Tag Archives: Le Meridien

About that YMCA…

2 Jan

As you may recall, I was looking at addresses on census records some time ago and found that my great-great-grandmother was on the 1930 US Census, living alone (well, not really, but without any family around that I can find), at 1421 Arch Street in Philadelphia. And, as reported, that is currently the Le Meridien Hotel and I emailed them to get little history of the building.

Screen shot 2012-12-27 at 9.27.19 AMScreen shot 2012-12-27 at 9.31.59 AM

And, as previously reported, the Le Meridien actually started as a YMCA and was eventually renovated into the nice hotel it is now…

So, my questions:

1. Was this building a YMCA or something else in 1930?

2. Was Marie staying there permanently or just visiting Philadelphia and staying there like it was a hotel (was that even possible?)?

To find these answers, I started by emailing the Le Meridien directly to see if they had any answers. I was delighted with the response.

Here is my original email:

Hello,

I am conducting some family history research and found that in 1930, my great-great-grandmother, who had been divorced years earlier, was listed as a “lodger” at 1421 Arch Street in Philadelphia. There were more than 50 people listed as lodgers at the same address.

Is this the same building as the Le Meridien? Was it a YMCA back in 1930? I am just hoping to get a little history on the building so that I can more easily picture my g-g-grandmother’s circumstances.

Thanks!

Brian

And here is the response, a few days later, from Adi:

Mr. Mickelson:

I am happy to confirm that you are correct in concluding that our building was originally opened as the Central YMCA in 1912 and continued service in this role until 1972 when it was taken over by the District Attorney’s office. We began renovating the building in 2005 and opened as a hotel in 2010. We do not have a large amount of information related to the YMCA years as most of that was removed when the DA’s office was here but I can share that our building was part of a two building complex that included what is now the Metropolitan apartment building; it is hard to know if your grandmother stayed here or there or perhaps during her time stayed at both.

You may potentially find information related to life at the Central YMCA through there archive at the University of Minnesota Library. https://www.lib.umn.edu/ymca

Enjoy the journey of discovering you Grandmothers life and please let me know if I can assist further.

Adi.

First off, how great of the hotel to have employees that are so helpful! Wonderful!

Here is what I picked up from the email:

1. Yes, in 1930, this building was the YMCA, so that is where g-g-grandma was staying.

2. I can find more info at the Univ. of Minn library (which I’ll check out when I get a second).

3. Maybe the DA’s office can help, but I doubt I’ll bug them. They are solving cold cases and stuff…

4. Maybe I’ll go stay at the Le Meridien because they were so helpful.

What I still don’t know:

1. Was Marie staying there permanently? Or just visiting?

2. Had she ever heard “YMCA” by the Village People?

More to come!

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Addresses on the Census Record…

24 Dec

I wish you could look up US Census records by address. Maybe you can, I don’t know. I’m going to go look it up on Google.

Ok, nope. I don’t think you can.

Here’s why I care…

At some point, William Ziesel purchased a home at 1639 Franklin Street in Philadelphia. He must have purchased the home sometime before 1900, because he is listed as living at that address in the 1900 US Census. Here’s what it looks like on the actual record:

Screen shot 2012-12-24 at 9.01.53 AM

 

William’s name is underlined in blue. The street is underlined in green. The address is underlined in red. Not every census has this, and you can’t always read them. But in many cases the person doing the the census wrote the street they were working on along the right hand side of the census document. You ought to know that these addresses aren’t indexed, meaning, you’ll have to look at the actual record to see the address written along the side of the record.

He is listed at that address in a couple census records.

In the 1920 book, “Who’s Who in Philadelphia in Wartime”, William is listed, and it lists his home and dental office as 1639 N. Franklin Street.

By 1930, the census shows William and his new wife, Mary Kniveton Ziesel living at 1626 Spruce Street in Philadelphia. So, I’m guessing he moved (maybe that’s obvious). His ex-wife Marie Elizabeth is listed as living at 1421 Arch Street in Philadelphia. She is listed as having no children (they’ve all grown up and moved out) and is listed as a “Lodger” along with over 50 other lodgers. The address for Marie Elizabeth is listed along the left-hand-side just like the other census records.

I went to Google Maps and found 1421 Arch Street. It is currently the Le Meridien Hotel. It looks old (if you use the “street view” of Google Maps) so I’m guessing it is the same building. I found the website for Le Meridien and just emailed them to get a little history of the building. I did google it and found that the building started as a YMCA, so maybe my ancestor was living at the YMCA for awhile. Here is what the building looks like now:

Screen shot 2012-12-24 at 9.58.25 AM

 

Ya, it looks nice now. Pretty posh. Rooms run about $150 a night. But I doubt the YMCA was like that. If this is all true, that tells me a little about her life. At one point she was a dentist’s wife with multiple properties, and by 1930 she is living alone at a YMCA. This info helps me gain a little better understanding of her circumstances.