The white arrow points to the house that
my mom and Aunt lived. This was Welch St. The front door of
their house faced the B&O rail yard, while the back door
faced the NYC railroad. They were surrounded on 3 sides by soot,
ash, and noise of steam trains all day and all night. I don't
know what may have been worse... the shear look of the area covered
in soot... or the asbestos flying through the air day and night from
the train brakes. This of course is where Joe Fazio and his
family lived, (his restaurant today is in the center right of this
photo) and so the Fazios and my family were friends back then.
I would grow up only blocks from here, on Smith Street,
right across the street from the largest rail yard in Charleston.
The trains ran day and night and crashed their boxcars together right
near my window, but I had it a hundred times better on Smith
St than my family did just blocks away "back in the day".
A little more family history: My mom
and Aunts grandmother on their fathers side lived right around the
corner from them on Young Street near the railroad tracks. "Old
Lady Lewis" was a locally famous bootlegger, and some say
also ran prostitutes. She wasn't a woman to fool with and would kill
you as look at you. All the cops liked her (she paid em) and
protected her back here in the bad part of town.