North End Jewish Community
North End and Downtown Jewish Communities, late 19th century
As more Jews immigrated from Eastern Europe , the community grew by leaps and bounds. Many Jewish families found their way as far north as Coggeshall Street , then the main thoroughfare in the North End. The North End is considered that part of town north of Union Street . It was populated by immigrant families attracted to opportunities for jobs in the textile mills or in services that supported the population. Wamsutta Mills complex stretched north along the Acushnet River.
The area around Kenyon Street and Coggeshall Street was home to the North end Jewish community who lived with the Portuguese, Polish, and the French in 3-tenement houses who worked in the neighboring mills.Many Jews operated businesses in the area, and there several kosher stores. Some of these families and businesses in the North end part of the city were Eisenberg’s Dry Goods store, Abe Portnoy’s dental office on Nash Road, Mechaber’s, Portnoy’s store at Belleville and Coggeshall Streets, Braudy Insurance on Weld Square, and a second Kaplan Brothers Furniture Store at 1182 Acushnet Avenue. Prominent families living here were the Mechabers, Portnoys, Abeshaus, and the Rosen families.Later, an enclave of Greek Jews moved further north represented by the Samuels, Jacobs, and the Modiano families.
Mrs.Mechaber in front of the family's stores
If you drive North from downtown, you would reach this area by driving along Purchase Street past the Glaser Glass building; several blocks Northward you will find these buildings.
Cultural life was very important to the Jews who contributed to the development of the material growth of New Bedford . The Capitol theatre was in the North End. Downtown, Jews owned the Olympia Building where the Olympia theatre is, the Empire and State Theatres and the Bristol building.
If you drive down Union Street toward the Waterfront, you will see some of these buildings or lots where they had been.
Jewish business that stood along here include Gerstein’s Fruit Market, Stuart’s (corner of Union and Pleasant), Harry Bloomingdale’s Surprise Clothing at 962 Purchase Street, Krantzler’s Antiques, Wainer’s first Fruit Market (Union & Water Streets, where the YMCA is now located), Simon’s Supply Company, and the Horvitz Whaling Outfitters, in a building with the Kadima Club on the third floor.
Wamsutta Mills, North End