Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sentimental Sunday: Guokas Siblings, circa 1942

This picture is of most of the surviving full siblings of my maternal grandfather Charles Peter Guokas Jr. (1903-1967), taken around late 1942 in Houston, Texas. Youngest brother Roy Lee Guokas (1917-1959) is at the far left. He enlisted as a private in the Army Air Corps on September 28, 1942, and was sent to Australia to work in supplies, so this was probably taken before he shipped out.

The others in the photo, moving to the right from Roy, are Philip Edgar Sayers Sr. (1901-1972), next to his wife Elizabeth "Lizzie" Wanda Guokas Johnson Sayers (1901-1980).  Next to her are my grandparents, Charles Guokas Jr. and Sara Melzina Wolfe Guokas Archibald (1908-1997).  The next woman is Roy's wife at the time, Maxine LaVerne Hooks Guokas Huett DeMarco (1919-2012), followed by Eva Louise Guokas Scott (1907-1979) and her husband, Otis Henry Scott (1901-1990).

The photograph was taken at Lizzie and Philip's home at 810 Avenue of Oaks in Houston.  Sister Agnes "Aggie" Verna Guokas Payne (1905-1974) and her husband Milton Clyde "Jack" Payne (1904-1991) are not in the picture, even though they were still living in Houston at the time.

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Those Places Thursday: Lichtenstein's, Corpus Christi, Texas

Postcard showing Lichtenstein's as it looked after moving to its new home in December 1941.

Sign etched into marble on the side of the abandoned Lichtenstein's store site in downtown Corpus Christi.  The bolt holes were probably from another sign covering it that said Frost Bros., which operated there from 1977 until closing.
Lichtenstein's as it looked in May 2006
Lichtenstein's department store was originally opened in a rented wood-frame building at Chaparral and Peoples in Corpus Christi in 1874 by founder Moritz Lichtenstein, a German immigrant who arrived in Texas in 1857.  By 1890, the store had outgrown this site and moved into the Uehlinger building (now gone), in the 500 block of Chaparral.  In 1911, the store moved into a new three-story brick building on Chaparral at Schatzel, with the city's first elevators and one of the first with a sprinkler system.  This building survived the 1919 hurricane, but no longer stands today.

In 1903, Moritz formed a partnership with his two sons, Selig Julius and Abraham Albert Sr., and the store was renamed M. Lichtenstein & Sons. The founder died in 1904; Julius and Albert managed the store until their deaths in 1923 and 1929 respectively.  Albert's son Morris L. bought out heirs in 1932; and persuaded younger brother Albert Jr. (husband of my relative Annie Carol Wolfe) to join the company as vice-president  Later, during World War II, their first cousin Morris Spitz Lichtenstein (son of their uncle Emil) joined the company as secretary-treasurer.

In 1941, the store moved into the building pictured, a brand new facility at Chaparral and Lawrence, one block south of the existing store.  The postcard pictured at the beginning of this post described it as "a striking example of modern store planning.  Its 80,000 square feet of area is designed to afford many unique customer services and make every-day shopping a thrilling experience." A tea room opened on the fourth floor of this building in 1942 and was a popular place for lunch.  No doubt our relatives shopped or ate here (or, in the case of some, helped run the place).  Even former employees have fond memories.

The store was sold in 1972 and the name was changed to Frost Bros. in 1977, but it closed a decade later.  I do remember going to this store when I lived in Corpus Christi in the early 1980s.  The building has sat vacant since then, with a number of proposals for redevelopment falling through.  Now, despite art projects, its deterioration has gone beyond peeling paint to crumbling walls and rusting rebar.  The main building is currently in a shell condition, having the interior walls, asbestos abatement and the removal of hazardous materials completed in 2007.  The tax value of the building has gone down while the land value has gone up, and the building is now slated for demolition.

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Travel Tuesday: 1930s Corpus Christi Postcards

Given that family members from both my and my husband's families were living in Corpus Christi in the late 1930s,  I thought it would be fun to post some vintage postcards from my collection from that location and era.
Greetings from Corpus Christi Texas - Genuine Curteich-Chicago "C. T. Art-Colortone" Post Card - 9AHi688 (1939)
Artesian Park, Corpus Christi, Texas - Genuine Curteich-Chicago "C. T. Art-Colortone" Post Card -5A-H2218 (1935)
Breakwater Walk, Corpus Christi, Texas -
Curteich-Chicago "C. T. Art-Colortone" Post Card -7A-H1197 (1937)
"Silver King" or Tarpon, Caught at Corpus Christi, Texas - 
Genuine Curteich-Chicago "C. T. Art-Colortone" Post Card -5A-H2220 (1935)

All of these postcards were manufactured by the Curt Teich Company of Chicago, Illinois, on linen cardstock (which gives them the lovely grain).  The Curt Teich Archives has posted a guide to dating their cards, which is actually rather easy given that the company used a very specific numbering system from 1922 on.

I picked up all of these postcards at antiques stores in my town's courthouse square, just half a mile from my home.  All were in mint condition with no writing on the back.  The postcard at the very top looks like "Corpus Christi Texas" was handwritten in.  The pictures look rather generic, like they'd be appropriate for any Gulf Coast town - Galveston, Tampa, etc.  :)

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sentimental Sunday: Kin to a Corpus Christi Mayor!

A. Albert & Annie Wolfe Lichtenstein, 1939
Annie Carol Wolfe Lichtenstein (1911-2002), is the daughter of Abram Cecil Wolfe (1883-1952), my mother's great uncle and younger brother of my great-grandfather, Louis Henry Wolfe (1872-1929).  Annie is a first cousin to my grandmother, Sara Melzina Wolfe Guokas Archibald (1908-1997).

Annie was born in Nueces County, Texas, and grew up in Corpus Christi.  She married Abraham Albert Lichtenstein Jr. also of Corpus Christi, in August 1939. "A. Albert" was vice-president of M. Lichtenstein and Sons, the department store established by his grandfather, Moritz Lichtenstein (1835-1904), in 1874.  His older brother Morris L. Lichtenstein (1901-1970) was president.  More about the store in a future post.

From 1940 to at least 1944, Albert and Annie were living at 810 S. Carancahua,  This home was still standing when I last visited Corpus Christi in May 2006.  It was easy to find, because of the stone pictured at left, on the walkway next to the street.

By 1946, the family was living at 235 Louisiana, which was their home through at least 1960.  Albert ran for mayor in 1953.  According to a February 3, 1999 article by Murphy Givens in the Corpus Christi Caller Times,
After announcing his candidacy, he and his wife {Annie] departed for a 60-day Mediterranean cruise. Despite the fact that he did not campaign, he won the election as part of what was called the Better Government Party. But he did not finish his term.
    Albert was a fierce supporter of a toll tunnel under the ship channel to relieve the traffic bottleneck caused by the bascule bridge. When the City Council on March 24, 1954, voted to go for a high bridge instead -- mainly because the state highway department would pay for it -- Albert Lichtenstein stood up and resigned. He left his seat at the council table and took a seat in the audience.

I discovered another interesting connection I have with Mayor Lichtenstein.  My favorite park and pool in Corpus Christi, Collier, were, according to another Caller Times article by Murphy Givens (March 25, 2009), "named for W.B. Collier, Corpus Christi's city manager from 1949 to 1953. Collier resigned when Albert Lichtenstein was elected mayor, saying he wouldn't serve as city manager with Lichtenstein as mayor 'for all the tea in China.' He [Collier] died of a heart attack two years later."

In August 2006, the house at 810 S. Carancahua was moved half a mile to a new location at 715 Ayers, where it is now used as a law office.  The 38-foot-tall two-story house, with walls made of 3-inch stucco, weighed 128 tons and took quite a bit of effort to move from its position on Corpus Christi's bluff area.  The block on Carancahua where it was located was part of two blocks being cleared for development of the Bluff Apartments - although nothing has been built yet on this house's former site.  Albert's nephew Morris L. Lichtenstein Jr. (1932-1995) had acquired the land on the two blocks over a 40 year period.

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

(Not-So-) Wordless Wednesday: Elizabeth (Elžbieta Benevičiūtė) Banevich Guokas, circa 1900-1910

This is my maternal great-grandmother, Elizabeth (Elžbieta Benevičiūtė) Banevich Guokas (1875-1929).  We're not sure exactly when the photograph was taken, but the photographer information at the bottom provides some clues.  According to Catching Shadows: A Directory of 19th-Century Texas Photographers by David Haynes (page 49),  Harper & Co. was at 507 and 1/2 Main  in 1899-1901.  Further research in Houston city directories online at the Houston Area Digital Archives indicates the company was still at this address through 1917, and then moved to 407 and 1/2 Travis from 1918 through 1922.  The company does not appear in the 1923-24 city directory.  As my great-grandmother looks rather young in this photograph, I think it was taken sometime between 1900 and 1910.

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Surname Saturday: DIENES, through Documents

Lately I've been trying to track where my paternal great-great-grandparents, Frederick (1828-1896) and Regina Matheis (1837-1916), lived in Springfield and Chicago, Illinois.  Through a variety of documents, particularly city directories, I've been able to find one or the other or both for many years between 1860 and 1900.

As discussed in an earlier post, Regina was on the 1860 U.S. Census (taken in July), working as a cook at the Springfield home of the widow of Illinois Governor William Henry Bissell, who died in office in March.  We'd been wondering if she worked for the family while they were in the Governor's Mansion.  Sure enough - I found this in an 1860 Springfield city directory:
Despite the misspellings, I know this is my Regina, as explained in the referenced post.

Fred shows up in the 1863 (below) and 1864 Springfield directories:

 By the 1866 Springfield directory (and 1868 and 1869), Fred is no longer working for J. H. Adams and is out on his own:

On page 83 in the 1871 History of Springfield, Illinois, its attractions as a home and advantage for business, manufacturing, etc. Published under the auspices of the Springfield Board of Trade, as well as Wiggins' City Directory of Springfield, Illinois 1872-73, Fred's a direct competitor with his former boss (at right):

However, on March 25, 1874, the following appeared in the Illinois State Journal, published in Springfield:

 Apparently the bankruptcy did not last long.  According to the Illinois legislative manual for 30th General Assembly : 1877 and 1878, page 30:

Nevertheless, the family has moved to Chicago by 1880.  Interestingly, 1882 (pictured), 1885, and 1891 city directories imply that the hat store is in Regina's name (Sedgwick is just a couple blocks away):
Fred registers to vote in 1888 - his registration reiterates that he's been in Illinois since 1854, and that he moved to Chicago in 1878.  It also shows that he was naturalized in Springfield in 1856:

 Tragedy strikes the family in its early Chicago years.  Son Joseph is stillborn in May 1880, daughter Amelia dies in October 1885 at age 18, and son Henry dies in April 1891 at age 19, of typhoid dysentery:
By 1896, when Fred Sr. dies, the family has moved away from Division Street to nearby 476 N. Wells, and apparently no longer operates a hat store (Regina is mistakenly misspelled Virginia):

Regina is at this 476 N. Wells address through at least 1901.  By 1910, she's moved out of the neighborhood, and is living at 1425 Otto Street (today's Henderson Street).  At her death in 1916, she is living with daughter and son-in-law Frederick Henry and Elizabeth Camilla Dienes Massmann (my great-grandparents) at 1927 Morse.

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wedding Wednesday: My Guokas Great-Grandparents, 1900

This photo of my great-grandparents, Charles (Kazimieras) Guokas Sr. (1863-1939), and his second wife, Elizabeth (Elžbieta Benevičiūtė) Banevich (1875-1929).  It was probably taken sometime between getting their license on January 19, 1900, in the Harris County Clerk's office in Houston, Texas, and their wedding day, January 21, 1900, the ceremony taking place at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Bremond, Texas.  Notice that Charles is wearing a boutonniere and Elizabeth has a corsage on her light (white?) dress.

The photograph was taken by an Anderson, who had a studio at the time at 403 and 1/2 Main Street in Houston.  Consulting Catching Shadows: A Directory of 19th-Century Texas Photographers by David Haynes (page 3), Samuel Anderson is listed as having a studio at this address in Houston city directories from 1892 through 1901.  (The 1902-03 Houston city directory in the Houston Area Digital Archives also has a listing for him at this address).

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sentimental Sunday: Guokas Grandchildren, 1937

The photo above is of most of the grandchildren of my great-grandfather, Charles (Kazimieras) Guokas Sr. (1863-1939), and his second wife, Elizabeth (Elžbieta Benevičiūtė) Banevich (1875-1929).  It was taken in 1937, because the baby in the picture was born that year.

In the back row are Ralph Sanford Johnson (1922–1997) and Jesse Wayne ("J.W.")  Johnson Jr. (1920–2005), the children of Elizabeth Wanda Guokas (1901-1980) by her first husband, Jesse Wayne Johnson (1900-1929).  They also had another son, Kenneth Marvin Johnson (1926-1930).

In the middle row, Otis Henry Scott Jr. (1925-2011), son of Eva L. Guokas (1907-1979) and Otis Henry Scott Sr. (1901–1990), holds Laura Lee Payne (born April 1937), daughter of Agnes Verna Guokas (1905-1974) and Milton Clyde "Jack" Payne (1904–1991).

Next to Otis are my uncle, Charles Peter Guokas III (1927-1999), and my mother, Geraldine Margaret Guokas (born 1928).  In front of my mother is my aunt, Jo Ann (Sister Jean Marie) Guokas (born 1930).  They are the children of my grandfather Charles Peter Guokas Jr. (1903-1967) and my grandmother Sara Melzina Wolfe Guokas Archibald (1907-1997).

In the front row are Elizabeth Wanda Guokas' children by her second husband, Philip Edgar Sayers Sr. (1901–1972).  They are Thomas Green Sayers (1930–1991), and Philip Edgar Sayers Jr. (born 1932).

The only grandchild not in the picture is Gloria Guokas, daughter of youngest son Roy Lee Guokas (1917-1959) and Fay Lois Florence, as she was not born until 1941.

My mother tells me the photo was taken at a family gathering when kin from Chicago, Illinois, were visiting in Houston, Texas.  That visitor was probably Leo Radauskas (1895-1973), the son of Charles Guokas Sr.'s older sister Agota (born 1861).  Agota and her husband Ignatius (Ignota) Radauskas stayed in Lithuania, but son Leo and daughter Anastasia "Stella" (Anastazija) Radauskas Polianski (1892–1978) emigrated to the United States (Stella settled in the Baltimore, Maryland area).

At left is a photo of my great-grandfather, Charles Guokas Sr., that was taken the same day as the other photograph, so he would have been 74 when this picture was taken.

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Wordless Wednesday (early): Happy 50th to My Brother Brian!

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Help Break a Record!

logo created by Valerie Craft
Tomorrow, July 2 (or later today, depending on your time zone), FamilySearch Indexing is hoping to break a record with 5 million names or records indexed or arbitrated, in any of their projects. The current record is 4.9 million names, set on April 30, so I think this is possible. Given that the two states I most need from the 1940 US Census (Texas and Illinois) are still not completely indexed and searchable, I've decided to participate in this project.  You can too!

This 24-hour project actually starts at starts at 00:00 Coordinated Universal Time/Greenwich Mean Time (UTC/GMT) on July 2, so that means 7 PM here in Texas (Central Daylight Time) today, July 1..  That would be 5 PM for my friends and readers in Pacific Daylight Time, and 8 PM for those of you in Eastern Daylight Time.  Check the Facebook page for your local start time and more information about the project.

I'm going to try downloading 10 batches (the maximum) and working on them throughout the day today (when I need a break from housework), and then submit them sometime later this evening, since I won't be able to work on this project much tomorrow. 

If you haven't already, you can sign up here to be an indexer with FamilySearch.  You can also get the latest news and tips on indexing by following the FamilySearch Indexing topics on the FamilySearch blog.

Edited to add, 3 July 2012:   We did it!  We DOUBLED the goal!  Over 10 million records indexed or arbitrated in a 24 hour period yesterday, by over 46,000 people around the world.

I did ten 1940 US Census batches from Illinois, and have since worked on another five batches from Texas.  The indexing of Texas is now up to 64% complete, and Illinois is at 52%, according to today's map.

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.