Around the turn of the 20th century, the people of Plum Street spoke German, Gaelic, Greek, and Russian inside its tenements and factories. We don’t know what language the couple in this undated photo used to call their pigs and geese into the courtyard, but we know a lot about their downtown block, situated near the river. Roofer Patsy Ford, who lived at 212 Plum, fought the health department to be declared living after a corpse floating in the Mississippi was misidentified as him. Effie Winns, who lived at the same address, devised a daring rescue to retrieve her stolen dog, Lovey, by creeping through the thief’s window late at night; however, on trying to jump out the window, she discovered that the dog was chained to the man’s wrist, and the caper did not end well. A bolt of lightning once set a flour mill ablaze, destroying or damaging everything nearby: a crude oil mill, a sewing-machine factory, “two houses of ill repute,” frame cottages… And on the second-story landing of a tenement at Second and Plum, a priest called Father Emmanuel preached in Aramaic, the language that many historians believe Jesus spoke.
Article originally posted by STLMag