1914 – City Was Divided Between The “Orchard” And “Lower End.”

The residences north of Allegany Street were predominantly of Welsh, English and Scotch-Irish descent. Many of their ancestors arrived in America prior to the building of the Follansbee Brothers Tin Mill. Their religious backgrounds were primarily protestant.  Many were influential families in early city politics, social life, banking, and the development of the factories.  Lower Enders referred to them as “Cake Eaters.”

Residents who lived in the Lower End were considered “foreigners.” Most of them had only recently arrived from Central and Southern Europe. The majority were Italians.  There were many other ethnic groups, especially from Austria-Hungary including Hungarians, Romanians, and Slovaks. They spoke very little English.    Newspapers, including the “Follansbee Review,” when reporting stories involving Lower Enders referred to them as foreigners or Italians rather then by their actual names.  Hundred-year-old Joe Prest recalled that walking through the Orchard was an uncomfortable experience. “People came out on their porch and shouted at you.  They called us Dagos and Polacks.”

A number of Social Lodges became symbols for the town’s divided population.  The Cedar Lodge, now located near the city fire department, was a symbol for the Orchard.   Its membership was closed to Lower Enders who were viewed as the working class.  The Sons of Italy (no longer operating), Garibaldi Lodge, and Theta Chi Alpha Fraternity represented the cultural tone of the Lower End. Until the late 1950s, more than 25 beer joints and Social Lodges existed in the city, most were in the Lower End.

  • John Prest, Oral Interview, Follansbee, July 2009