1911 Safe at Home

January 6

Martin Kavanagh is in jail because he can not raise $ 5,000 bail. Clarence Keen has had successful surgery to remove the bullet from his neck. He is recovering. Martin’s trial is set for March. It is pretty cut and dry. There were quite a few witnesses on the street or driving by the hotel at the time of the shooting. Martin will have to wait and see what happens. Mary Rachel has filed for divorce from Martin. She accuses him of unfaithfulness, cruelty and abandoning her and their children. The Shop is off to a good start. Their confectionery work rolls in the door. Kettles are shaped and fabricated. Some are repaired. They are working in this building all the way up until the Pratt & Central building opens. It is only a few doors down. The move should be quick. The brothers are anxious to get there.

Pratt & Central Deed
Deed of purchase for the property at Pratt and Central. 1910. Building erected in 1911.

February 16

Pratt and Central opens. The water and electric power are turned on. In a great coincidence, Baltimore’s sewage system is completed this year. That makes all of Baltimore happy. They move quickly into their new home. Tools and supplies are carried by hand. Just a few are moved by cart. The brothers are happy and they celebrate the Shop’s new home with a toast to Old Uncle Joe after work.

Baltimore City Water Bill for turning water on at 201 S. Central Ave. February 16, 1911.

March 1

Martin pleads guilty to shooting Clarence Keen. He is sentenced to six months in jail. He must also pay $ 500.00 to Mr. Keen for pain and suffering. He begins serving his sentence immediately He is incarcerated in the Baltimore City Jail. Mary Rachel is granted absolute divorce and custody of their minor children. She informs the court that she had Martin arrested for assaulting her in the past. Joe attends the trial and speaks to Martin before he is taken to jail. A brief chat with Joe wishing him well and not much more. Martin is quiet and contrite but hardly sorrowful. The police return Joe’s gun to him after the trial.

April 17

The Shop receives a job for Melvale Distilling. Melvale orders a doubler to be made. A doubler increases the potency of the liquor. It is one of the standard parts of the distilling process. There are a few fixtures and valves to be produced as well. As always, James does the drawings. Frank makes the doubler with Leo and Carey assisting. The rest of the crew are also busy. There are cooking kettles to be made and the Shop continues receiving a steady stream of work

June 5

Eddie returns to the Shop to work. He is finished at school and becomes a full-time employee. Today they are working on some small kettles including one for Sharpe & Dohm. They are one of the Shop’s better patent medicine customers. They have to distill some of their products just like the whiskey industry. They have ordered a 20 gallon still to be produced.

June 15

The Kavanagh brothers have decided to hire more men. James Woods Jr. is hired. He is their sister Sarah’s son. He worked a bit for Martin and also worked at Baltimore Brass Works. He’s a smith and talented. Plus, he is family which is usually a good thing. They also hire another helper. The Shop is very busy. They are working six full days now. They have had a flood of steamship work arrive. They make the pump-chambers for ballasts as they always have in the past. They also receive some of the brazier work. They make some stacks from brass along with valves and gauges. Combined with the kettle work they seem to have a steady flow of jobs. They are busy and there are no signs of anything slowing down.

July 16

James and Frank have Sunday dinner at Joe’s house to discuss the Shop. Johanna serves roast beef, potatoes and carrots. She makes a peach pie for dessert. They go over the jobs they have and how the year has gone so far. All three are very glad they hired some more men. The Shop seems to be in a good spot and headed in the right direction. They discuss Martin and how to handle his release. They agree they should not avoid him, but they can not afford to truly associate with him. They will see what happens in September.

August 14

Gunther’s Brewery needs two beer vats. These are fabricated by James Woods and Frank helped by Eddie, Leo and Carey. These are large vats. Two men with large wooden mallets are underneath while another man hammers the copper sheet from above until the large basin-shape is created. It is a slow process, but something they have done many times. A fountain is fabricated as well. Tubes are made from perforated sheet then they are curved into a circle. Mr. Fairbanks and a helper take care of the fountain. It is a very busy hot summer day.

September 4

Martin is released from jail. His brothers do not meet him. He does not go to Augusta Avenue to visit his now ex-wife or his kids, but rather stays with a friend. The brothers do not hear from him. He seeks out his job at Baltimore Brassworks. He made claims at his trial that they owed him money. They don’t recognize any debt to him nor do they hire him back.

October 26

The Philadelphia Athletics beat the New York Giants to win the World Series. 4 games to 2 games. It is their second straight championship. Frank “Home Run” Baker hits homers against Rube Marquard and Christy Matthewson to tie one game and win another. Continuous rain causes a six day delay between games 3 and 4. It is the longest delay in World Series history until the 1989 earthquake delayed series. Coincidentally, the same franchises are involved with both having moved west. The Athletics to Oakland and the Giants to San Francisco. Joe is jubilant again. The team he roots for has won it all again. Joe is happy for his old friend, Connie Mack, the Athletics’ manager.

November 11

The Great Blue Norther hits the mid-west. A day that starts off unseasonably warm turns frigid in the evening. Record highs and lows are recorded in many places on the same day. Here in Baltimore it is a chilly Saturday with the Shop humming along. They have orders for some repairs from Gwynnbrook and Monticello Distillers. They also have several weeks worth of cooking kettles and pans on the books. They are in a very good position with winter approaching. The brothers are not so worried about the cold weather months this year. The volume of work is high and they have promises of more. They are content and settled in their new Shop. It has plenty of room and is more modern than any facility the Shop has ever had. They don’t know it yet, but the Joseph Kavanagh Company will operate out of Pratt and Central for over 90 years. A tremendous amount of work and great changes will occur, but all within those walls. It will grow and is added upon. Still 201. S. Central is truly home for the Shop. It still exists today. The name is still on the side of the building. A very busy intersection with thousands of people driving by every day. It is old and in need of a new roof and a few other improvements. It waits to be re-purposed. Sitting vacant. The building served the Shop very well. It was our home for three generations and in many ways it still is.



William Howard Taft is the President. The first Indy 500 is raced. The electric starter for engines is invented. IBM is incorporated. Construction begins on Boston’s Fenway Park. Chevrolet begins making automobiles. Ronald Reagan, Joseph Barbarra and Jack Ruby are born. Milton Bradley and Joseph Pulitzer die.

There remain 46 states in the Union.

View of Pratt Street side of the Shop. Picture taken September 8. 2018.


2 thoughts on “1911 Safe at Home

  1. Hello, I recently came across a beautiful antique lidded copper bin at an estate sale with handle and the word Kavanagh stamped down the side of it. In doing some research online, I’m thinking it may have been produced by your family’s company. I was wondering if it could be related or not, but would love to get your thoughts. I can email some photos to help give you a better idea

    Liked by 1 person

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