Smith Street

If you lived on Smith Street, you lived in "the back part of town",  right next to the main rail yard.  You were considered pretty low on the social scale.  The West Side was considered rich next to Smith Street.  And South Hills was only a dream.  And yet, Smith Street was an interesting place to grow up:  For one thing, we had more diversity than most neighborhoods.  "The Block" was just around the corner where many Blacks lived.  On our street were the Yaya's (Syrians) Veltri's and Olian's (Italians)  and Scotts and Jews. (businesses)  The street itself was very busy, so when you were told at an early age not to play in the street,  you didnt.... or you died. It was that simple.  We didnt need the schools to tell us anything about safety or diversity or manners,  because we lived it.  Had to, to survive.  All in all,  it was a great experience, except for the train cars that crashed all night long as they they were being switched!

Here I am all dressed up for the Christmas holidays.  I only dressed up at Christmas and Easter.  The rest of the time I looked like a street urchin,  often running around barefoot!  I'm standing in front of my neighbors house,  Frankie and Geneva Veltri.  After the beauty shop closed,  Frankie ran some card games down stairs.  They later enclosed part of their front porch,  which you see in the right photo.

This was taken across the street from the house.  That's Capitol Street in the background.  The car is parked exactly where the West entrance to the Farmers Market is today.  That crane is now the Farmers Market parking lot.  I might add that this section of Smith Street was the very first commercially paved street in the city.  Most people arent aware of that.  Reason was that all the heavy needs of the city arrived by train here and was hauled by wagon, which kept the muddy street almost impassible at times.  The city hired Pfaff & Smith to pave the street with brick,  because concrete wasnt used yet at that time.  Pfaff & Smith came here from Ohio mostly due to the work needed in this area.


These were my neighbors the Olians.  They lived on the other side of Frankie Veltri.  That's Carl Sr,  Carmella,  daughter Carol and son Carl Jr.  It must be Easter.  You see Capitol Street and Dryden Street in the background.

Another photo of them about 5 years later.  As you can plainly see,  Carol (my age)  was a doll baby, and her mother made darned sure that I didn't go too near her at any time.   After all... I was the officially designated block bastard and no good could ever come of me. (Hahaha! )  Carols mother was very wise... 

I lived in both houses on the right, mostly in the middle one.  See those two white stripes near the mailbox?  I painted them when I was 13.  Caught hell for that too!  (I wont even get into shooting out Geneva's window with a BB gun.)

Speaking of Geneva, here she and Frankie Veltri enjoys a night out.

Frankie just before he passed away



This photo of me taken at the corner of Smith & Broad Streets was shot at about the same time as the photo above it.  I'm wearing the latest in fashion:  Beatle Boots,  Striped Peg-Leg Hiphugger Pants with wide belt, and a Pullover.  My hair is shorter than normal because I managed to spend two days in the Dunbar Child Shelter for "an indiscretion". ;)  The first thing they did in those days was to shave you bald.  Not a good look when hair fashion was well below the ears!   This was close to the time I watched the Beatles in person at Crosley Field,  Cincinnati for $10!

As you can see, Broad Street went all the way to Piedmont Road.  The long building to the right of my head was the old A&P Grocery Store.  It caught fire and then later became the Rambler showroom, (and other cars) and then much later became Dome's  Cycle, which it is today.   Also on the right is the NYC Railway Station.  To the left you can just see the begriming of what is today the Farmers Market.. East entrance.  Every house you see in this photo was removed for the Interstate.


This is Carol and me in June 2009.  She now lives in Texas and is a grandmother!




This photo was taken on Baines Street near the corner of Morris St.  The photographer was standing where the rear of Appalachian Power Park is today.  In this photo you can see the Spring Hill Cemetery and the very edge of the old City Park up on the hill.  You also see the WV Steel Corp building in the background.  Finally,  you can just see the edge of a Kyle Furniture truck parked near the tracks.  Smith Street is on that side of these houses.