The Pittsburgh Press from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on June 4, 1899 · Page 11
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The Pittsburgh Press from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania · Page 11

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 4, 1899
Page 11
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k-1 N m Sv..sS ft 1 i 1 SUNDAY MORNING. B ASIN alley Isn't very mucTi of a thoroughfare to look at Viewed from Washington street, aa It rung up the aide of the hill It does not appear inviting. After Ml Hi a visit to one or two of the tenement houses even lesa favorable impressions are liable to be formed. Sized up according to Its external appearance the alley la one of those squalid looking places, to be found In every large city, which no visitor would consider worth more than a passing glance. Uninteresting and unromantlo as the alley may appear It is Just the opposite. The material is there, for half SSf a dozen novels and any old kind of a kVS newspaper reporter could write a page about It If he only had the page and Cl the time and an artlat to draw Mus- tratlons for him who did not confls- cate six-sevenths of the space allotted Between 6 and 8 o'clock every morning a curious procession of women cornea trooping down Basin alley. At the corner of Washington street some of them turn to the left toward the court house, and over to the street cars and. railroad stations. Others branch oft in the opposite direction, and crossing the foot bridge over the Pennsylvania freight yard to Liberty avenue they make their way to the union station, or Allegheny or the Lawrencevllle or Bharpsburg districts. Each woman carries one or two heavy bundles. Borne have one on either arm 1 and another across their back-a load X . which many a strong man would stag-ger undor these warm days. Between ' and 8 o'olook every evening the woaen return to Baaln alley by ones and twos, weary, travel-strained and possibly very hungry. Their peddling packs may be lighter than they were In the morning, but it would be hard to convince any of the women, who have tramped many miles with them, of that . "Bur, it's a hard lolfe the poor cratures lead," said a sympathetlo Irish woman, who lives at the foot of the alley, to me last week. "They leave the alley early every morning and nlver get back until evening." "What do their husbands dot Don't v they go out and work, too?" ic-. DMl a oil. i ney siop si noma ana tf molnd the children. 01"ve seen a lot in the papers about this here new woman fad, but I never read anything that beats the kind we have in Basin alley." Thn she went on 'to give her Impressions of the new woman as manufactured by the funny man and' the caricaturist, and compared her with the real new woman from Arabia. "Some of the mln up there," she continued, nodding towards the Arabian quarter higher up the alley, "don't seem to nndersthand what a woman's duties are. The very Idea of sending their wives out lvery morning, winter and summer, to peddle jewelry for a living while they stay at home and do nothing. Ol'd like to give them a piece of my molnd and some day Ol'll do It. And what's more Oi'd like to catch my V Mike suggesting that I go out and do his work while he stays at home and looks after the children. If Oi was one av them women Ol'd strolke." j2 , At tne top of Basin alley there is v an old three-story brick building, j.. Time and alterations which have been s'l made from time to Lime have not suc ceeded In effacing 'the evidence that the building was originally Intended as a place of worship. Such in fact it really was forty or more years ago. The original name was the Basin Methodist church, and its congregation Included many of the be3t Methodist families in Pittsburg. Times changed for this church Just the same as they do for anything else. The wealthier members of the congre gation moved out to the more fash- I 7 lonable East End district and the church, which had become known, for some reason or other as the "Little Jim," continued its career of usefulness In a humbler sphere. Then there came a time when the supporters of the church were forced to admit that as a place for worship the '"Little Jim" had done about all the good it ever could. The congregation had dwindled away considerably, not through loss of faith, but a desire to . worship In a more congenial neighborhood. And so the church doors were closed. Later the building was sold to Robert Flinn, father of Senator William Flinn, who, by putting up a few partitions, blocking up the main entrance and knocking half a dozen smaller doorways in the front and sides, transformed the church Into a tenement house capable of accommodating six large families. Two of the family apartments fronted on the a.luy and two on either side. Since then the old church building has changed hands again. The six houses have been split up Into smaller divisions and it would be hard to tell Just how many people live In It now. "They're all Arabians," exclaimed one woman living across the ctreet, "and I really couldn't tell you how many families live there now. About 100 would be a pretty good guess, I think." It was daytime when the artist and I visited the church.' There were family . apartments in the basement, on the first, second and third floors and around at the back. In the vacant lot surrounding the building, which once had the dignity of being a pretty church yard, a few dozen Arabian children were playing around a pile of old bed springs, barrels and tomato cans. Inside the old church the men were taking life as easily as they knew how. The Arab of Basin alley is a somewhat different kind of an individual to the Arab as found in the picture book. The process of civilization is necessarily slow because he is too fond of old customs to adopt new ones In a hurry and the simple fact that circumstances do not permit him to pitch his tent in Basin alley or dash around town on a blooded steed does not Immediately serve to convince him that he ought to do work. Instead he togs himself up In American clothes, washing himself about as often as he would In the desert, and lets the women provide the wherewithal for the support of the family. One old resident of the alley, who seemed glad of an opportunity to tell somebody all she knew about the dlf-, ferent kinds of people who live down there, pointed out another bouse lower down the alley, in which she said about 20 Arabian families live. By an arrangement between the husbands and a man who Is recognised as chief the wives have to start out early each morning and peddle cheap Jewelry, handkerchiefs and ribbons. The chief supplies the stock and allows the women a small percentage on all sales. Some of them, my Informant said, make as much as $1 and $1.60 a day. Nobody ever beard the Arabian women complaining of their lot although In the opinion of the average American cltl-sen they should have Just cause for kicking. The homes of the Arabians In the alley remind one more of a secondhand furniture store than anything else. There Is little room to turn around, the floor space not devoted to the stove or a couple of lounges being occupied by boxes, chests and perhaps a chair or two. The more furniture there is In the house the more aristocratic the occupant feels. During the very warm weather a bed is the last place one of the Basin alley Arabians would think of sleeping in. It is even too warm inside doors for them, and so they sleep out on the pavement and on vacant ground ad-Joining the church. Frequent attempts have been made to break up this habit, but neither the police nor the property owners have succeeded In doing It yet Arthur Wynne. -rite . m n lifettift lJB N V'O ' y THE:ULD,CHURCH;IN"BA5IN' ALLEY CllftCTW g G. A. R. ANNUAL RALLY. Arnagrmesti for the July Assocla-tlon Meeting mt Rock Point. The Allegheny County Grand Army association is making every endeavor to score a great success at its encampment to be held at Rock Point, July 21 to 26. A meeting of the executive committee was held In the office of Thomas O Sample, In the Schmidt building, yesterday afternoon. All the Important business relating to the encampment was dinpoiw-d of. It was decided to give every post participating In the event an equal part of 90 per cent, of the net receipts. Small posts will receive aa much money as ths lares posts. The first tnree days of the encamnment will be general days. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the last thre days, the different districts of the county will each have a day set apart for thtn. All posts officially represented on these days will be entitled to a share of the net proceed. A rampflre will be held earn day, and speakers of national fame will address the people. For those who wish to dance music will be provided by the Grand Army band. Nothing Inside the srove will be charted for, except refreshments. This feature 111 be under the direction of the Ladies of the G. A. R. and the Worm n's Relief tx.rns. All money above a certain ner cent, will go to them, and will be turned over to the work of the homes at Hawkins and Brookville. The ladles' organizations are working energetically together and promise to provide everything necessary in the line of eatables at a moderate cost, and It will not be necessary to take baskets. The railroads have granted a low rate o THE PITTSBURG- PRESS. . ; I 1 JL jll ' 1 Jc A of fare from points In western Pennsvl- 11 jf Zfajf dffl I I J'J I S.l vania, eastern Ohio and West Virginia Jll 3C2rJlOm I "'! to Rock Point for the occasion. From f.SV V Thr YS&sJyV I I T?T -V? I'lttflburg and Allegheny the fare will be f ' fTAWff ! I I i'S . K cents for the round trip. The hlghert 5aM 7Mfffr,pJ I IK rate, $1 for the round trip, is from Bel- Jj .JfT fMffM(J f I ' threatenMher. I ' MBi .' I Tbe Official Foreraat Sent Oat From i Washington, Willis J. Moore, the chief weather official at Washington, In his forecast sent out late last night for to-day's weather was not so kind as In the forecast Issued yesterday morning. It was for "threatening weather, with showers on the lukes and probably fair to-morrow." There was a considerable range In the local temperature recorded yesterday. At 8 o'clock In the morning It was 62 degrees, at nron it had risen to 65, at 2 o'clock It Jumped to 75, at 5 o'clock It was at 78 and at H o'clock last night It had dropped only 8 degrees. The maximum temperature for the 24 hours was 1H; the minimum. 02. the mean. 65. There hues no rain. The President's Xew Seertary, Washington, June 3. The president today appointed Assistant Secretary O. B. Cortclyon as acting secretary to the president during the absence of J. AddUon Porter, who sailed for Europe to-d'-jy. This appointment gives strength to the current rumor that Mr. Porter will not return to the duties of his office, but will re-slpn on. the completion of his present vacation on account of his 111 health and the fear of a reassurance of the trouble that Incapacitated him for duty. JUNE 4. 1893. 13 4 1 .rjswas.

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