Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Gene's Coffee Shoppe & Dining Room, Thanksgiving Menu, 1929

Gene's Coffee Shoppe & Dining Room
Thanksgiving Menu
Daily Citizen
November 27, 1929

Gene's Coffee Shoppe & Dining Room was in the long-gone Ambridge Hotel, located from 1905 to 1964 on the northwest corner of 8th and Merchant Sts. The restaurant's address was not printed in the ad. I guess everyone in the area knew where it was.

That $1.25 is equivalent to about $19.40 today. Still an attractive price for a complete Thanksgiving meal, but when the average steelworker was making less than $0.68 an hour, and taking home even less, perhaps beyond the budget of the average steelworker's family,

And no pumpkin pie!

Friday, November 8, 2019

Mohn's Grocery, Clover Farm Store

Mohn's Grocery
Clover Farm Store
location unknown
Old Economy Village archives, MG-332
used with permission

The above photo came from the Old Economy Village archives and was sent to me by Amy Andre who asked me if I had any information about the Mohn's Grocery store. An "Ambridge + four-digits" phone number is on the store's sign, but was the store in Ambridge and if so, where? Or perhaps was it in an Ambridge-area community that had phone numbers on the Ambridge phone exchange, like Fair Oaks (Leet Township) or Leetsdale?

Amy wrote:
I am a descendant of the Mohn family and was doing research at the Old Economy historical society on the Henry Mohn/Melina Feucht family and found this photo.
In a later email, Amy provided the following information:
There are still Mohn family members in Ambridge and Leetsdale but I don't know any of them, even though they would be cousins of mine. Henry Mohn's wife Melina Feucht was associated with the Harmonist's Society. Her father and sisters were members of the society. Melina's father is buried in the Harmonist's cemetery at Old Economy Village. It would be interesting to find out which Mohn owned the Mohn Grocery Store. 
My line of the Mohn family is Frederick Mohn and his wife Esther Keck. Frederick was born in Germany as was his wife Esther. The Keck family settled in Doreyville, Allegheny, PA. Frederick's children were born in Haysville, Leetsdale and Allegheny City (now Pittsburgh's North Side. Frederick did have some siblings that came with him to America and settled in the same areas.
Unfortunately, I have exhausted all the research materials I have at hand and have come up with nothing helpful. Can anyone help?

Here are two clues to narrow your search if you start one:
Clover Farms, a cooperative grocery chain, began in 1926.
It appears from ads that the "Ambridge + 4 digits" phone numbers began to be used in the 1940s.

I know there were once Clover Farm Stores in Ambridge: one was at 798 15th St. but I don't know the grocery's name; however that building looks nothing like the store in the photo. The Csurny's Clover Farm store was at 6th St. and Glenwood Ave. and Grosdeck's Clover Farm Store was at 290 - 292 1st St.

Update June 8, 2020: The location of Mohn's Grocery has been found! The grocery was hiding in plain sight, with an exterior so altered, it would be impossible to identify--unless you knew where to look.*

Turns out I was right when I wondered if the store might have been in Leetsdale.

Here's what Mohn's Grocery looks like now:

175 Broad St.,
Leetsdale PA
May 28, 2020
credit: Thomas Beerman

Thomas Beerman, the current resident of the building, recently left a comment about this post:

"This is the house I now live in ! It is located on broad st in leetsdale, still have the old meat hooks, our kitchen was the meat cooler!" In a second comment, he added that his family had lived in the building since the Mohn's Grocery closed in the 1950s.

Those comments were later followed by several emails in which Thomas told me that he had come across this blog post about Mohn's Grocery while he was looking for information about the furniture store that was once next door, now a warehouse. And he sent me the above photo of the former grocery as it looks today.

He said his mom and dad, 
Jean and Leo Beerman, bought the store in 1947 while it was still operating, but the grocery "went out of business when the steel mills went on strike! [My dad] turned [the building] into 2 apartments and then one house when times were rough." He added that the store's meat hooks that once were in his kitchen were now in his garage.

After I told him I would be interested in seeing what the meat hooks now looked like, he was gracious enough to send me a photo:

Meat hooks from former Mohn's Grocery
garage at 175 Broad St.
Leetsdale PA
May 28, 2020
credit: Thomas Beerman

I love when an history mystery gets solved! Especially since this one has a happy ending in that the Mohn's Grocery building still exists.

Although I still don't have any information about whether the Leetsdale Mohn's Grocery was owned by someone related to Henry Mohn, whose wife had connections with the Harmony Society.

* In the past, I've come across other old buildings "hiding in plain sight," for example Ambridge's Kingdom Hall or Blaine House, an early home of George (Father) Rapp, later used by the Harmony Society as a school.