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Honest Joe?


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Guest Gary Loughran
Does anyone know what the bottom photograph displayed in this image below is?

That is of course Honest Joe doing the pointing.

James

Is Honest Joe a bookmaker?

:lol:

I'm guessing a pawnbroker/pawn van driver...if this is who Jack White was talking about here

Certainly new to me.

Why the interest James? and any updates on the website!!

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From the Dallas History Forum

http://www.dallashistory.org/cgi-bin/webbb...ames;read=15196

I was talking to a former Dallas resident who moved to Oklahoma City in 1974. He mentioned Honest Joe's Pawn Shop and asked if it was still in business.

I informed him that the Pawn Shop, which consisted on several different buildings located on the south side of Elm Street at been taken over by the "Deep Elum" craze.

He remembered a car that Honest Joe drove that had a 50 caliber machine gun mounted on the hood and advertising all over it.

I remembered the Pawn Shop, but I don't remember the vehicle he described. I was working the 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. shift in this period and missed a lot I guess.

I seem to recall that John Hinckley purchased the pistol with which he wounded President Reagan, Press Secretary James Brady and several Law Enforcement personel at Honest Joe's Pawn Shop.

Roy, Honest Joe's Pawn Shop was a large overgrown junk yard that called itself a pawn shop located not far from the old Central Fire Station. My dad spent the last 20 year of his life as a dispatcher at that fire station. He died in 1966. I visited the fire station and Honest Joe's many times in my youth.

While I don't have incontrovertible citations at my fingertips, my recollection is that a proper investigation of the facts will show that you have the wrong pawn shop for the Hinkley gun source. As I recall the Hinkley gun and the Ruby gun were both purchased from the same shop a few blocks from Honest Joes. The original name of the shop was Ruby's Pawn Shop when Jack bought his gun there. The owner was so irate with Jack Ruby that he changed the name of his shop at the same location to Rocky's Pawn Shop where Hinkley made his purchase.

Anyone else remember the facts this way? Am I close?

Now it comes to me. The name of the pawn shop operator was Ruby Goldstein who changed his name to Rocky Goldstein.
A credible source on the Goldsteins and various other pawnbrokers and pawnshops is Alan B Govenar's and Jay F Brakefield's, "Deep Ellum and Central Track," published 1998 by the University of North Texas Press.

It includes details and/or photos of Uncle Sam's Pawnshop, Honest Joe's Pawnshop, Dave's Pawnshop, Day and Night Pawnshop, and King Edward Pawnshop, a shrine to Honest Joe's established by son Eddie on "Deeep" East Grand, and others.

As I recall Dave Goldstein, Isaac "Rocky" Goldstein, and Rubin "Honest Joe" Goldstein were brothers.

There are pics of a couple of machine guns, but not mounted on the car. Of this it is stated, "A gaudy station wagon parked outside the store (Honest Joe's) featured a non-functional machine gun. Joe Cody recalled that when things got slow, "Honest Joe" would drive the wagon downtown, park it illegally near the courthouse and stage a shouting match with whatever hapless officer showed up to ticket the vehicle. Anything for publicity."

There are references to the John Hinkley gun, the association with Jack Ruby, but not the Ruby gun.

The book is still on the shelves in major bookstores or can be ordered. It is packed with history, details, first person accounts and rare photos. I recommend it highly.

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James,
Does anyone know what the bottom photograph displayed in this image below is?

That is of course Honest Joe doing the pointing.

James

It looks like he is pointing to various pictures of Jack Ruby, but what the significance is, I don't know.

Steve Thomas

I agree, looks like a series of pic's of Ruby, during the trial period (?) Seems to me, If I recall correctly Joe was a bud of Ruby's.

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Thanks to everyone for their replies.

I have been talking to a long time Dallas resident who claims that Honest Joe had bragged to him about possessing a photograph of Ruby and Oswald together. This contact also said that Joe had the photograph gracing the front of his shop for a time during the mid 1960's. I was wondering (long shot) if this could have been that alleged photograph?

There was another guy around at the time known to Ruby, the Campisi brothers and indeed Honest Joe who resembled Oswald some. The likely scenario is that it is probably him but knowing for sure would be good.

FWIW.

Also, Gary, the website is progressing nicely. Time is my enemy at the moment but things are still on track for later this year.

Cheers,

James

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I think there is an artilce about Honest Joe's Pawn Shop in the Third/Fourth Decade.

BK

There's two documents, one that refers to Honest Joe's Pawn Shop truck driving through Dealey Plaza shortly before the assassination, and the other Sorrells mentioning that he saw Honest Joe on the street while looking out the 3rd floor police window, and dropped Honest Joe's name, which loosened Ruby up to talk.

Jean Hill apparently mentions the Honest Joe's Dealey Plaza drive by in Marrs' book.

Greg Doyle wrote WHO WAS "HONEST JOE"? in the Vol. 9, Issue 1 of the Third Decade.

http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?

docId=48769&relPageId=46://http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/a...mp;relPageId=46://http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/a...mp;relPageId=46://http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/a...mp;relPageId=46

There's also a follow up article in the Fourth Decade.

Vol. 1 Issue 5

http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/...bsPageId=519364

And for James, another pix of Honest Joe:

http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/...mp;relPageId=40

Sam Hover huh?

BK

Edited by William Kelly
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Following Lane's testimony, agents of the FBI again contacted Jean on March 23, 1964, generating a two and one-half page report (7). Jean again described wanting to take photos and conversing with a policeman near the TSBD entrance. She had noticed a vehicle with "Honest Joe's Pawn Shop" printed on its side, with cardboard windows, "..circling the area," but was told by the policeman that he had been permitted to drive near or through the motorcade route.

******

According to Marrs (22), who had interviewed Jean at length, the primary motivation for Jean and Mary being in Dealey Plaza that fateful day was not to see the President, but to take pictures "..of a Dallas police motorcycle officer. Hill had just moved to Dallas from Oklahoma and Moorman was showing her the city, as well as trying to get her a date with the policeman, who was escorting the motorcade." A police officer allowed them to stand on the south side of Elm "..after some flirting," as Jean hoped to date the motorcylist, who had put her in a "..cops and robbers frame of mind." Reference was made to the "Honest Joe's Pawn Shop" van, which allegedly was allowed to drive in front of the TSBD to the parking lot. Jean was so suspicious that she commented to her friend jokingly about the possibility of "murderers" being aboard.

Source: http://www.jfk-info.com/whitmey1.htm

Edited by Wim Dankbaar
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  • 1 year later...
Following Lane's testimony, agents of the FBI again contacted Jean on March 23, 1964, generating a two and one-half page report (7). Jean again described wanting to take photos and conversing with a policeman near the TSBD entrance. She had noticed a vehicle with "Honest Joe's Pawn Shop" printed on its side, with cardboard windows, "..circling the area," but was told by the policeman that he had been permitted to drive near or through the motorcade route.

******

According to Marrs (22), who had interviewed Jean at length, the primary motivation for Jean and Mary being in Dealey Plaza that fateful day was not to see the President, but to take pictures "..of a Dallas police motorcycle officer. Hill had just moved to Dallas from Oklahoma and Moorman was showing her the city, as well as trying to get her a date with the policeman, who was escorting the motorcade." A police officer allowed them to stand on the south side of Elm "..after some flirting," as Jean hoped to date the motorcylist, who had put her in a "..cops and robbers frame of mind." Reference was made to the "Honest Joe's Pawn Shop" van, which allegedly was allowed to drive in front of the TSBD to the parking lot. Jean was so suspicious that she commented to her friend jokingly about the possibility of "murderers" being aboard.

Source: http://www.jfk-info.com/whitmey1.htm

Honest Joe's van was also seen outside the Dallas PD when Oswald was being transferred and Ruby killed him.

There's also a recent news article in a Dallas paper.

Got the Deep Ellum Blues?

BK

http://www.smudailymustang.com/?p=18230

By Joshua Parr

jrparr@smu.edu

It’s 1940. Down Elm Street, Deep Ellum residents and visitors stroll down the sidewalk on a Saturday afternoon. Jazz music is heard from the nearby Gypsy Tea Room. The street stretching toward downtown is lined mostly with pawn shops. One shop draws more attention than most. It’s Honest Joe’s, the best known pawn shop in Dallas.

Today, the building is still in the family. Honest Joe’s granddaughter, Laurel Levin has turned it into a luxurious pet hotel called Urban Paws, the only one of its kind in the neighborhood. It caters to a young and trendy apartment-dwelling generation, providing their pets with townhomes, suites and the latest collars.

But many longtime residents of Dallas and Deep Ellum remember Honest Joe’s as a place where they could stroll through aisle after aisle of disorganized pawned items. Where everything from guns to prosthetic limbs could be found and where customers knew each other by name.

“It was the hub of Deep Ellum,” said Dallas resident Herschel Wilonsky, whose family owned a business across the street. “Everything revolved around Honest Joe’s.”

Urban Paws has taken up residence in the old Honest Joe's building. Rubin Goldstein's granddaughter, Laurel Levin, has transformed the Deep Ellum legacy into a luxurious pet hotel. (PHOTO COURTESY OF URBAN PAWS OWNER LAUREL LEVIN)

The original owner of the building at 2524 Elm St., Rubin Goldstein, came to Dallas from New York in 1931. His two older brothers, Dave and Isaac already owned businesses in Deep Ellum, and like many Jewish merchants at the time, Goldstein set up his own pawn shop.

“He was the mayor of Elm Street,” said his son Eddie Goldstein. “If anyone had a problem they came to Honest Joe’s.”

Goldstein came to be known as “Honest Joe” when a shop regular named Little Jimmy told a skeptical customer, “Don’t worry, lady. This is Honest Joe,” according to Alan B. Govenar and Jay F. Brakefield in their book, Deep Ellum and Central Track: Where the Black and White Worlds of Dallas Converged. Goldstein died in 1972, but the shop would remain open until 1985. Today, his legacy lives on in the stories people tell.

Honest Joe’s and many other pawn shops in Deep Ellum acted as money and credit lenders to poor blacks and whites. Regular customers would hock anything of value. In one case, a customer asked Goldstein, “What do I have to do to get $20? Give you my right arm” taking off his prosthetic arm and setting it on the counter.

According to Eddie Goldstein, a customer nicknamed “Hook,” who had lost both of his arms, was arrested one day for pick pocketing. Honest Joe saved him from prison by testifying that both of his prosthetic arms were in hock at the time the crime was committed.

Eddie Goldstein started working at the shop at the age of six. One afternoon, he decided to put out a box of false teeth for sale for 35 cents as a joke. One customer found a pair he liked and used a file to grind the teeth down until they fit in his mouth.

Old time residents say the pawn shop was well known by the signs plastering the storefront reading: “HONEST JOE, LOAN RANGER,” and “Emmes Joe,” which means Honest Joe in Hebrew. The sidewalk out front was always cluttered with used tools and hubcaps, while the inside was packed with mountains of pawned items. The shop was always lively with Deep Ellum residents just hanging around. Goldstein would sometimes have to force people to leave according to son-in-law Marvin Levin.

“It’s going to cost you a dollar, if you hang around any longer,” Goldstein would say.

It wasn’t only residents who hung around. Folks like Sammy Davis Jr., John W. Carpenter, who founded Lone Star Steel Company, the Dallas mayor and famous wrestlers paid visits, too.

Goldstein employed an in-house painter who would make the signs for the storefront. One time, Goldstein saw a picture of the Sistine Chapel ceiling and told his painter that he wanted his ceiling painted. But in the end, the ceiling was covered with signs advertising Honest Joe’s, according to Levin.

Goldstein also owned a station wagon, covered with advertising signs and with a nonfunctional submachine gun on the hood. He would often drive downtown in the vehicle as a way to advertise.

On Nov. 22, 1963, Goldstein saw a crowd downtown waiting for President Kennedy’s motorcade. He decided to drive down in his station wagon to advertise. His was the only car on the street before the motorcade approached and he would later be linked to nightclub owner Jack Ruby, who shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald two days after the President’s assassination.

According to Eddie Goldstein, Jack Ruby used to come into Honest Joe’s and buy things for his nightclub, The Carousel. He once wanted some stainless steel tables and argued with Goldstein about the price. They finally settled on $125, but when Ruby’s employees came to pick up the tables they handed Goldstein an envelope with only $90. Goldstein asked Ruby about the money and he said “I figured I’d pay you what I wanted.” Goldstein forced Ruby’s employees to unload the tables and bring them back to the shop.

Months later Ruby would ask Eddie, “Your old man still mad at me?”

Goldstein was a good business man and often found ways to get around laws, according to Levin. The Blue Law restricted activities or sales of goods on consecutive Saturdays and Sundays. So Goldstein opened up the tin shed next to his shop and did business there only on Sundays. It was called Truthful Joe’s.

During the prohibition era, the top floor of Honest Joe’s was a speakeasy. It was raided in the 30s and sealed off by the police. In the 60s, Dallas raised Central Expressway and had to cut into the top floor of the building. Goldstein and Levin broke into the third floor to see the old place. When they walked in, they saw bottles for beer and wine, turned over tables, betting slips scattered on the floor and telephone numbers on a building post.

“It was like we stepped back into the 1930s.” said Levin. “Like they just raided it yesterday.”

In the late 60s, many pawn shops in Deep Ellum began to go out of business. When Honest Joe’s started to go under, everything else followed, says Eddie Goldstein.

Today, long time residents of Deep Ellum still remember Honest Joe’s and what it mean to the area.

“It’s kinda got a legendary status,” said Sean Fitzgerald, president of the Deep Ellum Community Association. “It’s symbolic of the long standing history of Deep Ellum as a place that welcomes diversity.”

In 2007, the old pawnshop’s storefront broke off and fell to the street, so Goldstein’s granddaughter Laurel Levin decided to restore the building and make it into Urban Paws. Levin lived in Chicago where she had to have her dogs walked two times a day. She came back to Dallas and saw the same need for many local apartment dwellers.

“I wanted a place that was comfortable,” said Laurel Levin. “Where customers would know where their pets were going to be.”

It took two years to restore the building, and Levin did her best to preserve Honest Joe’s and use recycled materials. Part of the ceiling is still the original from the old pawn shop, and the glass railings on the second floor, which allow for a watchful eye down to the first floor dog parks, are from the Reunion Arena in Dallas.

“He would either be so proud or so mad, if he saw how they had changed his store,” said Eddie Goldstein.

Also see:

http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark...ge_to_hones.php

Many thanks to the Friend of Unfair Park who directed my attention to the Daily Mustang piece about the long-gone Honest Joe's Pawn Shop in Deep Ellum -- must have been something familiar about the "Herschel Wilonsky" briefly quoted therein that caught this particular Friend's attention. Figured I might as well use the opportunity to show off my family's old auto parts store, which sat almost directly across from Honest Joe's at 2515 Elm Street from 1932 to 1955. I run everyone else's old pictures of Dallas on Unfair Park; might as well show you mine.

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I think Honest Joe is mentioned in Noel Twyman's "Bloody Treason." Don't quote me yet (I don't own a copy), but Joe may have known Loran Hall over gun-related business.

David

I have been going through my copy (Mint condition I may add B) ) of "Bloody Treason" for the last 15 minutes or so

No mention of Honest Joe or his Pawn Shop in the index (I looked under his last name, his pawn shop, an Honest Joe)

I am browsing through all the sections that include Loran Hall and Gerry Hemming to see if I spot anything about Honest Joe but have not seen it yet

If anyone knows what page number or what section (Besides the one on Hall and Hemming) to look in I will gladly scan that page and post it on the forum

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I think Honest Joe is mentioned in Noel Twyman's "Bloody Treason." Don't quote me yet (I don't own a copy), but Joe may have known Loran Hall over gun-related business.

David

I have been going through my copy (Mint condition I may add B) ) of "Bloody Treason" for the last 15 minutes or so

No mention of Honest Joe or his Pawn Shop in the index (I looked under his last name, his pawn shop, an Honest Joe)

I am browsing through all the sections that include Loran Hall and Gerry Hemming to see if I spot anything about Honest Joe but have not seen it yet

If anyone knows what page number or what section (Besides the one on Hall and Hemming) to look in I will gladly scan that page and post it on the forum

If wrong, I apologize. I'm afraid that only being able to afford library books is making me lax, so I'll refrain from these uncertain "teaser" posts that can't deliver.

The last three full-length books I read (or re-read) on JFK were "Bloody Treason," "Brothers," and Summers' "Conspiracy." But I could swear that I encountered Honest Joe in hardcover lately, and I thought Twyman b/c there was a bit on Dallas gun activity in it. I definitely read about the machine gun car lately. Again - sorry.

Edited by David Andrews
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I think Honest Joe is mentioned in Noel Twyman's "Bloody Treason." Don't quote me yet (I don't own a copy), but Joe may have known Loran Hall over gun-related business.

David

I have been going through my copy (Mint condition I may add :rolleyes: ) of "Bloody Treason" for the last 15 minutes or so

No mention of Honest Joe or his Pawn Shop in the index (I looked under his last name, his pawn shop, an Honest Joe)

I am browsing through all the sections that include Loran Hall and Gerry Hemming to see if I spot anything about Honest Joe but have not seen it yet

If anyone knows what page number or what section (Besides the one on Hall and Hemming) to look in I will gladly scan that page and post it on the forum

If wrong, I apologize. I'm afraid that only being able to afford library books is making me lax, so I'll refrain from these uncertain "teaser" posts that can't deliver.

The last three full-length books I read (or re-read) on JFK were "Bloody Treason," "Brothers," and Summers' "Conspiracy." But I could swear that I encountered Honest Joe in hardcover lately, and I thought Twyman b/c there was a bit on Dallas gun activity in it. I definitely read about the machine gun car lately. Again - sorry.

There are a few articles about Honest Joe in Jerry Rose's Third/Fourth Decade, available at Mary Ferrell, and I believe, cited in posts earlier in this thread.

BK

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