Posts Tagged ‘Mose Blumenthal’

A Fire at Wardecker’s

February 1, 2010

On Friday at noon, I checked the Carlisle Sentinel on-line to see what, if anything, was in the news. An article saying that North Hanover Street, one of the two main drags through town, was closed. On reading the article, which was time-stamped 11:30 a.m., I learned that a fire in the building that houses Wardecker’s Mens Wear, was the cause of the street closing. I wasn’t too worried about my friend Freddy Wardecker, the proprietor of the business because he would surely have been able to get out of the building quickly. However, I was worried that his collection of Carlisle artifacts might have burned.

Wardecker’s Mens Wear, formerly Blumenthals, was in operation when the Indian School was located nearby at Carlisle Barracks. Mose Blumenthal worked as a tailor at the school and operated his store downtown. As a result of his close association with the staff and students, he established a business relationship with the school’s athletic department. Pop Warner or the Superintendent would send chits to Blumenthals that authorized the boys listed on the chits to be given clothing in the amount stated on the chit. The boys would come in to the store, select the clothing items they wanted, and socialize. Blumenthal had a page or pages in a ledger for each of the boys on which he would record the clothing they had received and the amounts he received in payment. If the clothing cost more than the amount on the chit, the boy had to come up with the difference.

In later years when these men returned to Carlisle, these men dropped in at Wardecker’s to visit and sometimes signed their photographs. The store has Carlisle Indian School memorabilia as well as irreplaceable original documents. It would have been a catastrophe had these items burned. Fortunately, they didn’t.

A visit to Wardecker’s is necessary for anyone interested in Carlisle Indian School and especially so for researchers. It’s good that it is still possible.

Bob Wheeler’s Return

April 17, 2008

This week Jim Thorpe’s biographer returned to Carlisle to pick up his new suit. Mose Blumenthal was a tailor at the Carlisle Indian School and also outfitted students in civilian clothes at his haberdashery, The Capital.  Today that store is operated by Freddie Wardecker and sports Indian School memorabilia on its walls. My hope was that in the basement or attic Freddie would find a suit of the style worn by Jim Thorpe for Bob. But that wasn’t to be.  Bob had to settle for a dark business suit that is appropriate for almost any occasion. He topped it off with a Lone Star Dietz signature tie that is perfect for wearing at book talks. It should also be a hit in his home state of Texas. Although photos were taken they can’t be posted because they turned out too dark, probably due to photographer error.

While in town Bob and Florence visited several sites related to Jim Thorpe. Their first stop was Carlisle Barracks to see the former Indian School buildings and, of course, Indian Field. It was too late in the day for taking photographs so Bob returned the next day before leaving town. Prior to visiting the graveyard we mistakenly thought the graves were all of students who died while attending the school. However, we noticed that a couple of rows of the graves appeared to be for soldiers who had been stationed at Carlisle Barracks. Surprisingly, some of the dates on a few of the tombstones were relatively recent, after the Indian School had closed. Sadly, most of the grave markers contained little information about the person. Having more information would helpful. For instance, one marker only provides the name, Paul Wheelock. From researching a cousin who played football and was a pallbearer for Paul, I know that he was the infant son of Bandmaster Dennison Wheelock. Did the baby’s death cause the father to leave Carlisle or was it coincidental with another opportunity arising? The shortage of information makes it difficult to answer that question.

Bob and Florence also visited Whistlestop Bookshop and Cumberland County Historical Society. It would be great if we could get Bob, Flo and our local folks to coordinate a talk the next time they are in town. I, for one, hope we don’t have to wait until next tennis season.