Monday, September 8, 2014

Reconstructing the History of Lost Buildings

Two years ago, Gossips came to the realization that the picture below, from a collection of images assembled by Byrne Fone for his book Historic Hudson: An Architectural Portrait, showed the building that once stood at the southwest corner of Front and Warren streets. 

Since then, Gossips has published other pictures of the building, including this one of its demolition in 1974. 

Recently Gossips discovered another picture of the building. This one appeared in a newspaper ad announcing the grand opening, on May 16, 1937, of the new home of the Polish National Alliance at 1 South Front Street.

Gossips found this ad in a scrapbook of family history assembled in 1991 by Walter First for his children and grandchildren. The scrapbook focuses on the part of Hudson First calls "the Enclave"--the section of the city north of Warren Street and west of Third Street, where many immigrant families lived in the first half of the 20th century. First's daughter, Bobbi First Bush generously permitted Gossips have a look at the scrapbook, which includes both pictures and First's memories of the Hudson neighborhood that is no more. With the family's permission, we share what Walter First had to say about the Polish National Alliance.

The PNA Club, at the corner of Warren and South Front Streets, was called the Tamarin Building. The Tamarin family operated an appliance store that featured the name-brand "Majestic" radio.
After renovation work by the members, the main floor was used for meetings, dinners and dancing. A kitchen was installed at the back end, and a staircase led to the basement level, a club bar and game room.
It became the Enclave social center for the Polish immigrants and their descendants; and was the scene of weddings, parties, and fund raising events. The second floor remained as an apartment for the caretaker. Under the exterior staircase was located Johnny Ware Hot-dog Stand. The Washington Hose Firehouse is on the opposite site of the street.
The Club building was acquired by the Hudson Urban Renewal Agency and demolished in the early 1960's, along with all the other historic buildings on the west side of South Front Street.
Today Hudson Terrace Apartments occupies the site that at one time saw the starter homes, "Mom and Pop" stores, for the Jewish, Italian, and Slavic immigrants.

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