Utah: Opening a landmark

Ellen Hallet Stone is a researcher and oral historian who focuses on the history of Jews in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Her recent article in the Salt Lake Tribune covers Lithuanian immigrant Simon Shapiro’s 1917 opening of Shapiro Trunk & Bag Co.

She used archived interviews (at the University of Utah’s Marriott Library) with Simon’s son and SLC merchant Joel Shapiro.

Born in 1879, Simon was part of the 1891 immigration wave from the Russian Empire. His brother had TB, and Simon went with him to Colorado and likely to Denver’s Jewish Consumptive Relief Society.

When his brother died, the 17-year-old Simon began his business career, which advanced from selling soap door-to-door to packing and unpacking traveling salesmen’s trunks.

After working for a St. Louis trunk company and travelling Nevada, Colorado, Wyoming and Idaho, he arrived in Salt Lake City in 1915 and opened his store in 1917.

Read the complete story at the link above.


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