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History of Freeland, Pa.
Edward Gallagher's Barbershops

Photos and information from Mary Rosenkrans and Ed Bacon

This page contains fuller information than what was posted in the Featured Photos section of the home page in April 2018. The photos and information come from Mary Rosenkrans and Ed Bacon, grandchildren of Edward Gallagher.

Edward Gallagher and His Barbershops

Edward Gallagher BarbershopEdward Gallagher had 3 barbershops in his career: first at [old address numbering] 51 S. Centre Street [later renumbered 513], then at 354 Centre Street, and finally at 713 Main Street. His brother Peter was also a barber and worked with Edward for his entire career. Their brother Mickey also worked with them for awhile.

Gallagher Family

Mary wrote that Edward’s and Peter’s father was Peter Gallagher (1834-1887), and their mother was Catherine “Kitty” (Burns) Gallagher (1852-1906). The father “came from Ardara, County Donegal, Ireland as did many of Freeland’s Irish immigrants. He worked, of course, as a coal miner.” The 1880 U.S. Census lists them in Buck Mountain along with four sons, all born in Buck Mountain; a fifth son was born there the next year. Sometime in the next few years they moved to Freeland, where their youngest child was born in 1886; the father Peter died the next year. His widow Catherine and the family were living on Adams Street at the time of the 1900 U.S. Census. Three of the sons would become barbers: Edward Joseph (born 1879), Peter Joseph (born 1884?), and Michael “Mickey” (born 1872). Mickey later worked as a shoemaker; Edward and Peter were barbers together for nearly 50 years until both died in 1963. Mary doesn’t know how they got into the barber business, or who trained them.

There is another person a decade younger than Edward who was a friend or relative and also a barber, namely Peter Carey (1890-1945). He lived with Edward, Peter and the family for a few years, listed as a boarder with them in the 1910 census. In 1917 he was a self-employed barber living at 925 Ridge Street, and in the 1920s he was listed as owning a barbershop at 518 Centre Street. We don’t know if he ever worked with them before getting his own shop.

Five Gallagher brothers Here are five of the eight Gallagher brothers, Edward and Peter at the back. Mary thinks the photo was taken between 1900 and 1910.

Edward J. Gallagher (rear, left) 1879-1963
Peter J. Gallagher (rear, right) 1884?-1963
Michael “Mickey” Gallagher (front, left) 1872-1928
Thomas F. Gallagher (front, center) 1876-1944
James Vincent (Shamus) Gallagher (front, right) 1886-1958.

The other Gallagher brothers, two of whom died as children:
Patrick J. Gallagher 1874-1941
Francis “Frank” Gallagher 1870-1874
John Gallagher 1883-1887

Barbershop Beginnings

When Edward Gallagher received an honorary life membership in the Sons of Erin in 1954, the newspaper article said that he had been a barber for 61 years. That would mean that he began barbering around 1897. He is listed as a barber in the 1900 U.S. Census, but where was he working? In the Freeland directories that I’ve seen, he first shows up specifically listed in 1900-1901 as a barber on Centre Street, but with no address number given. His younger brother Peter was still in school in 1900, according to the census. Did Edward have his own shop at first, or did he apprentice or partner with another barber on Centre Street? Mary has seen him listed as a barber at 51 Centre Street around this time.

1895 map detail There were side-by-side barbershops shown on the 1895 Sanborn map at 53A and 51A (Address note: 51 was later renumbered 513 Centre, and was near Zimmerman's variety store), and the proprietor of the barbershop at 51 was listed in the 1897 directory as Joseph Fenstermacher; he was also listed as a barber on Centre Street in the 1900-1901 directory. Did Edward start out working with him there? Mary Rosenkrans thinks that Edward might have purchased Fenstermacher’s barbershop, because after Edward’s mother died in 1906 and around the time that he married in 1908, Edward was living at 51 Centre Street and operating a barbershop there. The 1910 census lists him and his family living there along with two of his brothers, and with Peter Carey as a boarder. Sometime between then and 1915 he moved his barbershop business to 354 Centre Street – he and his family along with his brother Peter are listed as living there in the 1920 census. Then in 1930 he moved the barbershop to 713 Main Street, along with his family and his brother Peter as shown in the 1930 census. He and Peter enjoyed the rest of their careers there until their deaths in 1963.

Edward’s Barbershop at 354 Centre Street

1905 map detail 1912 map detail After working at 51 Centre Street for some years, Edward moved to a new location, in a building newly constructed sometime between 1905 and 1912. The 1905 Sanborn Fire Insurance map showed an empty lot at that address, while the 1912 map showed a barbershop there. (Address note: Freeland went through several address numbering systems, and the changing numbers can be seen on the Sanborn maps. So on the 1895, 1900 and 1905 Sanborn maps that location is an empty lot numbered 118 S. Centre; in 1912 the new barbershop on that site is numbered 155; on the 1923 map it’s 356 Centre, although in directories then the barbershop address is consistently given as 354 Centre. There are numerous small discrepancies in building numbers between the maps and the directories.)

The 1921-22 and 1928-29 Freeland directories list Edward Gallagher’s barbershop at 354 Centre, and Edward and Peter Gallagher as barbers. Peter Carey was also listed in those directories as having a barbershop at 518 Centre. Interestingly, the 1895 Freeland directory listed a barber at [old address] 102 S. Centre (now 418 Centre) named Joseph P. Carey – perhaps a relative of his?

354 Centre Street was the site of several later barbershops, including one owned by Charles A. Fetzer in 1940, and another by our neighbor Vince Petrilli in the 1950s and 1960s. Vince was also an undertaker and the director of the Petrilli Funeral Home at 249 Centre Street, now the site of the McHugh-Wilczek Funeral Home.

Move to Main Street

713 Main Street Mary wrote: “Sometime between 1920 and 1930, the barbershop was moved to 713 Main Street, Freeland. My grandfather who was known as ‘Eddie the Barber’ and his brother Peter ran the shop until the early 1960s. He passed away in February 1963, followed by Peter in December 1963.” She was later able to pinpoint the move to Main Street to 1930.

Ed and Pete Gallagher Here are Edward and Peter Gallagher, Sons of Erin, in the barbershop on Main Street in April 1961. I mentioned Edward Gallagher’s barbershop to Ed Merrick, as Merrick’s grocery store was across the street from 354 Centre. Ed replied: “I don’t remember the Gallagher barbershop on Centre Street, but the Gallaghers did relocate their barbershop in later years to the building west of the Remak residence at 709-711 Main Street. Ed and Pete were the owners and operators, and my father, brother, and I used their services for years. They had a tag team of sorts and often handed off in the middle of a haircut, about which [my brother] Tom and I used to laugh later.”

Charlie Gallagher (from a different Gallagher family) commented: “Well, 713 Main was later Joe Rish’s Barbershop. It is now a residence. That was next to Remak’s and was damaged during the fire. Something tells me that ABC Television or ABC Electric may have been at 713 before it became Joe Rish’s barbershop, but I’m not 100% sure.”

The following selection of photos from Mary Rosenkrans and her brother Ed Bacon show the Gallagher barbershops.

Earliest photos, ca. 1910-1914 – possibly at the first barbershop at 51 S. Centre (later renumbered as or near 513 Centre)

Edward Gallagher's barbershopThe barber at left is unidentified, and at right is Edward. They’re wearing professional white jackets; notice the customers reflected in the mirror.

Edward Gallagher's barbershopUnidentified man on left, Edward Gallagher in center, and his brother Mickey Gallagher on right. Mickey later left barbering and worked as a shoemaker. Notice the barbers’ white jackets, and the wall shelving for shaving mugs. Mary says that the large wall furnishing that holds the long mirror and cabinets as well as the shaving mug shelving were moved from shop to shop and were in all 3 barbershops.

Edward Gallagher's barbershop Another early view, with Mickey and Edward working on two customers, and it looks like a third barber is at work off camera at far right, reflected in the mirror – his reflection looks like the unidentified barber in the first of these 1910-1914 photos. Mary and I both think that the customer at left resembles the man standing at left (not a barber) in the previous photo.

Edward Gallagher's barbershop An enlargement showing the counter, a photo from Ed of one of those bottles, and a photo from Mary of two more ceramic bottles for witch hazel and toilet water from the barbershop, likely used after shaves with a straight razor. Wonderful that Mary and Ed still have these bottles from their family business.

Edward Gallagher's barbershop - bottles Edward Gallagher's barbershop - bottles

Around 1915 – at the second barbershop at 354 Centre Street

Edward Gallagher's barbershop Edward Gallagher's barbershop Edward Gallagher's barbershop

This is the front of Edward’s second barbershop at 354 Centre Street. We see his brother Peter Gallagher at left, an unidentified barber who worked with them at center, and Edward Gallagher at right. There’s a young child visible in the doorway. Also shown are enlarged details of the shop windows. Notice the traditional striped barber’s poles flanking the doorway.

Andro Kasarda's saloon Andro Kasarda’s saloon was just across the street, and here are Peter Gallagher (left) and the unidentified third barber (right), and that might be Andro Kasarda at center standing in the doorway. Because the two barbers in this and the previous photo look to be about the same age in both, and because there’s a 1915 poster in the saloon window, we are dating these photos around 1915. There's more about this photo on a new (in process) Saloons page.

Around 1915-1917 – at 354 Centre Street

Edward Gallagher's barbershop Edward Gallagher's barbershop Peter Gallagher at left and the unidentified barber at right. If you recognize him from family photos, please let me know!

Edward Gallagher Barbershop Barbers and customers. The three standing barbers, left to right: Edward and Peter Gallagher and the unidentified third barber. Notice that they are no longer wearing white jackets.

Around 1920 – at 354 Centre Street

Edward Gallagher's barbershop Edward Gallagher's barbershop Edward Gallagher's barbershop Edward Gallagher's barbershop

Here Peter and Edward Gallagher are older and are shown with Edward’s children (left to right): Edward, Marie, Eleanore. Enlarged details show the razor strap, decorative woodwork plus tiger painting, and chairs, sink and shaving mug shelves.

April 1961 – at the third barbershop at 713 Main Street

Ed and Pete Gallagher Forty years later, here are Edward (left) and Peter at the barbershop at 713 Main Street in April 1961. They are dressed in their Sons of Erin uniforms, and the wooden wall furnishing that contains mirror and counter is still with them after all those years.

Memories of My Grandfather, by Mary Rosenkrans
Memories of My Grandfather Edward J. Gallagher, a short writing by Mary Rosenkrans. Mary also sent this sweet reminiscence of the few years when she and her family lived with Edward and Peter.

Edward Gallagher Receives Sons of Erin Award

Sons of Erin Award 1954 March 17, 1954 - Freeland Sons of Erin Present Membership: “Edward Gallagher (extreme right) received the 1954 honorary life membership in the Freeland Sons of Erin during that organization’s banquet last night. Presenting him the membership is John Dennion, chairman for last night’s arrangements. Extreme left is James Crowley, principal speaker, and Atty. Martin O’Donnell, toastmaster (second from left).”

Sons of Erin Award 1954 Sons of Erin Award 1954 March 15, 1954 – To Receive Erin Certificate: “… The certificate will be presented by Erin president, Vincent Maloney in recognition of Gallagher’s many contributions to the Irish organization and to the community over the years.”

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