Board pays $150,000 for the Elks Club building for new library site at 8th and Illinois. J. Lyon Woodruff (left) is the librarian.

Shady Rest, the Birger gang roadhouse, is burned to the ground by the Sheltons. They accomplished the feat by loading a large tank of gasoline on the back of a truck, then parking in the woods slightly uphill of the building and allowing the gasoline to run down the hill and soak the surrounding area. A tossed lighted match finished the

City Police force purchases its first sub-machine guns in an effort to combat the mounting crime wave spawned by Prohibition.

The East St. Louis Junior Service Club for women is organized.

Most severe hailstorm in history hits the city. Damages are estimated at $250,000.

The Colored Republican Women's Club is organized for the purpose of educating Negroes about political issues. It is the first colored women's club in the city.

Washington Park Baptist Church at 5500 North Park Drive is established. The first brick structure will be completed in 1932. Reverend Lype of Rosemont Baptist Church serves as the first pastor. Rev. B. J. Murrie and J. B. Head will serve as pastors in the '30s and '40s.

Wilson School at 4817 Hallows is built. J. Wesley is the first principal and S. J. Havey is principal in 1961. Harding School at 731 North 74th Street is built. J. J. McGlynn is the first principal, Robert Kurrus held the spot in 1950, and Paul R. Moore is principal in 1961.

Biebel Roofing is started. In 1957, Art Biebel the proprietor of the business at 1919 Belmont.

Famed jazz musician, Duke Ellington, records a peppy instrumental tune called "East St. Louis Toodle Oo" on the RCA label.

 

1928 - Charlie Birger (below) becomes the last man in Illinois to be executed by hanging. His body lies in a small Jewish cemetery in University City at St. Louis. A small stone bears the inscription: Shachna Itzik Birger. He was the leader of the notorious Birger Gang that terrorized southern Illinois in Williamson and Saline Counties in the Harrisburg/Marion region. (This area was also referred to as Little Egypt, in part due to the town of Cairo.)

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Birger was executed in Benton for ordering the murder of Joe Adams, Mayor of West City, Illinois (Art Newman was given a life sentence for his role in the murder). Birger's contacts with the "Egan's Rats" gang in St. Louis back in 1923 had opened up new sources of illegal whiskey for him and his men. The Birger gang protected their illegal liquor empire with a car (an REO chassis) outfitted with armor plate. Their chief rivals were the Shelton gang (who had an armored truck of their own), led by Carl (the oldest) Earl, and Bernie (youngest).

The Sheltons own the dubious distinction of having carried out the only aerial bombing raid on Illinois soil. They tried to kill Charlie Birger on several occasions - first by throwing bombs at his house from an old Curtiss Jenny biplane (resulting only in the deaths of Charlie's favorite dog and pet bird), then by attacking his roadhouse with a World War I vintage army surplus tank.

It was the Sheltons who built the Mounds Club on Collinsville Road.

Art Newman was a member of the Birger gang, and his wife Bessie later became the "madam" of the infamous Deluxe Hotel in East St. Louis on 3rd Street along the prostitute strip known as The Valley.

Midwest Rubber Reclaiming Company builds a plant on the outskirts of the city in the south end. It reclaims and reprocesses natural and synthetic rubber for use by rubber products manufacturers.

Governor Al Smith of New York, Democratic presidential nominee, greets the people of East St. Louis

from the rear platform of a train taking him to St. Louis.

The three lakes at Grand Marais are dredged at a cost of $228,000 which is more than the original purchase cost. The dredging was completed in 1933 leaving 350 acres of cool, clear, sparkling navigable water.

The Broadview Hotel is constructed with 250 rooms. It occupies a site on Broadway between 4th and 5th Streets and cost $1,225,000. Joe Taylor was the manager. The seven story hotel has a ballroom located on the top floor. In 1998 it is the home of the East St. Louis' branch of Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.

East St. Louis Senior High School Chapter Number 798 of the National Honor Society, first formed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is organized in February.

Original Majestic Theater torn down and replaced by the existing structure. It is built by Harry Redmond and Fred Leber at a cost of a million dollars. It becomes the city's first talking picture palace. Over 10,000 people attend opening night and Mayor Frank Doyle's daughter is given the "key" to the Majestic. Bill Newbold works there for many years as an usher. He now has a Toyota dealership in Belleville.

Israel Andrew Bennett dies. He was the man who popularized hot fish sandwiches which he sold at 10th and Converse by the foot of the Free Bridge.

Al Oglander begins working at Nelson's Clothing store on 121 Collinsville Ave. A year later, he will open Al's Clothing at 130 Collinsville Ave. By 1957, sons Harold, Bob and Don had joined him, and the 15,000 square foot store with a rear entrance had 28 employees.

Sterling Baptist Church begins as a mission of the Washington Park Baptist Church.

Union Electric purchases the East St. Louis Electric Railway streetcar company and the Day Line coal

railroad for their sub station at 20th and Ridge, but earnings and ridership fall. Bus service is on the verge of replacing streetcars.

Prospects staff at East Side includes Carl Baldwin, Fred Clover, Rose Cullison, Carl Smith, Max Moreland, Georgianna Everhart. Literary Society members include Phyllis Landrum, Virginia Sanford, Vera Hutter, Marion Kircher, Carolyn Symonds, Kitty Little and Evelyn Walter. Student Council: William Lory (president), Eugene Tucker, Glen Anderson, Caroline Gan-din, Jack Terry, Bob Kurrus, Robert Turner, Nellie Carmichael. Art Club officers: Virginia O'Leary (president), Helen Miller, Dorothy Bookstayer, Ruth Miller.

After the Journal runs a series of articles, the city decides to make its first payment on the principal on the street-raising bond issue of 1888. Prior to this, only interest payments had been made.

 

1929 - Sears store (below) on comer of Collinsville Ave and St. Louis Ave opens. There are fifteen departments and forty employees. First day sales totaled $10,000. Louis Tissier is one of the early employees and he will work there for over thirty years. Lurie's Furniture will move in when Sears relocates to 10th and State.

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Central Catholic High opens at Wabasha and St. Clair with 75 boys and a teaching staff of three. It moves to the old St. Patrick's grade school at 6th and Illinois in 1931. Ground is purchased for the new St. Patrick's complex at 33rd and Summit.

Chain of Rocks Bridge on Route 66 is completed. A sharp turn near the center makes it dangerous and it will be replaced in 1965 with the Interstate 270 bridge.

Oliver L. Parks establishes an air college in Cahokia. It is the first federally approved school of aeronautics.  Charles Lindbergh, the famed aviator who was the first pilot to solo across the Atlantic, is a frequent visitor. East St. Louis will assume the sports nickname

"Flyers" due to the national prominence of Parks Air College and popularity of pilots such as Charles Lindbergh.

East Side plays its first and only grid encounter at the St. Louis Arena. Coach Bill Frazier's Flyers were a secondary attraction to an important soccer match. Their post-season opponents were an all-star team chosen from the prep and public leagues. Despite the Flyers losing their quarterback, Tom Cassady, to a sprained ankle, they win the game 6-0. Jimmy Brinson scores the only touchdown going all the way to the end zone with his third interception of the game. Ten thousand fans attend the dual event.

The Ralston-Purina Company near the Stock Yards is damaged by a $175,000 fire.

Four million dollars will be spent during the year on construction costs to "give the city a skyline."

Bluff View School at 9206 Hillside (French Village) is built. J. J. McGlynn is the first principal and C. F. Scherrer is in charge by 1961. Garfield School (colored) is built at 329 Winstanley. M. Van Lucas is the first principal and Elijah Langford holds that position in 1961. Crispus Attucks School at 2600 Kansas is built. It is named for a Negro who was killed in the Boston Massacre. M. Van Lucas is the first principal, Clifford Basfield holds that job in 1950, and R. M. Miller is principal in 196 1.

First Church of the Nazarene is established at 15th and College. Rev. C. I. Deboard founded the church and, except for the years 1943-49, is the pastor until 1956.

Mel Price is elected to the St. Clair County Board of Supervisors. He has been covering their meetings as a reporter. At age 24, he is the youngest member from East St. Louis to ever serve on the board.

 

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