Travel Tuesday: Gertrude Broida and Mother Visiting St. Louis in 1919

Gertrude Broida (later Cooper) visiting St. Louis, Missouri with her mother, Bess Dorothy (Green) Broida, 25 July 1919. From the Pittsburgh Jewish Criterion, with kind permission to publish.
Gertrude Broida (later Cooper) visiting St. Louis, Missouri with her mother, Bess Dorothy (Green) Broida, 25 July 1919. From the Pittsburgh Jewish Criterion of that date, with kind permission to publish.

Broida Family (Click for Family Tree)

Gertrude Belle Broida was not quite eight years old when her mother, Bess Dorothy (Green) Broida, took her to St. Louis, Missouri, on a visit from their home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They most likely took the train to St. Louis, and arrived at beautiful Union Station. We can imagine that Gertrude and her mother would have stepped down from the train and walked from the dozens of tracks inside the station toward the Grand Hall. Family may have met them at the train- back then, one could actually go all the way to the train even if not a passenger- or waited patiently in the Grand Hall for them to arrive. All were probably dressed beautifully- back then, one dressed up to travel, and since both families worked mostly in the clothing industry, their clothes were likely the latest fashion and impeccably tailored.

Bess and Gertrude might have been met by their Broida family. Bess’ husband and Gertrude’s father, Phillip E. Broida, had quite a few family members in St. Louis. His father, John “Zelig” Broida was 62 in 1919, but had been listed in the St. Louis City Directory in 1917. We don’t know if he was still in St. Louis or had already immigrated to Israel, but perhaps Bessie and Gertrude visited to see him before he left. There were quite a few Broida cousins in St. Louis, too.

Bessie’s Green family may have met them at the station as well. Bessie’s father, Abraham Green, and her mother, Rose (Brave) Green, made St. Louis their home. Additionally, Bessie’s sisters lived in St. Louis, and two of the three had families of their own, as did her brother Herman Green.

We can only imagine the joy Bessie would have felt as she hugged her sisters, Estelle (Green) Ledwidge, Ann (Green) Stampfer (or had she married Charles White by that date?), and Mary Green. They all would have commented how big each of the children had grown since their last visit.

Gertrude would have been thrilled to see her older cousin (Sarah) Jane Ledwidge, who would have been 12 in 1909. Jane’s little sister Helen D. Ledwidge, lovingly known as “Sis” her whole life, was only about three months older than Gertrude. Esther S. Stampfer would have been 11. The four cousins would probably have linked arms and marched down the walkway to the Grand Hall, probably giggling and skipping all the way. The family was always very close.

Union Station was, at one time, the busiest and largest train station in the world, and once they all reached the Grand Hall, it would have been quite impressive to a little girl. (It was impressive even into the 1960s and 1970s.)

1909 Postcard of the Grand Hall of Union Station in St. Louis, Missouri.
1909 Postcard of the Grand Hall of Union Station in St. Louis, Missouri.

As the group exited the station, they would have waited for a streetcar if one of the St. Louis families did not have their own car. Looking back, Union Station was as beautiful from the outside as the inside:

Postcard of exterior of Union Station in St. Louis, Missouri.
Postcard of exterior of Union Station in St. Louis, Missouri.

Herman L. Green was the lone brother in the family, and he had a son, Preston M. Green, who would have been just 4 that year. (His son Harold Green would be born in 1921.) Abraham and Rose Green, Bessie’s parents, would most probably thoroughly enjoyed having all their children and grandchildren around them. The families likely had a wonderful visit. Parting when Bessie and Gertrude were scheduled to return to Pittsburgh must have been painful for all.

Of course, we do not know if all the details described above are totally true. But this little snippet in the Society section of the Pittsburgh Jewish Criterion allows us to imagine what life was like for Bess (Green) Broida and Gertrude Broida  as they travelled to St. Louis for a treasured visit.


Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Jewish Criterion, 25 July 1919, Society Section, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, Vol. 51, No. 22, Page 16. The Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project, posted with kind permission.


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