Weddings: Bringing People Together

Ben & Connie's Reception at Horvath's

Ben and Connie

Ethnic identity plays an important role in family gatherings and religious celebrations.  Weddings offer especially joyful opportunities for sharing ethnic food, speaking one’s native language, singing old songs, and reconnecting with family and friends.

By the 1950s, mixed marriages were becoming common in Youngstown.  During the first half of the twentieth century, many European immigrants in the Youngstown area lived primarily within their own ethnic communities.  Even within the steel mills, people were assigned jobs according to nationality, a policy that discouraged the development of relationships across ethnic lines.  By the 1940s, however, workplace policies changed, and white working-class families began to move to the suburbs, creating opportunities for increased inter-ethnic friendships and romances.

That history becomes concrete when we listen to the stories of individuals.  In this interview, Ben Oberman remembers how he met his wife Connie, his wedding at Mt. Carmel, the wedding reception, and honeymoon.

Horvath's Tea Room

Horvath's Tea Room

In the early 1950s, one of the popular sites for wedding receptions was Horvath’s Tea Room, on the south side.

Along with the usual festivities, Horvath’s also created an audio recording, with greetings from wedding guests, a short interview with the bride and groom, and a few songs.  These recordings give us a glimpse into the ethnic history of Youngstown, allowing us to hear greetings from the guests in several languages and accents.   The songs seem to have been chosen by the Horvath’s emcee.  In both of the recordings we have, the guests sing the same songs in Italian and English, but each also has a song in an Eastern European language – Polish or Slovakian.

In the following links, you can hear the recordings from two weddings that occurred in 1950 at Horvath’s:

Ben and Connie at their wedding

Ben and Connie at their wedding

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Mae Lariccia and Joseph Vargo's wedding reception at Horvath's

4 Responses to “Weddings: Bringing People Together”

  1. Irene Loser says:

    I was married and had my reception at Horvath’s. Could you give me the address where it was located? It was a lovely place.The names were Schilling and Kusalaba.

  2. Chad Horvath says:

    I have been doing research on my families tea room. It was great to see some pictures from there.

  3. Jeremy Cook says:

    Great work. What a time capsule !!

  4. Ben, John, & Sally Oberman says:

    Glad that Sally & Ben L.got together on this. I feel like a celebrity now. Thanks to the girls, too. Happiness Is ! Love, Ben Oberman

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