Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A Moment in a Building's History

Yesterday, I had got the opportunity to borrow and scan this photograph.

The photograph had been mounted on a piece of cardboard, which caused it to buckle, so the reproduction isn't the best. The men in the picture are impossible to identify, but the building isn't. It is the building sometimes known as the Cannonball Factory, the current location of Etsy.

The ghost of the Hudson Dress Company sign can still be seen.

A little investigation discovered that Isadore Krupnick was born in Russia in 1885 and immigrated to the United States in 1908. When he started the Hudson Dress Company is not known, but this item, which appeared in the Columbia Republican for Tuesday, November 14, 1922, reveals when the company established itself in the building on Columbia Street.

The identity of Jitomir remains a mystery. Although there were people with the surname Jitomir living in Brooklyn at the time, a search of Hudson city directories from the 1920s finds no one named Jitomir.

Addendum and Erratum
Yesterday, a reader pointed out to me that the 1922 article I had discovered reported the opening of the Hudson Dress Company in a different building, one farther up Columbia Street in what had been the original St. Charles Hotel. Krupnick set up operations in the "old Traver Mill building" on Diamond Street three years earlier, in 1919. That, of course, is the building that appears in the picture, and that information probably sets the date of the photograph between 1919 and 1922.


  1. Once again, Gossips has brought Hudson history to the forefront. Thank you for all your contributions.

  2. I am unsure if my comments are being transmitted correctly.

  3. Jitomer (usually rendered in English, I think, as Gitomer) was the town in Ukraine where my mother's parents came from. A lot of immigrants who didn't speak English ended up with "Ellis Island names" because when the immigration officers asked their names they would misunderstand and answer something else, such as the place they had come from, and that would be written down on whatever forms, and stuck. The name Isadore Krupnick sounds awfully familiar to me, too, and I can imagine he was some friend or even cousin of my grandparents' from the old country, but on the other hand a lot of Eastern European Jewish names sound like that to me.

  4. And my father's family originated in Zhitomir (as it's usually spelled), too.

  5. What a wonderful find! Thank you for bringing this to us and researching. Jonathan's comment also adds to the layers of history that are in our 'recent' country.

  6. Great find, Carole. What I love about this is its guns-and-butter history; from cannonballs to "handmade vintage" items. Unlike so many historic buildings in Hudson, this one survives to tell its story. Has someone done a history of entrepreneurial Hudson?

  7. As a genealogist, I need to disabuse Jonathan Lerner of the notion that any immigrant's name was changed at Ellis Island. The US Citizenship and Immigration Service historian Marian Smith notes that, despite family stories, there is no documented case where a name was changed. Passenger manifests were created at the port of departure. Clerks at Ellis Island merely checked the information already provided. My understanding is that Ellis Island had employees who represented more than 45 languages. It is unlikely that someone could arrived and not be understood. Immigrants often chose to change their names after they arrived in the USA. It was not forced upon them by Ellis Island clerks.