Since Allegheny City the Northside has been filled with entrepreneurial families which helped create the backbone and identity of our neighborhood. Seeking to uncover as much Northside history as we can, we truly appreciate family histories because they were our neighbors, friends and relatives. They are the true pulse of the Northside’s heartbeat. Sharon Gilmore Dipaola is the great-granddaughter of J.C. Reed who owned and operated the J.C. Reed Candy & Cigar Factory located at 1521 Monterey Street. This 3-story brick building was built in 1900. A couple of months ago, Sharon sent me a great photo of her family standing in front of the Candy Store from the 1950’s. She also had more photos and family history that we would like to share with you.
James Carson Reed was born 11/11/1870 in Mercer County. He ended up on the Northside by his marriage to Jessie Francis Bassett Reed born in the City of Allegheny on 9/26/1873. They were married in the brides home on Sandusky Street in Allegheny, Pa. on November 14, 1893. Together they had 4 children Raymond, Arthur, Alice and Elsie. Elsie was Sharon Gilmore Diapola’s grandmother. We are unsure if Francis was around for the Candy Company because she passed away on May 10, 1932 at the age of 59 from heart disease.
The J.C. Reed Candy & Cigar Factory operated in the Mexican War Streets wholesaling confections & stogies throughout the 1940’s until the early 60’s. They also sold ice-cream, loose tobacco & dry goods. We found an advertisement in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette Archives from Friday May 1, 1953 promoting the “quench-sational” original Rick-ee. The buildings windows are different today but the door is exactly the same. It’s difficult to tell exactly when the Candy and Cigar Factory opened but we found an ad selling cigar and candy shelves at that same address around 1927.
June of 1959 the store was held up by 3 men and robbed by of $2700 in cigarettes & $1522 in cash. Milton Kendrick, Jr.. 31, was driving the getaway truck, according to Police Lieutenant Paul Ryan. The witnesses, Charles Meyer, of 2115 East Street, and Kenneth Campbell, of 301 West Ingomar Road, were among eight persons bound and tied by the robbers during the hold-up. On June 22, 1959 the good’s were found in the garage of a man with the last name of Reynolds. The hold-up men were identified as two employees, Harold Storey, 31 and Martell Inman, 30. Also from the Pittsburgh Press June 22, 1959: “A Hill District man, wanted by police in connection with the holdup of a cigar and candy company warehouse on the North Side last Thursday, surrendered to detectives today. Police said David L. Reynolds, 35, of 1923 Diaz Way, gave himself up to face charges of being an accessory before and after the robbery. Police said Reynolds rented a garage at the rear of his home to Martell Immon and James Hamilton, accused of being the actual holdup men, as a storage place for the loot taken from the J. C. Reed Candv & Cigar Co. warehouse, 1521 “Monterey St. The loot later was recovered in Reynolds’ garage.”
Within 2 years of this event, James Carson Reed’s health declined and he was placed into a nursing home in Mercer County. He died there on December 11, 1961. He and his bride Jessica Francis Bassett Reed are buried in Uniondale Cemetery here on the Northside. We have more photos of the family including baby shots from Federal Street photo studios from the 1800’s and more. They will eventually be available on our website northsidehistory.org in our neighborhood galleries.
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