Online Exhibits - Marijana - Business and Homes of Strawberry Hill
To help you know the people of Strawberry Hill, Marijana has painted the houses and buildings that made up the community. She paints in a folkart style from her childhood memories. Through her paintings you will meet the friends and family that were so important to her life.
In the homeland, Croatians drank beer and wine. That tradition was brought to Strawberry Hill. Many of the businesses served beer and were called beerjoints. Women and men both enjoy the friendship they find within the walls of a beer joint. The men came for conversation, to drink a glass of beer and to relax after a hard day at work. There would often be card games and a round of pool. The women enjoyed the friendly atmosphere. Children bought ice cream, potato chips and their favorite snack, cheese popcorn from the owner. Everyone could converse in their native language. Meeting at the beerjoint was a time to enjoy each others company.
Fifth Street Corner of Elizabeth
Beerjoint with pool table where men met to play pool. Apartment for rent upstairs.
Lugars was on Fourth Street. These houses were torn down and new houses were built.
Neighbors come to Sprehar's Beerjoint to have a beer and visit. Children came to buy ice cream, potato chips and cheese popcorn.
This painting gives the viewer an idea of how the businesses were often right next door to the houses. In this painting the men are gathering in front of a beer joint. Blatz refers to a kind of beer sold in the business.
In a time before TV, air conditioning, and video games, residents of Strawberry Hill spent many hours outside their homes, men and women visiting on the streets, children playing games, and others shopping or running errands. This painting shows a customer entering Samskey's Barbershop for a haircut. This summer day also finds children playing marbles on the sidewalk in front of the Samskey home.
Houses on Fowler Street
The men stop to visit on their way to the store. The Kaw (Kansas) River is in back of these houses.
Shoemakers House on 5th Street
You could get new heels or soles put on your shoes.
In the 1930's many people didn't have much money. In those days if something broke or wore out, you didn't buy a new one, you had the old one repaired. This was just as true of shoes.
Brusan's Grocery Store
Brusan's grocery on fifth and Barnett sold meats, produce, soda pop, and ice cream bars. Cousin Elizabeth (in blue dress) is expecting her second child. She is talking to a neighbor. The apartments upstairs were for rent.
Calovich's Candy Store
The Calovich's home on Sandusky had a store downstairs. They sold material, cigars, ice cream, and candy in their store.
Harry Mufich, the Huckster
These houses are on the top of the Hill on Barnett. Harry is selling a live chicken to a customer.
Marijana's mother stands on the sidewalk in front of the house, buying some produce from Harry's sons. Harry did business from his truck for a long time before he purchased a building for his grocery business. A huckster is someone who sells items, especially fruits and vegetables.
In this view of the Hill you see Harry the Huckster standing by the truck. What is a huckster? Huckster is another name for a salesman. Harry sold live chickens to the women of the neighborhood. Harry's truck was very important to the success of his business.
These men have gathered along snowy Fowler Street to visit. The residents of Strawberry Hill didn't communicate by Twitter or Facebook, they met on the street and talked with each other. The truck belonged to Harry the Huckster. When there was a lot of snow or ice his truck couldn't climb the steep hills. He would park it on the street and carry his goods to the houses on the hill.
Harry the Huckster's Store
In later years Harry the Huckster sold his truck and sold produce from this small store on Fifth and Orville Street.
Marijana often remarked that it was handy to run errands for her mother because she could just walk down the alley and go right to the store. You can see that his store sells apples, pumpkins, and bananas. Harry also flies the American flag showing his loyalty to his country.
Many families made money by opening their homes to boarders. Most of the boarders were men who had come from Croatia to work in the packing house across the river. The Radencics provided them with a bed, Croatian meals, and the friendship of fellow Croatians.
Men liked to sit on the porch of the house on Third and Barnett and visit with their friends. Marijana often saw the men quietly sitting on the porch and smoking their cigars. The tree in front of the house became known as "The Cigar Tree" because of its long seed pods. The boy sitting on the sidewalk is pretending to smoke a cigar which is one of the seed pods.
Mr. Samskey ran a barbershop. It was always busy. The memory that inspired this painting by Marijana was one Fourth of July. The men are sitting outside the barbershop and the children are playing on the street. They have small fire crackers, snakes, and caps in toy guns. The Samskeys are flying an American flag in honor of the holiday.
After Sunday dinner the Bozic family gather on the front porch to take pictues.
The Bozics had a large house with beautiful flowers in the yard. Marijana painted the photographer standing in the street in front of the house. A couple coming from church have stopped to allow the picture to be taken.
Zugecic Family House
Mrs. Zugecic and neighbor visit. Mr. Love next door reads his newspaper. A relaxing afternoon.
Cindrich House on Armstrong
The Cindrich family was a large family. They have a large beautiful house.
Fire! House on Fire!
A house burns while a neighbor comforts a friend. Many houses were torn down and burned when the Interstate
(I-70) came through the bottom section of the Hill.
Red Brick House
Old red brick house on Armstrong Avenue. Its starting to snow.
One man is going to Steve's Barbershop on Fourth Street for a haircut. Neighbors are visiting. Children are playing in the street on this beautiful summer day.
Houses on Thompson Street. Thompson is the street between Fourth and Fifth Streets. From left to right the houses belong to the Pavicics, Calovichs, Ferbezars, and Tomasics. The mailman delivering mail is Tony Kovac.