Bellezza's Shoe Store sign, video still

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History of Freeland, Pa.
Shoe stores

What's on this page:
  • 20th-century shoe stores
  • Some of the clothing stores that also sold shoes
  • Shoe stores listed in directories, 1900-1940
On related pages:

Still image capture from 1930s Freeland video showing the Bellezza Shoe Store sign at top left comes from Ed Merrick.


[Thanks to Ed Merrick for additions and corrections. More information to come about these stores.]

Allan's Shoe Store, 1966 Army Navy Store Allan's Shoe Store - 601 Centre St. (CT: My brother Steve and I were comparing notes and we think that after World War II, Joe Ferrari was back from service and managing Allan's Shoe Store on the corner of Main and Centre streets. We both remember buying shoes from him there, and Steve thinks he ran that store for more than 10 years; he commented that it was interesting that Joe's father Antonio was a shoemaker -- the usual term in town for the folks who repaired shoes -- and Joe ran a shoe store. My friend Dawn Piazzi's mother Mrs. Piazzi worked there for several years, and Dawn's brother George also ran Freeland Shoes there from 1969 to 1971.) (1966 photo showing Allan's Shoe Store on the corner of Centre and Main streets, taken by Ed Merrick)

Army-Navy Store - 616 Centre St., between Main & Front Streets - they sold work clothes and work boots, among other things. (photo at right, above, CT)

Bellezza's 72nd anniversary in 1966 Bellezza's Shoe Store Bellezza's Shoe Store, ad card Bellezza's Shoes - 619 Centre St. (From Ed Merrick: Belezza's Shoe Store, "56 years of faithful service." - '51 Minamek. Helen, Nicholas, John, Anna, Katherine, and Della Belezza, owners and operators) - Jno. Bellezza's Shoe Store (1924 ad) - Men's, ladies' and children's footwear (John Bellezza's Shoe Store, 1925 ad) - The Bellezza building was repaired and repainted in 1926, work done by A. A. Bachman subcontracted through contractor Robert Lentz (1926 notice) - 57 years of faithful service (1952 ad) - In business 72 years (from Ed Merrick, 1966 ad, at left)
The 72nd anniversary Bellezza's ad from 1966 noted above raises an interesting question, because it says that John Bellezza founded his shoe business at that location in 1895. He's not listed there in the directories until 1900 - in 1895 he is listed as a shoemaker at a location further down the street (54 Centre, old numbering) and in 1897 Michael Merkt has his confectionery business there at what became the Bellezza store location before moving to the Birkbeck building. Maybe John Bellezza and Michael Merkt shared the space for a time. Unknown, but we'll see what other information emerges! (Bellezza's store photo, CT)

(CT: Throughout grade school and into high school my mom bought my and my brother Steve's school and dress shoes at Bellezza's. The Bellezzas emphasized the importance of measuring for the right size shoe, accommodating different widths as needed, and offering shoes with good arch support. Mom was very impressed by their professionalism. I thought it was great to have "Poll Parrot" and "Buster Brown" shoes like the ones I saw on TV.)

Freeland Shoes - 601 Centre St. (George Piazzi, proprietor, 1969-1971)

August Lesser - Walnut St. - Shoe business (1925 newspaper notice)

O'Donnell Shoe Store - 601 Centre St., later the site of Allan's Shoe Store - John R. O'Donnell, relocated from 523 Centre St. to site of what was James Malloy's café and bar (from Charlie Stumpf, 1923 newspaper article, see further below)


[I'm sure there were more than those listed here. - CT]

Max Besbris - 523 Centre St. - Max Besbris (1925 ads)

Simon Besbris - 418 Centre St. - Men's and boys' clothing, also women's shoes (1925 ad) 

Harvey E. Learn - P.O.S. of A. building (later occupied by Woodies'), 2nd floor - Clothier: Suits, overcoats, shoes, furnishings (1922 and 1924 ads)

Louis Nassan - 510 Centre St. - Men's clothing and shoes, ladies' and children's slippers (1925 ad)

M. Oleyar & Son - "Clothing of the better kind"; shoes and gents' furnishings, boys' clothing (1924 ad)

Sam Rosenthal - 462 Centre St. (Samuel Rosenthal, proprietor) clothier, clothing store (age 48 in 1940 Census; see ad further below)

Shoe stores listed in directories, 1900-1940

Bereznak boots and shoes store 1900-1901 city directory
Boots and shoes in business listings:
Bellezza, John, Fine Footwear Shoe House, boots and shooes, and rubber goods, 110 Centre
Malloy, Hugh A., boots and shoes, 35 Centre
Neuburger, Joseph, Estate of, dry goods, clothing, furniture and shoes, Centre
Owen, James, boots and shoes, 22 Main
Stuntz, H., boots and shoes, Ridge
Wear Well Boot and Shoe Store, Centre

Photocopy of an undated photo of John Bereznak at his boots and shoes store from George Bereznak and Charlie Reczkowski. Although John Bereznak was not listed under shoe businesses in these directories, he owned the "Bereznak Building" on the SW corner of Centre and Carbon, now a seniors apartment building. He had three businesses there: a boots and shoes store, a saloon and a hotel.

1917 telephone directory
Boots and shoes in general listings:
Kline, Hyman, Clthr, Shoes & Gents' Furngs - 424 Centre

John R. O'Donnell, new shoe store Sam Rosenthal, Packard shoes ad 1921-22 city directory
Boots and shoes in business listings:
Bellezza, John – 621 Centre
Lesser, A. E. – 619 Walnut
O’Donnell, John R. – 523 Centre
Reilly, Charles L. – 733 Centre
Shigo’s Dept. Store – 324 Centre
Sussman, Samuel – 426 Centre

This 1923 article about John R. O'Donnell's shoe store relocation and opening came from Charlie Stumpf. The ink blotter ad card is for Sam Rosenthal's clothing store at 462 Centre Street, not listed under Shoes in the directories.

1928-29 city directory
Boots and shoes in business listings:
Chenetz, Morris, 529 Centre
Nassan, Louis, 510 Centre
O’Donnell, John R., 601 Centre
Oleyar, Michael, 427 Centre

1940 city directory
Boots and shoes in business listings:
Bellezza, Jno. G. - 619 Centre
Garbacik, Stanley L. - 601 Centre
Lauderbach & Co. - 111-113 W. Broad, Hazleton, Pa.
Oleyar, Michael Estate - 427 Centre

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