Saturday, January 8, 2022

Who Cleaned Up The Eighth Street Yard?

What was the Eighth Street Yard? 

St. Louis Globe Democrat, November 14, 1892

The police of the Third District are constantly annoyed by rows between whites and blacks in what is known as the Eighth Street Yard. This yard,  which covers nearly a half block, is situate on Eighth street, between Carr and Biddle.

St Louis Post Dispatch, January 6, 1895

There are only four blocks in this territory, but within its sacred precincts are located Castle Thunder and the Eighth Street Yard, both of which have done more than their share toward making local history...It is one of the hardest beats in the city, and for one man to walk it alone at night would be an extremely hazardous undertaking.

Where exactly was the Eighth Street Yard? The first clipping above says it covered half a block on Eighth Street between Carr and Biddle. The clipping below provides an address.

St. Louis Globe-Democrat, March 6, 1893


1122 North Eighth. The tenement my 2nd great grandfather, Selig Feinstein, lived in, and owned, according to the 1900 census. The Eighth Street Yard appears a lot in the news between 1890-1895. Then it disappears. 

When and how was the 8th Street Yard, one of the toughest police beats, cleaned up? When did Selig Feinstein purchase the address? What was his role? In the early 1890s he is listed in city directories as residing on Seventh Street, but working as a shoer/blacksmith at 1106 North Eighth. So he would naturally have had an incentive to move to the same block he worked. Once he owned the property, did he just kick out the rowdy residents and recruit new ones?

I hoped to get to the library this weekend to research deeds on microfilm, to pinpoint the exact year he purchased the property, and whether he purchased any other property in the area. There is some family lore that he may have.  I do know that he went into the Real Estate business with his children starting in 1905, but he may have been a landlord of multiple properties before then. It doesn't look like I will get to the library this weekend due to weather and other factors. Maybe next weekend. 

Sunday, January 2, 2022

1122 North Eighth Street, 1900

In the 1900 Census my second great grandparents Selig and Annie (Perlik) Feinstein, their seven children, and Selig's mother Gertie were living at 1122 North Eighth Street in St. Louis, Missouri. They were in the front section, and are listed in the census as the owners. In the rear were several families: The Finkelsteins, Buchmans, Portnoys, and Shparbergs.  There were also several individuals - Sarah Freeman, Samuel Feingold, Morris Klingermann, Charles Mutsnick, and Wolf Simon. In total, there were 36 people residing at 1122 North 8th. 10 in the front, 26 in the rear. The country of origin for all adults was Russia.

Over the years I've written several entries on the Carr Square Neighborhood, and on the subsection called Little Jerusalem. Over the last week I decided to start with the families at 1122, and see what I could find out about their descendants. The term FAN Principle (Friends, Associates, Neighbors), credited to Elizabeth Shown Mills, is somewhat applicable. However, my primary intent wasn't to find out more about my ancestors through researching their neighbors. I was genuinely interested in what happened to the families living with my ancestors in the tenement.

Most of the single boarders are difficult to trace. I already knew that Rebecca Portnoy was Selig's sister, and she and her husband were childless. My new database after a week of researching Ancestry Hints is up to 275. A good proportion are the descendants of my second great grandparents, but unrelated surnames include Bernhardt, Buchman, Finkelstein, Friedman, Green, Kanefield, Klayman, Safron, Shcolnik, and Sparberg.

I'm ready to move on to the next address. I will probably move next door on the census, but I might make a detour to North Seventh Street where Selig's brother, Julius, was residing. Why am I interested? Having lived in St. Louis for my whole life I do expect to run across surnames that while not related to me, are still familiar. I'm also interested in fleshing out this community of Little Jerusalem where all of my paternal second great grandparents lived at one time. My Newmark ancestors arrived in 1909 and settled perhaps a block or two outside of the boundaries. The Cruvants, Blatts & Feinsteins all resided within the boundaries at some point.

I have created a secondary blog - Little Jerusalem 1900 to write about discoveries that aren't directly related to my family history. Today I posted a transcription of a news article about a War Between Candy Shops. It's a humorous story about competing businesses, and is a refreshing counterpoint to the disturbing descriptions of the tenement conditions I have read elsewhere. It also suggests that Candy Apples were introduced in St. Louis in 1900, 8 years prior to when they are said to have been invented in New Jersey. Some people might question how these two candy apples compared. Certainly many people confuse Caramel Apples with Candy Apples. But Caramel Apples are said to have been invented by Kraft Foods in the 1950s. It's not clear what was introduced in St. Louis in 1900 and how it may differ from what was introduced in 1908, but the description given in the newspaper article appears to resemble what we know today as Candy Apples. The origin story of the confection may need to be rewritten if Candy Apples were being sold by two candy shops in St. Louis in 1900.