Glen Elk

Glen Elk Memories and Great Stories

submitted by: Jim Caputo (BHS 59, Towers Grade 1 through 5)

NOTE from Diana Shablack Sandy: I am submitting this letter & pictures about growing up in Glen Elk for my cousin, Jim Caputo.

Glen Elk, what a wonderful place to grow up in the late 40's and early 50's. It was so alive with excitement, love, joy and one of the safest place for a kid to grow up because many of the residents of Glen Elk were relatives or close friends of our families who would not hesitate to correct you if you even thought of misbehaving. They also made sure we looked after and no harm came to us. 

We also knew the policeman walking the streets (beats) and they knew us. The B&O railroad passenger terminal was located in Glen Elk. The men in uniform would pass through going to or coming home from the wars. Some of them stopped to have a great Italian meal. I know that at least two of the restaurants, served gigantic portions, with all the coffee you could drink and unlimited supply of Tomaro's Bread. They were Jimmie's restaurant owned by my father and uncle located on the right side of 4th street when you were facing the B&O. The other was the Royal Cafe just across the street, owned by my Grandparents latter by my uncles. 

Some of the servicemen would be feeling surly and wanted more than good food. This also could be had in Glen Elk.

Here's a picture in front of Jimmie's - my dad Tony Caputo holding my cousin Donnie, my mom Vickie with her hand on my shoulder and my aunt Louise holding my cousin Linda's hands.

There were at least two pool rooms one owned by my uncle at the corner of 4th and 6th. He served a great hot dog and would always gave me a Grapette soda. There was always someone shooting pool or reading the ticker tape of the latest scores of the day. There seemed to be an ongoing pinochle game in the back room. 

The young boys and some time girls would play football on the lawn of The B&O, ( located between the passenger and freight terminals). This was the only flat, grassy area in Glen Elk. The games would last until the B&O "bulls" (rail road police) would run us off. 

The summers were great. We had the play ground located under the 4th street bridge, there was a play ground teacher who taught games, crafts and broke up squabbles when they occasionally broke out. There were movies shown, I think Saturday night, and were projected on the side of a building. We played soft ball with a taped up ball, the bats were occasionally nailed and taped. Teams were chosen based on who was there. Every one played that wanted to. The few gloves, which were well worn, were shared.

In the early evening, we would play games: kick the can, blind man's bluff, king of the mountain, dodge ball and a few other that I cannot remember the names of. The worst thing that happened when playing hide and seek they may not find you or forget you were playing. 

We built club a house out of piano crates, we roasted potatoes, occasional hot dog and marshmallows in the Shingleton Bros parking lot.
Some of us earned spending money by selling cardboard boxes at three cents apiece to Shingleton Bros Wholesale. We also collected junk metal and took it to the junk yard where they would weigh it and give a penny or two a pound. It may have been more but then again it was a long time ago. We also collected coke and soda bottles and received a refund from Pasherie grocery store (not sure of the spelling) 

Shingleton Brothers was a great source of revenue for some of us. Trains would deliver bananas on stalks and when the bananas were unloaded by hand a couple of them would fall off the stock. The worker would let us have them and we would allow them to ripen at which time we would sell them door to door in Glen Elk.

The guys would make carts to ride in from parts scavenged at the junk yard. Most of the time we did not have brakes and would wear out a lot of shoe leather trying to stop. We also made sling shots, and what we called rubber guns which were made with wood pieces from orange crates and rubber bands cut from worn out inner tubes.

Occasionally on a hot summer day my uncle B O would take a washtub and fill it up with sodas and a block of ice, place it in the back of his truck and load the truck with the kids of Glen Elk and take us swimming at one of the lakes nearby. He also made sure there was enough to eat. Just think about a load of kids singing, having fun riding in the back of a pickup truck. This one had side rails so none of us ever fell out.

This was the wrong side of the bridge to some but it was home to me. Those of us who grew up in Glen Elk were taught respect, hard work, discipline and love and knew we were loved. We were encouraged to do well in school and to seek a better life than our parents had, many of whom were first and second generation Americans. They worked hard to make a good life for themselves and a better one for their children.

Many who were raised in Glen Elk "the wrong side of bridge" went on to become leaders in the community, working in the Medical field as Doctors, Nurses, Medical Techs, Physical Therapists, Business leaders, Lawyers, Teachers, Politicians, Government Workers, and have served in the Military with distinction.

You can take the kid out of Glen Elk but you cannot take Glen Elk out of the kid.

NOTE from Diana: P.S. Although, my cousin Jim didn't mention it himself, I'd like to add that he became a Physical Therapist with a thriving practice in the Winston-Salem, NC area.

submitted by: Diana Shablack Sandy (WI '69)

Although I didn't grow up in Glen Elk several of my relatives did & I do remember some things about my uncle's businesses that were over there. First was the Royal Cafe Restaurant which was originally owned by my Grandfather but was later taken over by my Uncle Bianco Oliverio - who always was known as B. O. The best time of year was at the end of summer when the peppers were ready to be canned. My Uncle B O had a great canning operation set up in the basement of the Royal Cafe & at one time or the other all of our relatives lent a hand to get the peppers ready for canning. His peppers were the original Clarksburg canned jar peppers & the best that ever were. People nowadays are familiar with the Oliverio Peppers that are sold in the stores around C-burg & surrounding areas but those Oliverio's are not my family's Oliverio peppers. My Uncle B O passed away in 1971 so we will never know if he would have taken his scrumptious peppers commercial or not. Another thing I remember about the Royal Cafe was the great meatball sandwiches they served on round Italian bread buns. They were the best!

My mom, her parents & her brothers & sisters all lived on the upper floors of the building & all worked in the restaurant at one time or other during their lives.

Below is a picture of the Royal Cafe with 3 girls posing out front. I believe the shorter woman on the far right is my mom - but the picture isn't clear enough for me to make out for sure who exactly is in the picture.

I had two other Uncles who ran second hand furniture stores in Glen Elk. My Uncle Mario Oliverio - who was also known as Mutt - ran the "Bargain Shop" just a few doors north of the end of the 4th Street bridge & my Uncle Paul Oliverio had his store "Ollie's Trading Post" just a few doors up from Mutt's business. Below is a picture of my relatives in front of the Royal Cafe taken in 1944: Lena Oliverio Sappington, Mario "Mutt" Oliverio, Lena Sal Oliverio (B O's wife) 

My cousin Sharon Tiano Secret's dad had the 4th Street Billiards on the corner of 4th & Clark. And my cousin Linda Oliverio Kolosky's dad had Jimmie's Restaurant on 4th Street which is one of the buildings in the photo below: Shingleton Brothers, Pasceri's Grocery, Jimmie's Restaurant, Ham Cody's Service Station. 

The kids in the picture are my cousin Patty hugging my sister Charlotte, my brother Junior in the striped shirt, woman could be my mom or one of my aunts - the pic isn't clear enough for me to tell, the other little boy may be my cousin Jim, not sure who the man in the suit is & I believe the boy with the dog is my Uncle Raymond (Duchie). 

The area between Shingleton's & Pasceri's was an open lot in those days & later became the area where Tomaro's Bakery is today. And the platform dock at Shingleton's is the place where my sister Anita said she & the other kids used to play.

Below is another picture taken in front of the Royal Cafe at the beginning of the war - you will notice someone was proud to have gone to WI & used some chalk to write it on part of the wall. In the picture are my Uncle Tom Oliverio & Grandma Oliverio.

Another WI grad - Bobby Cotter painted some scenes from Glen Elk some years ago. Here are copies which gave tribute to Glen Elk & also to my relatives businesses: 

On the town side of the 4th Street Bridge across from the bus terminal was another restaurant owned by my cousin Homer Oliverio - it was called the "Uneeda Lunch". 

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1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this! Thank you! My parents lived in nutter fort when I was born. I think you are around my parents age. We now live in pa but still go back to visit and always get bread and things from tomaros bakery!!