Pittsburgh History – Area Businesses that Are Gone


Pittsburgh Pennsylvania has gone through significant changes over the past 100 years.  This blog will focus on the large and small businesses that are no longer in business.  Either through acquisition or just going out of business, the business listed below were successful and fixtures in Pittsburgh during their heyday.

The photographic images can be viewed at the following address;  http://bradystewartphoto.photoshelter.com/gallery/Pittsburgh-Area-Businesses-that-Are-Gone/G0000Lwd.yRmewhk/.

Here are some of my absolute favorites…

1) Clark Candies – Yes, you can still buy a Clark Bar and some other brands from Clark Candies but the Company is long gone.  The D.L. Clark Company remained in the hands of the Clark family until it was sold to the Beatrice Food Company, who operated the company until 1983 when it was sold to the Pittsburgh Food and Beverage Company.  In 1995 the Pittsburgh Food and Beverage was thrown into bankruptcy.  The company was shut down for several months and its assets divested.  Restructured as Clark Bar Company, the company operated until May of 1999, when it was purchased by New England Confectionery Company (NECCO), the oldest candy manufacturer in the United States. (http://www.victoryseeds.com/candystore/clarks.html)

2) Olde Frothingslosh – One of the most unique brands has been Pittsburgh Brewing’s Olde Frothingslosh.  It was invented as a joke by Pittsburgh radio personality Rege Cordic in the early 1950s.  The local brewer picked up the idea as a humorous Christmastime promotion and the Pale Stale Ale ended up inspiring over 30 different beer cans.  (http://www.rustycans.com/HISTORY/oldfroth.html).

3) Eiben and Irr Department Store was a fixture on Wood Street and Liberty Avenue from 1953-1979.  With the Brady Stewart Studio located across the street at 725 Liberty Avenue, my father and I spent a lot of time in the sporting goods department.  All of the sporting goods equipment used by the Stewart family was purchased at Eiben and Irr!

4) Palmers Restaurant was a very popular eatery in downtown Pittsburgh from 1963-1996.  Palmer’s family owned chain once boasted seven restaurants offering fast service.  Palmer’s was “the certified” breakfast restaurant of the Brady Stewart Studio for over 20 years.  The main Palmers locations were on Stanwix Street (Empire Building), Gateway Center 4 and on Smithfield Street.

5) Tip-Top Bread was one of the main products produced and marketed by the Ward Baking Company.  Ward Baking company changed its name to the Continental Baking Company in 1925.  During a large part of the 20th Century, Continental Baking Company was one of the largest baking companies in the world.  Other brands produced by the company are Hostess Twinkies and Wonder Bread.

6) Otto Milk:  The Otto Suburban Dairy was a family owned factory that delivered milk to the front porches of Western PA from 1926 – 1970s. Otto’s Suburban Dairy was founded in 1926 by Richard (Dick) A. Otto and his four sons: Frank, Walter, Richard, and Luther.

7) Blue Dell Swimming Pool:  The pool was built-in 1929 and operated in Westmoreland County (North Huntington) up until 1989.  The pool was the place to be during the 1940s & 1950s.

8) Joseph Horne Company was a regional department store chain based in Pittsburgh. The store was one of the oldest in the country being founded in 1849.The photographs included were taken by Brady Stewart during the infamous 1936 Pittsburgh flood.  The store marked the high water level on the side of the building near the famous clock at the corner of Penn Avenue and Stanwix Street.  The chain ceased operations in 1994 after being merged with the Lazarus division of Federated Department Stores, Inc.

9) Weinberger’s Cut Rate Drug Stores:  Weinberger’s was a very popular drug store on Market Street near Liberty Avenue.  The Store opened in the early 1930s and closed after the 1936 Pittsburgh flood.  The Weinberger’s reopened their pharmacy in Homestead PA.

10) Duquesne Brewery:  The Duquesne Brewing Company was a major brewery in Pittsburgh, from its founding in 1899 until its dissolution in 1972. Duquesne’s production capacity increased to two million barrels after World War II when a new building opened at the South Side site in 1950 (see photo) making it one of the top ten breweries in the United States. The company’s best known brand was “Duke,” and its popular advertising slogan was “Have a Duke!”

11) The Brass Rail Restaurant:  The Brass Rail was a very popular restaurant and bar in Pittsburgh from the 1920s thru the early 1970s.  The photos show the consistent interior and exterior “look” of all the Brass Rails.   Two entrepeneurs purchased the naming rights and opened two new Brass Rail Restaurants during the mid-1980s.  Brady Stewart Studio provided 20+ large photographs that decorated both restaurants.  Only one Brass Restaurant is left in the Pittsburgh area.  The restaurant is located on 10 Old Clairton Road in Pleasant Hills.

12) John M. Roberts and Son:  Founded in 1832 in a log cabin, John M. Roberts & Son Co. moved to Wood and Diamond streets in 1925. Mr. Roberts was the fourth generation of his family to work in the business. Owners often said it was the oldest emporium in Pittsburgh, the first to use lighting in its display windows, and proudly boasted of customers such as George Westinghouse, railroad financier and philanthropist Diamond Jim Brady, singer Lillian Russell and pianist Liberace. (Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07116/780867-54.stm#ixzz14Fa9beyA)

13) Hotel Schenley:  The building, originally known as the Schenley Hotel and designed by architects Rutan & Russell,opened in 1898, became the keystone of entrepreneur Franklin Nicola’s dream of Oakland as a center for culture, art and education. It was a place where Pittsburgh power brokers met and many of the discussions leading to the birth of the U.S. Steel Corporation were held at the Schenley. Its formation was celebrated at the “Meal of Millionaires” in 1901. Later in 1914, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) was organized at the Schenley Hotel.

Other Photographic Images in the Gallery:  John F. Casey Company, F.W. Woolworth, Gypsy Tea Room,  Max Azens Furs, JP Harris Theater, Pittsburgh Coke and Chemical products, Continental Dance Studio, Duquesne Steel Works, GOE/General Office Equipment, Diamond Market Walkway, Mays Drugs, Radio Mart, Kings Clothing, Emsworth Restaurant, Tasa Coal Company, Marlane Bridal Shop, & Bubbles and Sherman

All images in the blog and web site are copyrighted by Brady Stewart Studio Inc.  If you are interested in downloading an image or to purchase a print, please contact Brady Stewart Studio by phone (724.554.9813) or email bstewartphoto@aol.com.  The photographic images can be viewed at the following address;  http://bradystewartphoto.photoshelter.com/gallery/Pittsburgh-Area-Businesses-that-Are-Gone/G0000Lwd.yRmewhk/.

About bradystewartcollection
The Brady Stewart Collection of photographs, made by Brady Stewart, Brady Stewart Jr. and associates of Brady Stewart Studio Inc., consists of photographs taken in and around Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, Lake Erie, Lake Chautauqua, New York, Southwestern Ohio, Washington DC, Niagara Falls and Idaho. The historically significant collection spans most of the 20th century (1900-1990) and includes a wide array of Black &White, Sepia and Color photographs on Advertising & Products, Buildings and Churches, Children, Homesteading in Idaho, Manufacturing & Equipment, People & Lifestyle, Pittsburgh City Scenes, Sports and Transportation. The Brady Stewart Collection encompasses over 20,000 glass plates, prints and film negatives of all shapes and sizes. Today, Brady Stewart Studio is a fourth generation photography business. We are one of the longest operating family-owned commercial photography studios in the United States (1912-1991, 2008-). The Collection Images can be viewed at our hosted web site, www.bradystewartphoto.photoshelter.com

27 Responses to Pittsburgh History – Area Businesses that Are Gone

  1. Pingback: 2010 in review « Bradystewartcollection's Blog

  2. Miss Martha L. Bell says:

    I have an old “box” from my grandmother and it had John M. Roberts & Son with an address of 435-437 Market Street–I’ve had the necklace repaired and have been wearing it and was curious just how old it might be…also wondering if they could possibly still be in business. I was delighted to get a hit with their long history. My grandmother was married out west in 1914 or so and I imagine that the necklace was before that.

  3. I am researching family ties….Michelucci and Sodini family. South Hills & Mt. Washington.
    My family (great uncle) was part owner of Roma Bottling Company. My great grandfather once owned a confectionery/candy store in town, I believe on Stanwix Street. He also had a restaurant near the South Hills Junction in the 1940’s. I would love to know if you have any photos. I have a photo of my great grandfather in his store that i can send you or you can see it on my facebook page.
    Michelle Haeck

    • Michelle, do you know the approximate dates when your great grandfather ran his store on stanwix street? I will seach the available archives on Roma Bottling, Standwix Street and area around South Hills Junction.

      Michael Stewart

      • He arrived in US in 1910 and was 17 years old. He could have been in the store around 1910-1920. My grandmother always told me it was “his” store but maybe he just worked there. He also owned a restaurant near the South Hills Junction. One family member said this was in the early 1940’s and another family member thinks it was around 1952. Near Lelia Street in Mt. Washington.

        I have a picture of my great grandfather in his candy store. Can I email you a picture?
        Thank you:)

      • Michele, I will do my best to find something!

        Mike

      • Michele, at this writing, I have not been able to find any images and/or information on the Michelucci and Sodini families. I will let you know if find anything in the future… 2000+ files left to go through.

    • jack nieri says:

      Michelle–I am familiar with the Sodini family from the South Hills. Paul Sodini use to have a sports shop in Mt. Lebanon. Let me know if you are trying to tie into this family history and need information. Paul had two daughters so his lineage ended but he did have brothers.–Jack

      • Michelle Haeck says:

        Thanks Jack. My great grandfather was Foresto Michelucci. He and my great grandmother, Amelia had 3 children. Yolanda, Mafalda, and Robert. Mafalda was my grandmother. Yolanda married Ugo Sodini. They had 2 sons, Ugo (Ike) and Robert (Bobby). After moving from Mt. Washington, Ike and Bobby lived in Baldwin, I believe. They both shared ownership in Sodini Sports but the last location I knew of was on Streets Run Road in Baldwin. I have contact with their families still. Ike is deceased but I still see Bobby occasionally. So I am not sure who Paul Sodini is. Maybe he is a cousin?

  4. David says:

    Absolutely love this blog. We need to start documenting these lost and gone places of Pittsburgh’s past before memories fade and folks forget. Question? Does anyone remember the name of a restaurant from early and mid 20th century that was downtown and was reminiscent of a grotto with arched brick pillars and ceiling. May have been located on ground or basement floor of a no longer in existence hotel. Possibly had a Norwegian of Viking kind of theme in wall murals. Probably gone by mid sixties. Anyone?

    • David

      Thank you for the kinds words on the blog. I remember the place and have asked around but could not come up with the name. I will let you know if I come up with anything.

      Mike

      • David says:

        Thanks Mike. I continue my research and will use this forum to post anything I discover. BurghBoy.

  5. Mary says:

    What are some of the old candy stores that used to be in Pittsburgh? I can remember Dimling’s.

  6. Trish says:

    Any info on Doll’s Spaghetti House on East Ohio Street in the 1940’s ? Thank you Trish

  7. Jim Walsh says:

    I did not live in Pittsburgh for long, just 8 years (From Chicago, like Perry Marshall) but I recall a bread bakery at the corner of Main St and Liberty Ave in the Bloomfield Section of the city, would anyone here recall the name?

  8. Lee Groff says:

    re:Dimlings..It was owned by a family called Lichtenstein..They were the last owners before it shut down.Lee Groff(Duquesne University Grad 1950)

  9. cyndi says:

    does anyone rem the cork and bottle resturant on fifth ave? you had to go down a flight of steps to enter. best turkey devonshire.

  10. Joella Hultgren says:

    I remember a restaurant on the top floor of one of the towers at Gateway Center. I had been to this restaurant a few times in the mid-1960s. I don’t remember the name, but perhaps it was called something like: Top of the Towers. This is NOT the restaurant that was in the US Steel building. This was definitely at the point, near the fountain. I would love to have the name of this restaurant. None of my relatives currently in Pittsburgh (I live in Indiana) can remember the name of this restaurant at the top of one of the Gateway Center buildings. HELP!

  11. DJA says:

    Kelly and Cohen
    Bernstein and Mann

  12. I am trying to remember the name of the restaurant that had this “Godfather Room”. You could call ahead and reserve this special room.

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