Neuman home in 2013
Here are some of the events the Tribune recorded for August, 1938, when I Neuman first opened his store here:
Firms of the city were sponsoring softball teams, the Chamber of Commerce entertained the rural school trustees at a barbecue at LeTulle park, Adrian Odom joined the advertising staff of the Tribune and the thirtieth headless body was found in Cleveland, Ohio. There was an oil column in the Tribune each week with activity noted at Hamman South Bay City Field, Skelly North Bay City Field, Hamman Field, Markham Field and Buckeye Field.
So did Isaac Neuman open Neuman's dry goods store and ladies' and men's apparel shops, in a long, narrow room at 1728 Sixth St. For six years he was in business at this site, always cramped for space, always hearing tappings and juke box music and laughter form the other side of his west wall, sounds that were like voices calling him to wave a magic wand and cause the partition between the two rooms to disappear, so he might have ample space in which to display his large stock of goods to advantage, space in which to departmentalize his store, space for customers to shop in comfort. Restricted to the available room of his original locations, he was "fenced in," to quote from a popular song of 1945 and he didn't like it.
Mr. Neuman recognized the fact that there was a war on, that it was difficult to get building material for remodeling, that it was even more difficult to get carpenters and other workmen to do a job of this kind. And still those voices on the other side of the wall continued to remind him of the possibilities of the two rooms thrown together.
There was another hurdle to make: those eerie voices across the partition did not come from an empty room; nay, rather, they came from the Alcove cafeteria which occupied the room, accounting for the gay voices, the fragrance of coffee brewing on a cold morning, the juke box music. Every time I. Neuman went in for a cup of coffee, he visualized his own stock on wide shelves, new show windows where mannequins should model his exclusive lines of ladies' and gentlemen's clothing.
At last he came to a decision and secured a lease on the Alcove. There remained the question of starting a remodeling project in wartime, but he decided to try it and one day the first blow was struck in the partition. The die was cast. Neuman's was on the way to expansion.
In the summer of 1945, Mr. Neuman is waiting for materials and workmen to finish the project. In the meantime, his stock occupies the original room and the former cafe room. It is one of the largest store rooms in the city--and one of the coolest in summer for, although not equipped as yet with air-conditioning, it never fails to offer a customer a circulation of air that is refreshing.
BUILT BY AUSTIN
Perhaps this may be explained by the fact that the two-story building was erected by William E. Austin back in 1908 with the avowed intention of making it the very finest in the city, one that would stand the test of time and ever make the city proud.
It was built for S. O. Eidman, now Matagorda county's tax assessor and collector. A wooden shack had been torn down to make way for it. On the second floor were offices, as there are today.
(For the sake of historical record, we name those second-floor offices as of 1945--Matagorda Abstract company of pioneer William Cash; W. W. Wilkinson and Sons, oil interests; Dr. Vernon H. Fricke, dentist; George R. Burke, general insurance; the Retail Merchants Association office; the office of the Selective Service board that has handled the calling of Matagorda county men to the service of their country in World War II.)
So, with offices over his head, Mr. S. O. Eidman threw open on the first floor the doors of a book and variety store in the original Neuman's store room and of a confectionery in the west half of the building, the part of the building which I Neuman dreamed of occupying for some six years before the dream came true.
Today, children flock to Neuman's last in August and early in September to buy their school outfits--shoes, dresses, suits, hats, coats, top coats. But in 1908, they really flocked to the book store that was one of Neuman's predecessors, for in those days children purchased their own text books.
The public, finding Neuman's a good place to shop in 1945, found Eidman's book store a convenient center in 1908, for it was the only magazine and newspaper distribution center in the city and the one and only newsboy was none other than the present police judge, W. M. Mann, who owned a two-wheeled gig and horse and did a most reliable job of spreading the news each and every day.
Even this bit of Judge Mann's history fades into the background when the story turns to the Alcove as a confectionery. There is many a staid and dignified father of a family in Bay City today who remembers those ice-cream freezers of S. O. Eidman, left succulently covered with a coating of ice cream for the boys to eat when they came in after school.
And what of those soda jerkers at the fountain? Mr. Eidman says that, so far, none of them has become president of the United States, but one or two are bank presidents. "Every boy in town who wanted a job got one at the Alcove," he remembers.
Then there was that group of of lads who gathered of an evening to pick out pecan meats for the candy-making, in which Mr. Eidman excelled.
Those were truly good old days when there was no sugar shortage and milk was plentiful. All kinds of candy poured forth of professional quality and the ice cream was half milk and half cream.
In those days, the Alcove was the largest dining room in Bay City and some times as many as 200 were served there on meeting days of the chamber of commerce or other civic organizations.
A PROUD HISTORY
I. Neuman is pleased that his fine store building has such a proud part in the history of Bay City.
He will be even more pleased when his dream is entirely fulfilled. When the front of the as yet unfinished men's department is completed, the show windows of both rooms will be among the finest for display not only in Bay City, but in many another larger town. The interior, too, will be modernized throughout and the effect of the whole will attract shoppers from the entire county and area.
A LOGICAL SPOT
In a recent interview, Mr. Neuman was asked, "Why did you choose to come to Bay City in 1938?
"Because it was the most logical spot in Texas
for future growth and development," he replied. "Bay City has
everything. it is isolated from larger cities and surrounded by a
rich agricultural section, by oil deposits, cattle ranges. In rice
it has a crop that many sections cannot raise. it is in a good
cotton area. It has three railroads and good paved through highways.
Further than all this, there may be some day be deep water
navigation to this point. Bay City is an attractive residential
city. It has had 50 years of growth and success. It will have as
many more as time allows." So does Mr. Neuman summarize the reasons
why he chose to open a dry goods store here.
The Neuman family has lived in Texas since 1917. In Arizona one is allowed to join the Pioneers Historical Society after 30 years of residence. Judging by that standard, the Neumans are practically pioneers, having lived in Texas 28 years.
The son of Mr. and Mrs. Sam Neuman, Isaac Neuman is known in Belton and Burnet. In the former city he graduated from high school. In the latter, he had his first business venture.
Most young men tell tall tales of their first jobs, how they worked for a nickel an hour or something to that effect while they learned the ropes. Not so I. Neuman. He went into business for himself as soon as he was old enough. He has known no other boss but himself.
He has two brothers and two sisters, Ben Neuman of Georgetown, Texas, Max Neuman of Bastrop; Mrs. Leo Feigenbaum of La Grange and Mrs. Chas. Novak of El Campo.
Isaac Neuman is a member of the Bay City Chamber of Commerce.
He holds membership in Shearith Israel Synagogue at Wharton.
Mrs. Neuman works with her husband. A petite young person, she is of invaluable assistance in the selection of women's clothing when the Neumans make their frequent marketing trips to such style centers as St. Louis, Chicago and New York City.
Mrs. Neuman is the former Jennie Markewich, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. J. Markewich. Her birthplace is Beaumont. She is a Beaumont high school graduate, also a member of Shearith Israel Synagogue in Wharton and of Hadassah.
Mr. and Mrs. Neuman were married in Bay City in 1939.
Assisting in serving the public at Neuman's are five salesladies. We name them, Mrs. Eula Gandy, Mrs. Minnie Davis, Mrs. Lola Workman (alterations and clerk), Miss Mary Agnes Miller and Miss Lillie Markewich, sister of Mrs. Neuman, graduate of Bay City high school in class of 1944 and assisting in the management of the store in mid-summer of 1945.
On the ladies' side of the store, these young women stand ready to show piece goods, hosiery, gloves, lingerie and such modern accessories as costume jewelry, hair ornaments, scarves, handkerchiefs, neckwear, slips, gowns, notions. They also are adept at finding the right house dress for the particular customer, the correct afternoon gown for milady, the most becoming evening formal for the sweet girl graduate, sports outfits for the debutante and street clothes--coats, suits, millinery--for all ages, even to the children.
The shoe department is well stocked with the best for men, women and children that 1945 can offer.
On the men's side of the store, suits, top coats, sport outfits, work clothing, shirts, sweaters and hats vie in popularity with such accessories as handsome ties, handkerchiefs, socks, suspenders, clasps--whatever the well-dressed man wears.
Other items carried included luggage, bedding
linens and patterns.
Commenting on his plans for the future, Mr. Neuman states that he plans to take advantage of post-war markets to expand his stock and improve his store, the result being an up-to-the-minute shopping center for men and women, boys and girls. Among his plans is the addition of many more nationally advertised, branded lines than he now carries. This will be possible through the increased production of civilian merchandise in the years immediately following the war and the expanding buying power of Bay City people that will accompany the growth in population and the increased wealth of the county and area, this latter being one of the profound convictions of I. Neuman, member of Bay City's Chamber of Commerce and loyal believer in the future of the city where he has invested his capital in a leading department store.
Matagorda County Tribune, August 23, 1945
Neuman's one forerunner of the family-type clothing stores in Bay City and Matagorda County, was founded in 1938 by Isaac Neuman.
It has continued to served the Matagorda trade area with brand name merchandise from its first and only location at 1728 Sixth Street in Bay City for the past 21 years.
The business is now co-owned by Louis Markewich and Isaac Neuman, and is managed by Mrs. Horace McRee. The service staff is made up of four persons.
Expansion plans are not included in the prospects for the coming year, and any change in these tentative plans will depend upon the money situation both here and abroad.
Daily Tribune, August 22, 1969
Neuman Dies at 65 - Retalier For 37 Years
Isaac Neuman, 65, a Bay City businessman died Sunday morning at his home in Bay City.
Neuman and his wife, Jennie, owned the Neuman Dept. Store here in Bay City since 1938 coming here from Burnet, northwest of Austin.
Born in Czechoslovakia, April 22, 1910, he came to America with his parents [Samuel and Gitel Neuman]. They first settled in Belton and later moved to Burnet.
Neuman worked with his father, Sam Neuman in Burnet where his father had a dry goods store, before coming to Bay City.
He was a member of Shearith Israel Congregation and a member of the Board of Directors Shearith Israel Synagogue, member of the Bay City Shrine Club, Bay City Rotary Club, Masonic Lodge 865 and Scottish Rites Temple in Galveston.
He leaves his wife, Jennie of Bay City; a daughter, Mary Beth Cartwright of Bay City; brothers, Max Neuman of Houston and Sam Neuman of San Antonio; sisters, Anna Feigenbaum and Lillie Novak of Houston.
Funeral services were held this morning in Wharton at the Shearith Israel Synagogue. Interment service was held at the Shearith Israel Cemetery.
Daily Tribune, June 23, 1975
Obituary and photo courtesy of Meyer Denn
Isaac Neuman, 65, of Bay City died at his home June 22. He was a member of the Shearith Israel congregation, member of the Board of Directors for the Shearith Israel Synagogue in Wharton, member of the Bay City Shrine Club, Bay City Rotary Club, Masonic Lodge 865 and the Scottish Rite Temple in Galveston. He was owner of the Neuman Dept. Store. Survivors include; wife, Jennie of Bay City; daughter, Mary Beth Cartwright of Bay City; brothers, Max Neuman of Houston and Sam Neuman of San Antonio; sisters, Anna Feigenbaum and Lillie Novak of Houston. Funeral service was held this morning June 23, 1975 in Wharton at the Shearith Israel Synagogue with Rabbi Israel Rosenberg officiating. Interment service was held at the Shearith Israel Cemetery in Wharton. Pallbearers are Sam Neuman, Sonny Lerman, Arthur Holland, I. H. Kogutt, Milton Greenberg, Michael Deutsch, Dr. Irwin Novak, and Sidney Schwartz. Services under the direction of Dick R. Elkins Bay City Funeral Home.
Daily Tribune, June 23, 1975
Funeral services for Mrs. Jennie Markewich Neuman, 65, of Bay City will be held 4 p. m. today at the Shearith Israel Synagogue of Wharton with the Rabbi Theo Sanders of Houston officiating. Burial will be in Wharton Jewish, Cemetery.
Mrs. Neuman was born July 23, 1918, in Poland and died July 15, 1984, in Matagorda General Hospital. She came to Bay City from Beaumont in 1937. She was a director of the Beth David Center and a member of Bay City's Chamber of Commerce for 49 years. She was also the owner of Neuman's Ladies Ready to Wear Store. She was preceded in death by her husband, Isaac Neuman, in 1975.
Survivors include: daughter and son-in-law, Mary Beth and Phil Cartwright of Bay City; brother Louis Markewich of Houston; sisters, Mrs. Annie Weintraub of Houston and Mrs. Lillie Farb of Galveston; grandchildren, Isa, Amanda and Diana Cartwright; and a number of nieces and nephews.
Honorary pallbearers will be Michael Deutsch, Dr. Gary Markewich and Sam Neuman.
Pallbearers will be David Carroll, Mac Cartwright, Milton and Larry Greenberg, Dr. Irwin S. Novak, Sammy Neuman, Joe Farb and Dr. Frank Casman [Kasman?].
In lieu of flowers memorials may be given to the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, Shearith Israel Congregation of Wharton or Hadassah of Wharton.
Services are under the direction of Dick R. Elkins Bay City Funeral Home.
Daily Tribune, July, 1984.
Marker photos courtesy of Tresmond Scott
Neuman's store box
Copyright 2007 -
Present by the Neuman Family
Mar. 2, 2008
Oct. 24, 2013