Jun 16, 2021

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.

reprinted from June of 2014

1 comment:

  1. I spent some time at Wenz’s. My Dad was a partner of Phil Berman. We moved many sculptures all over the country when I later worked for my Dad. I had a few tours of the facility, and witnessed the process of creating the sculptures of various artists. My Jewish experience didn’t occur until my parents moved to Allentown in 1951. No relatives buried in town. But did some research for Keneseth Israel’s 90th and became aware of the various burials from back then.