Jun 2, 2014

J. Molovinsky, Part 3, Wenz Company

This past weekend there was an auction at the former Wenz Company monument factory in the 1900 block of Hamilton Street. This facility has played several parts in Allentown's history, besides having produced thousands of tombstones. Enormous blocks of granite still remain from when it was the last stop on the Quarry Barber railroad branch line. Sculptures remain from the Phil Berman era, when artists used the Wenz equipment for monumental art. lastly, there are hundreds and hundreds of old tombstones, which were replaced over the decades, in local cemeteries with replacement markers. As mentioned in Part 1 of this post series, part of an old tombstone led me to discover my great grandmother's grave on Fountain Hill. That sculpture was made at Wenz, and Jennie Molovinsky's original stone also lies at Wenz's.

My grandfather came to Allentown as a young man in 1893. After working and saving for a number of years, he brought his parents over from the Old Country. The former synagogue on 2nd. Street had just acquired their cemetery off Fullerton Avenue when his mother died. Jewish tradition dictated that a man was the first burial in a new cemetery, so she was buried in an old Jewish Cemetery, on Fountain Hill. Several years later her husband, my great grandfather, was killed while being robbed on Basin Street. He is buried on Fullerton Avenue.

1 comment:

Chris Casey said...

Mike- my problem with the Berman's is they estimated every piece of so called "art" that they gave the city at $250,000, when most of it was crap that wasn't worth a dollar.
Berman art is crap and not worth what they wrote it off as. Many would agree that what they categorized as art was a joke. A piece of concrete with what resembles a screw thru it is not art. Educated residents realize that!