Delray Stories
Growing Up in Delray
as rememberd by
Robert Takacs

My Dad came there in 1905 and my Mom in 1913. I was born on Burdeno and moved to Lyon St in 1931. The store on leigh you mentioned was on the corner of Keller and owned by Mrs Janus who was polish also there was a store on leigh owned by Mike Dyda another polack. There was a bar called the Merry Go Inn on the corner of keller and Leigh also another one on the corner of Pulaski and Leigh near Morley school called the Wind Blue Inn. I also went to Morley to the 2nd grade then went to Holy Cross. The principal was a Mrs Alt and my teacher at Morley was Mrs. Reed. At the other end of keller near Harbaugh was a store called Kish's market and a hardware store next to it. The church on the corner of South St and Harbaugh is ST John Greek Catholic church. My stepdad helped build the Reformed church on the corner of Vanderbilt and Dearborn and I knew Toth Tibor and went to hungarian school there. The Delray super market on Jefferson was originally owned by Steve Toth and later sold to Mrs Nagy and then moved to Allen Park. The Magyar Haz was the Verhovay Club owned by William Penn Co. and downstairs was Palos printing who ran the radio show and put out the Detroiti Magyarsag and the Southwestern Journal. The other papers were the Detroiti Ujsag and Szabadsag.My school chum Steve Szabo had the meat store on West End across from Als Lounge. Also across from Als was a bar owned by Mr. Poti a hunky. I can put all the stores in place along Dearborn and also Jefferson. There was the Szatmary pharmacy below the Petofi building on West End. Also the Wayne Creamery on West End and the bakery on the corner of west end and thaddeus.On jefferson and dearborn corner was the 5 and dime Neisners and then came the super market and next Kleins shoes next sims clothes. Next block was the original Hungarian Village where the big wigs from Detroit came to  wine and dine and listen to Ziggy Bela and his gypsies. The other bands were John Brenkacs and Joe Balint. then the pastry shop the Kings chinese then the bank and a bowling alley below it. Then the Delray cafe and next the Grands and Delray theaters then Hevesi and Csekei bars and fox hardware.The next block was Soltesz attorney office and a small cigar store then Georges Coney Island then the bank and finally Gabes Bar. Furhte down was maloneys clothing and Delray Bakery. Further was Netovabb' Kovacs Bar and a family friend Rose Pesti who waited on tables also entertained there.Across the street was the soccer field, hospital and solvay. Rosie nennis bar and Mickeys bar. Next was Mrs Butkas bar and upstairs was a bowling alley.Next was Kissel Furniture then the Magyar Haz then Gegus Hardware then Szollosy funeral home then photo studio then Michigan cleaners then the power station Next a bar and then Kar bottling co. then Portland cement. Across the street was Joeys stable.

I remember the Antals who lived up the street and Their names were Bill, Charlie, Zollie, Benny and Rose, and Arpad. Two doors up from them was Mrs. Tar and son Louie and daughter(forgot her name) At the alley lived Joe Penner who later was a movie comic always saying, "You wanna buy a duck". The next home was that of the Soltesz's who also ran the bar on Dearborn and Lyon. Then came Mrs Tars store. Near the corner of Dearborn and Melville was the Red Rose cafe (hungarian) next to it was Mattes market. Afew doors down was Lefflers Bar and another market. Back across the street on the corner of Lyon was a beauty parlor and Barsony tailor shop. Further up the street towards Jefferson was a drugstore on one corner of Harbaugh and Stan and Joes bar on the other corner. A couple of doors down was Almassy's florist than a bunch of homes. Across the street on the corner of Vanderbilt and Dearborn was a candy store and then next door was Margarets beauty shop and next her Fathers funeral home Molnars. Further down was a pool room. Then that outdoor market to the corner of Burdeno. Then a locksmith, then jeweler' then barbershop with a pool room and then Neisners.I forgot to add I know Mr Lajtos from Holy Cross as his kids went there too. My Grandma was Emerence Szekely and Grandpa was Ambrose Szekely they lived on Medina first. My Father was George Takacs who came out in 1905 and my Mom was Erzsebet Szekely she came out in 1913. My Uncle was Andrew Csorgo he came out in 1907 my aunt was Mary came out in 1914. Another relation James Csorgo came out in 1907 and lived on Barnes street. I know many people who were omitted from the list. Did you know John Bujdoso or Betty Yurko, Mr Steve Gyuszi, Mr and Mrs J. Szabo who taught hungarian dance groups. Her name is Vilma. These are only a few.I left the area in 1946 so I forgot many names etc.
When you mentioned the post office and Tonys market you only mentioned Zolkowers and forgot to mention Zuibacks.

When you mention Leigh street we all used to call it Lehigh and all us kids used to go to the field and dig mounds for our ice rink which the fire dept filled with water. I doubt if you remember the peddler family named Sulak who used to drive their truck with all types of veggies , fruits , poultry and eggs thru the neighborhood selling their things. They'd sing out paradicsom (tomatoes) finom zoldseg (fine veggies) etc and women would stop them and buy. The boys were named Bill and Frank Sulak. We also used to dig out holes for forts and some of the elders would plant gardens etc at the field. Their was a slaughter house at one corner near the tracks and wayne soap. The odor from there was choice. Did you know the Tulak family on Sire? Do you recall Major coal company and ice house on Woodmere near the tracks? we used to pull our wagons there when we needed ice for our ice boxes. They also used to deliver ice and people had signs they put in the windows to alert the delivery man as to 25lbs or 50 lbs depending on their icebox size.You didn't mention Holy Cross cemetary where most catholic Polish and Hungarian parishoners were intered. We used to have picnics every Sunday at Molnar farm off Jefferson past Trenton and Zold Vadasz (Green Pasture)on Middlebelt near Eureka where we'd dance and play games etc. I don't have too many more things to tell you. The Hungarian radio programs were from WJBK in Detroit run by Ernest Palos and WSPD in Toledo run by Joe Galambos and Cleveland by Dr. Fazekas.

I forgot about the last picnics held in the late 60s and early 70s at Handlers Park which was near the Monsanto plant Riverview near Palombos restaurant. After that all outtings was at Yack arena in Wyandotte only once each year in June. The last musicians came from Ohio namely Lajos Bodo. Rose Pesti's son Greg Mahar usually arrainged it.

I miss the old place more than you can imagine .I revert back to my childhood many times and start recalling different things or people. I don't think that Erdei flower shop on Harbaugh in an apartment house building basement was ever mentioned besides Almassy florist. There was a hungarian doctor named Louis Horvath who treated most of the people and he even did house calls. He worked out of Delray hospital with an office on Jefferson but later moved to a place on Fort street near Elmsmere. There was also a Hungarian Dentist (forget name) who was on Vernor near central. I used to enjoy singing on Mr.Palos' radio show on WJBK every Saturday. He wanted me to make a record but we never did. A lot of people knew me from that and also from the dances we put on at festivals and picnics etc. Those photos showing backyards with flowers looked like they were on Keller Street near my sisters place. There was a sweet shop on the corner of south and yale streets owned by Mrs Eder where we used to hang out and also had lunches there while going to Holy Cross School which was across from it. I'm sorry but at times I get carried away. I'm so happy that you came up with this idea and maybe you could have it printed someday.

I was again looking thru the photo essays and noticed a couple of possible errors. Under a photo of St John Cantius its listed as Holy Cross and under Saint John Greek Cathokic Church its listed as St John Cantius. Holy cross school was next door to the church and rectory and it would be nice to show the interior of the church which is beautiful. It should also be noted that Kovacs bar was called Netovabb. Just a small reminder. The only gas station I recall  in Delray was Leonards garage on the corners of Dearborn and Harbaugh. That building listed as the Hebrew synagogue was actually the Petofi club after the old one on West End burned down.

Added June '09

Hi Richard just thought thinking that you didn't mention Holy Cross cemetary at Dix. A lot of hunkies are also interred there like my Granddad Ambrusz SzekelyI , Father Andrew Jakabs pastor of Holy Cross Church to name a couple. I forgot to mention Vidas flower shop on Harbaugh between South St. and Dearborn Ave. The Magyar Haz which was originally the Vehovay society a division Of William Penn Insurance where they held the October Fest called the Szureti Bal in which I danced and they used to string grapes across the room which dancers would pull off and if caught they went before a policeman (csendor) and pay a fine. They also had dinners every Sunday there. Rose Antal and I danced there when we were about 8 Years old in costume. I can remember many names which could be included. I now remember who your folks were  on Lyon street and you also look familiar to me. On lyon there was your family, the Lakatos, Kadar, Antal, Pinter,Bankics, Szabo, Soltesz, Tar, Zelenak etc. There were also many on Keller and Melville also Sire and Fortune. I knew a lot of people there. We used to make an ice skateing rink on Leigh field each winter and played ball in the summer. A friend of mine Bill Sulak and his dad and brother used to peddle chickens and produce by truck all over. Wow what wonderful memories.
My Dad is buried in Holy Cross Cemetary. Now there is also Our Lady of Hope in Southgate or it may be Wyandotte where the latest Hunkies of Catholic faith are interred as Holy Cross is about full. I also forget the Bacso family on Lyon Street. We lived at 9213 and it's still there. Behind us on Keller was the Yurko family who belonged to the reformed church. Did you possibly know the Mosher family on Lyon or the Kulcsyk family? the girl married a Pittsburgh  Pirate ball player but forgot his name. I believe Monsignor Nagy is also in Holy Cross. Did you possibly know George Cselenyak on Melville. I'll keep you posted if I recall anything else of importance or if you have any unanswered questions that I can help with feel free to ask.

Hello again and sorry I forgot to mention the three music ensembles who were Zsigi Bela king of the gypsies who mainly played at the original Village and at some funerals and concerts, and a few weddings. John Brenkacs the most popular one mainly played at weddings and festivals and made records. The other one was a local Delrayer  named Joe Balint who played mosty at weddings. and he and Brenkacs would alternate at the Sunday picnics. I apologize for these mistakes of mind.. I guess that's it for a while unless I can think of anything important. Jo Estet Kivannok, (I Bid You Goodnight) Bob

Al's Lounge made a soup on Sunday called Becsinalt Leves which was made with the neck bones, gizzards, hearts and livers of the chickens with a liver dumpling which enhanced the flavor and they couldn't make enough of it to satisfy the demands. They also served wiener scnitzel which we call pecsenye and the pastries were excellent along with the beers or wine of your choice for a reasonable price. None of the current kitchens could stand up to it. Als daughter Betty was a good friend of my cousin Mary and they hung out together. I personnally never heard of the so called Belle of Delray or of any people of Indian descent living there and I knew a horde of people and as much as I got around I'd have heard of it. I used to have an underground fort at Delray field (on leigh) as all the kids of keller, lyon, melville, thaddeus and pulaski played there. We skated there in winter by a rink we all built and firemen filled it. The baby creek pond did not flow into woodmere as that pond was always there. My cousin is buried on the slope there and the geese etc have been there for as long as I can remember. I recall there were only four hungarian churches in Delray. The reformed church, Holy Cross, St. John greek catholic and the Lutheran church on thaddeus. I could probably write a book about the place as much as I loved it. I was very popular as a young man due to my exposure at dances, picnics and radio they all called me Bobby. Always good to hear from you.

Added Feb 2010:

Hi Richard, just a note about us real delrayers. I was born there and raised like they are raised in europe. I knew our language before I knew english cause that's all my parents spoke at home. My brothers and sisters spoke english most of the time. I was also sent to hungarian school from the time I was 6 till about 12 to learn to read and write the language. I recall at 8 years of age I could repair my own shoes as we had the metal fixtures to do so. We'd get the leather at the dime store and then we'd nail them together and trim with a knife and then put cleats on the heels to make them last longer. We used to go to the farm and buy and kill a hog every October and take it home and in the basement we'd cut it up to make head cheese, kolbasz and hurka and hams also bacon (szalonna) and smoke them in barrels outside and hang them up in the cellar for later. She would also make her own sourkraut and sour pickles. She canned many veggies etc and only bought what we needed at the grocery store. My mom would render the fat and make lye soap for washing clothes and actually to bathe with. We had to eat everything my mom would make and learn to like it. No animals or poultry meat was ever wasted as every part was eaten even the crowns of chickens and the feet. My mom would spread the brains on bread and just like bone marrow it was eaten.  My generation will soon be gone as we are the remains of first born here in the USA and our language and customs die with us what a shame. What you are doing will help keep the tradition going. Thanks for that and may you receive your reward when your time comes around. Your friend Bob


Bob at age 8.
Dances with Nancy Luckacs at the Magyar Haz
Bob at age 12.
Dances at the Grape Festival
(Magyar Haz)
(Click on image to enlarge)


This entire site Copyrighted 2008 and Forever by R. S. Bujaki