Monday, May 14, 2012

The Levine Furniture Company

This week's post will feature more information on The Levine Furniture Company that was mention last week. What sparked my curiosity about the company was this, once again found in the sidewalk of a doorway on Main Street, in Over-the-Rhine:
Source - Digging Cincinnati History
As stated last week, The Levine Furniture Company first shows up at 1138 Main Street in 1925, but this was not their first location. The company was incorporated in 1919 and the store was located at 921 Central Avenue from this time until 1925.
921 Central Avenue near the corner of Central and Court Street, now the location of the Uptown Towers
The Levine Furniture Company was founded by Moses Levine and Julius Okrent. Moses was born in 1879 in present-day Lithuania. He emigrated to the United States in 1899, leaving his wife and two sons in the old country. By 1901, the family was reunited and continued to flourish, having three more sons and a daughter, who unfortunately, died within 2 months of her birth.

The Levines were part of a mass exodus of Jews. Almost 20% of the population emigrated from Lithuania from 1868 to 1914, during the Russian occupation of their country. Even more atrocities occurred during World War II, when most Jews were executed as part of the Holocaust.

When Moses first arrived in Cincinnati, he is listed as a peddler in the city directories. After the start of the furniture business, he becomes a successful businessman and eventually his sons, David, Sol, Abe, Harry and Samuel, also work for the family business. By 1940, Moses has handed off his business entirely to his sons and he died in 1942, living in Avondale at 3456 Rosedale Avenue, which is present-day Harvey Avenue.
3456 Harvey Avenue
David Levine left the family business by 1942 to start his own furniture store, but brothers Harry and Samuel were still running the business at 1138-46 Main Street. I could not find out when exactly the store closes, as my internet resources run out about this time frame.
1142-1146 Main St - 2005 Hamilton County Auditor
Since Levine's closed, the space has undergone a few name changes. In the photo above, it was then the Rhythm & Blues Cafe. Most recently, the location was called "CUE". Following are some photos over the years of the buildings from 1138 to 1146 Main.
1142-1146 Main St - 1999-2003 Hamilton County Auditor
1138-1140 Main St - Source
1138-1140 Main St - Source
1138-1140 Main St - Source
Source - Digging Cincinnati History

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