Thursday, December 30, 2010

Helen Dubinski, Expert Marcelling, Permanet Waving, and Haircutting

Brother Tom found this flyer in some of mom's archives. I find the item curious, what with Helen's last name being spelt differently from the way mom taught us chillins. It could simply be a case of the typesetter spelling the name phonetically. I do know that Helen's uncle Daniel used the Dubinski spelling instead of the Dziubinski version.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Clara Gruetzmacher Lang, Real Estate Investor

I just found an interesting bit of information about Clara Gruetzmacher (1857-1930s), daughter of Louis and Matilda. She married Henry Lang in 1876, but he died fairly young. They were living in Indianola during the 1880 census. She eventually moved to California, remarried there and died there sometime in the 1930s.

It seems that after the Great Fire of 1877, she constructed what became known as the Clara Lang Building, at 2109 Strand. This building was designed by the architect, John Moser, to be four stories tall and made from pressed brick and artificial stone trim. The building is clad in one of the legendary cast-iron storefronts that Galveston is famous for. The 1900 Storm destroyed the upper floors, which were removed, leaving the building as a two story building, still standing.

As mentioned in an earlier post, the address of 2109 Strand was also the home of Ritter's Restaurant and Saloon, and on the 2nd floor, the printing offices of Clara's older brother Paul Gruetzmacher (1852-1905).

William Ritter, the owner of the saloon, lived at 1814 21st St., which was adjacent to the home of Mattie Gruetzmacher Hubner (1859-1949), Clara and Paul's little sister. This can only suggest that the Gruetzmacher and Ritter families were close friends. Certainly, the German community in Galveston was a close-knit group, but perhaps this relationship was even closer.

Perhaps these families were related. I haven't any proof of that. Ritter's wife is only known to me at this time by her first name, Margaret. In the 1900 census, his wife was named Elizabeth, which may be the same woman as Margaret, or perhaps a second wife. This Elizabeth drowned in the 1900 Storm, and Ritter married again (for the 2nd or 3rd time) in 1902. Perhaps Ritter's wife Margaret (or Elizabeth) was a Gruetzmacher. Much more research will need to be done.

 It is still unknown to me at this time how long Clara Gruetzmacher Lang owned her building. Some references suggest other buildings owned by her. I will eventually check the early Galveston deed records for additional facts about her investments.