A Snowy Day in 1950

I was rummaging through some old photos that I had fogotten about and unearthed two photos dated on the back. However, the date on one was different than the other. I was reminded of the big storm in 1950 and think these may have been taken at that time. The largest recorded snowfall in the Pittsburgh area was 27.4 inches from November 24-26, 1950. I am not sure who took the photos, but I assume it was my father. If I recall, both were taken in different directions, but from the same vantage point, Hamilton Avenue. They struck me as poignant and at the same time, peaceful. Allow me to surmise about each photo.

This photo shows First Street looking toward Grant Ave from Hamilton Ave. I couldn’t believe that I had a photo that showed the Christmas lights that I described in a previous post. I can still see them lining Grant Ave in my mind. The car nearest the camera seems to be in the process of being dug out. The store is Rosenzweig and Gross, one of two furniture stores that I remember. The other furniture store that I remember was at the corner of Grant Ave. and Prune Alley (the name of the alley behind Holy Name between First and Second Sts.) I don’t recall the name of the store, but if anyone does, please fill me in. I don’t recall any other businesses in the photo, but I remember that Bud and Jerry’s Donuts was located on the left hand side of the street and many have been about a block up from Rosenzweig’s. If you look almost dead center in the photo, you’ll see the building that appears in the header of this blog. You can detect the curved facade if you look hard. Onto photo two:

Placing the vantage point in this photo is a bit tricky. I think it is taken from the intersection of First Street and Hamilton Ave looking up Hamilton, but I could be wrong. It is definately looking up Hamilton, but it may have been from the intersection at 3rd Street. I recall a variety store that was located across the street from my grandfather’s home at 307 Hamilton Ave. The store in the picture looks just like the store I remember AND there was a bar, which is no suprise, on the corner just up from the store. I found it remarkable that there were still horses around in 1945. I wish I had living relative who could tell me more about this picture, but alas, they are all gone.

If anyone reading this blog knows any  additional details about either photo, please, comment and fill us in. In the meantime, be well, be safe and check back soon.

This entry was posted in Duquesne History, Historic Events, Holidays - Non-Christmas and New Years, Wintertime. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to A Snowy Day in 1950

  1. Jack Schalk says:

    Horses in the Fifties were not a rarity. We had an ice man and a produce man that both used horse drawn wagons to carry their goods. I can still hear their voices as they let the ladies know they were in the neighborhood. We (the kids) were allowed to grab any loose ice chips from the wagon to munch on while we played.
    This was approx. 1944-45 as we played in Dodd Alley.

  2. Colleen Byrne Travis says:

    I was born on November 24th during the “Big SNow”. I have heard about it all of my life. Everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing at the time.

  3. Barry Long says:

    The building at the end of 1st st; on Grant Av; had Butler’s Drug Store on the corner. Does anyone remember The Red Light in the center[middle] of the street between the drug store & the bank? I think it was melted down during the many” Scrap Drives” during WWll, along with the big metal drinking fountain from the park by City Hall, & the machine guns [WWl] that were displayed at the corner of 3rd & Grant Memorial Park?How about getting in the PLAZA SHOW by taking a piece of copper, aluminum, iron,or what ever “DRIVE” the government was sponsoring & we’d toss it in the back of a truck & walk in for the Saturday Matinee?

  4. dave Bonga says:

    Great pix Jim – hope you find more !! I’m kinda familiar with these areas as my grandparents lived at the corner of 2nd and Hamilton. We would often walk up to the corner of 3rd and Hamilton to a small store to get items ( my brother seems to recall the store known as Basic’s (sp.?) . Anyway, you are correct about the bar at this same intersection as my grandfather was a frequent visitor to many of the local watering holes !! 🙂 . I recall walking down Hamilton and turning on 1st to stop at a bar about half way over toward Grant (Pine Grill or something like that). I know they had a spitoon which ran along the base of the bar and my grandfather would sit my brother and me at a table to snack on pop and pretzels while he “downed ” a shot and a beer (or two) :-).

  5. Laurine Emert says:

    Yes, Oliver Elementary School was at the crest of Second Street. The Senior Citizen High Rise now occupies that spot.

    If the photo is of First Street, there was a bowling alley that had duck pin lanes somewhere on the left (lower) side of the street. My mom and grandmother belonged to a league that bowled there. There was another bowling alley somewhere there that had regular 10 pins. Can’t remember the name of it either. Somewhere up from there on the same side was a very narrow store that only sold undergarments – boys, girls, mens and women. I can’t remember the name of it, though. Also on the right side of the street was a jewelry store run by a very nice couple, the wife’s name was Lucille and I think her husband was Max. I remember finding shiny bits of glass that I thought were diamonds and I would take them to the store and have them “appraised.” The movie theater was on the right side but much closer to Grant than Hamilton. Butch’s Wonder Bar and Max Goltz’s Green Grocery were also on the upper (right side) of First Street. We lived with my grandparents on the third floor front apartment above the Wonder Bar. When First Street was razed, Butch moved the Wonder Bar to Hamilton right below Second Street. It is now a senior care facility (or at least it was the last time I was down that way, which was quite a while ago).

    My mom talked a lot about THE Snowstorm and how it closed everything down. If in fact the photos are from 1950, it is even more amazing that there was a team of horses and a cart in use at that time.

  6. Lou A. says:

    Jim, go to Google maps. Look at the way all the streets slightly angle when they cross Grant Avenue. I don’t remember R-G furniture store or where it was, but the insurance building with the curved corner is definitely still standing at Grant and SECOND Street; and 2nd St crests just about where the old school was (Oliver ?), so you can’t see much of the intersection from 2nd at Hamilton anyway. Sorry, buildings come and go, (much like memory), but the land remains. As you well know, dates on photos cam be wrong too: is it possible this was the BIG SNOW of Thanksgiving Weekend, 1950? We weren’t born quite yet, but I heard many stories…

    BTW- In another post, I may have confused Mary Petrozza with Mary Spanitz; apologies to both.

    • Jim says:

      You are probably correct about the date. I looked at the second photo and the number 36 was scribbled on the back. Looks like the markings were just random numbers. Thanks for the update, I will adjust the post to reflect the year 1950. Thanks my friend…

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