Lawrence B. Goldsmith, Sr. (b1883)

From Catalogue

Annie Schiffman and Lawrence Bernstein Goldsmith 'Courting' (from Catalogue)

Left to right: Irma Schiffman, Lawrence Bernstein Goldsmith, Sr. and Annie Schiffman Goldsmith (from 5 Generations)
Born:April 12, 1883, Huntsville, AL
Died:February 17, 1973, Huntsville, AL
Office:The I. Schiffman Building
Son of:Betty Bernstein Goldsmith
Son of:Oscar Goldsmith
Husband of:Annie Schiffman Goldsmith
Father of:Lawrence B. Goldsmith, Jr. (b1909)
Grandfather of:Margaret Anne Goldsmith


•  "Lawrence B. Goldsmith, Sr., was educated at Weingarts, a prep school in New York City. After graduation, he went to a business school in Cincinnati, Ohio. He began his career in partnership with his brother-in-law, Edward Grosser. For eight years the two operated a men's clothing store by the name of 'Goldsmith and Grosser Co.' In 1909 Lawrence joined his father-in-law, Isaac Schiffman, in the investment and cotton business. The business was incorporated years later in 1933 at 'I. Schiffman & Co., Inc.' Lawrence served as president from 1936 until his death in 1972. His activities at I. Schiffman ranged from operating one of the oldest automobile dealerships in Huntsville for more than forty years to selling and leasing commercial property in town and overseeing farm property throughout Madison County." - 5 Generations

•  Married Annie Schiffman (daughter of Isaac Schiffman and Elizabeth Herstein) on April 29, 1908. This is the marriage that linked the Schiffman and Goldsmith families together. Their wedding took place at Temple B'nai Sholom, Huntsville, Alabama. - 5 Generations

•  Public Square 1922: office on east side #14 (shared "Mrs. Bettie and R. L. Schiffman and L. B. Goldsmith) - Record

•  "The City of Huntsville established the Huntsville Electric Utility Board to operate the Electric System in 1940. The first board consisted of Mr. J. F. Chambers, Mr. L. B. Goldsmith and Mr. George S. Elliott." - Sesquicentennial

•  "The Huntsville Kiwanis Club was organized on June 25, 1919, and granted a charter July 14, 1919, but due to the inability of the International Officials being present at that time it was officially presented November 20, 1919." L. B. Goldsmith was a charter member - Sesquicentennial

•  Thirty-second-degree Mason - 5 Generations

•  "He was an active supporter of the Boy Scouts and served as treasurer of the local council from 1927 until 1937. His contribution to this group is evidenced by the commendation they gave him, the 'Silver Beaver.'" - 5 Generations

•  In Margaret Anne Hanaw Goldsmith's article about her family, she included Lawrence's own account of the expansion in Huntsville. Follow the link below to read it and other details of his life. - 5 Generations

•  Served on Governor Frank Dixon's staff (1939-1943). - 5 Generations

•  The Huntsville Industrial Expasion Committee by George Mahoney
     "A public spirited group of businessmen realizing the necessity of bringing new industry into our community organized the Huntsville Industrial Expasion Committee of the Chamber of Commerce.
     On September 7, 1944 the following men, Karl Woltersdorf, Lawrence Goldsmith, M. B. Spragins, Reece T. Amis, F. H. Thomas, and George M. Mahoney, met with Mr. Fitzgerald Hall, president of the N. C. & St. Louis Railroad, Mr. Brownlee Curley, industrialist from Nashville, Tennessee, and Mr. Robert Strickland, president of the Trust Company of Atlanta.
     This was a breakfast meeting given by Mr. Hall on his private car near the N. C. & St. L. depot. The committee present heard the many helpful suggestions of the three visiting gentlemen and the outcome of this meeting was the formation of the Huntsville Industrial Expansion Committee.
     A meeting was held on September 11th at which time about 100 businessmen were called together to officially organize Huntsville Industrial Expansion Committee, nominate officers, and to adopt a constitution and by laws for the new organization.
     On September 19th, another meeting was held at which time a goal of $25,000.00 was set to be raised by public subscriptions. George Mahoney was elected president; M. B. Spragins, vice-president; L. B. Goldsmith, treasurer; and F. H. Thomas, secretary. Other directors were Karl Woltersdorf, F. N. Sefton, C. J. Mock, Percy Noble, J. F. Chambers, H. E. Monroe, C. B. Ragland, K. E. Thomas, Charles E. Shaver, F. H. Ford, Earnest White, W. O. Mason, Dr. E. V. Caldwell, and Edward McGregor.
     A number of other meetings were held at which time a Fund Chairman and other Chairmen were appointed. One of the important committees, the Brochure Committee, produced, through their effort, a very attractive booklet pertaining to the many advantages of locating industry in Madison County.
     Solicitations of funds began shortly after the meeting of September 19th and the goal of $25,000.00 was subscribed.
     Unique in its composition is the Huntsville Industrial Expansion Committee, since the funds raised could only be used for promotion, entertainment, and travel. No funds could be used for the purchase of sites or other physical properties.
     Two of the early industries brought into Huntsville were the John Blue Company, manufacturers of farming implements, and the General Shoe Corporation of Nashville, Tennessee, makers of shoes.
     Many other organizations and industries have been brought to our community through the efforts of this organization. Much credit must be accorded this organization for its work in bringing to reality a long cherished dream of great industrial progress for Huntsville and Madison County.
     Under the leadership of its present president, dynamic Carl T. Jones, the H.I.E.C. has been successful in obtaining the P. R. Mallory and Norton Company plants.
     The next ten years will see the largest industrial boom in our history. Much of the credit will go to H.I.E.C. for the part it is playing. - Sesquicentennial

•  "Before 1935 was over the county had its first Welfare Director, T. L. McRae. The first board was composed of Mrs. Humphrey, Mrs. C. T. Butler, Lawrence Goldsmith, Aaron Fleming, Thompson Kelly, Eva Quick, Harry Williamson and Phil Peeler. Along with this, the County, for the first time in its history, abolished the Poor House - or Alms House - as many called it. The building at the end of Hermitage was abandoned and later torn down, as the Welfare Department began to take care of the poor, who were usually placed with relatives and appropriations given the family. In 1935 there were 63 poorhouses in the state, but by 1953 they would be down to two." - Record

•  "In December, 1949, Alabama Gas Corp. asked the Council for a 20-year franchise, with no payment for the privilege. The Council refused and the company offered to sell its holdings to the city for $39,000-lock, stock, and barrel, literally. The price included land, improvements thereon, propane storage, generating, mixing, metering and pumping equipment, the entire distribution system?mains, pipes, valves, fittings, regulators, meters on consumers' premises, automotive equipment (a truck and a sedan), and office furniture and equipment. The Council bought. Alabama Gas employees would continue to operate the system until June, 1950.
     It was all very amicable, but there was an undercurrent of complaint in the community about government taking over private enterprise. Whatever the personal financial interests involved, the argument took the form of an ideological dispute pitting some of the big guns of local politics and civic affairs. Grady Crunk, Alabama Gas Corporation's manager in Huntsville, Lawrence Goldsmith and Morton Hutchens and others warned of the dangers in public ownership of utilities. Here reverberated the national angst over 'creeping socialism' that culminated, at its most benign, in the Dixon-Yates proposals to sell TVA and, at its most paranoid, in McCarthyism. In the opposite comer were Milton Cummings, (before Brown Engineering) a cotton broker, close friend and ally of Senator John Sparkman; and Reese T. Amis, editor of The Huntsville Times. Then-Councilman Wilson remembers taking more political heat on this issue than on any other in his term." - McCauley

•  "This antebellum home, owned by the Bernstein-Goldsmith families since 1875, was occupied by Mrs. and Mrs. Lawrence B. Goldsmith, Jr. until his death in 1995. Mr. Goldsmith's daughter, Margaret Anne Goldsmith Hanaw, inherited the house and subsequently leased it to Wesfam Restaurants, Inc., a franchise organization of Burger King owned by the Wessel family, to use as their corporate headquarters. Ms. Hanaw's adaptive reuse restoration of the house to provide offices for Wesfam while maintaining its 1924 interior and exterior decor, received an Historic Preservation Award from the Historic Huntsville Foundation in 1997. The house is designated as a contributing property within a National Historic District.
     The house has a recessed portico formed by extending one-story wings which are covered by a gambrel roof, thus creating a charming Dutch Colonial effect not found in any of the early homes. Four Doric columns are made from solid wood. Lovely leaded-glass sidelights and overhead light frame the doorway. The cornice is decorated with dentils extending across the wings.
     The site on which the house is located and the lot behind it are unique in that these two lots have nearly always been owned together. This property was purchased from the city commissioners to whom LeRoy Pope had sold it. The earliest portion of the house, built in 1818, consisted of the two front rooms and connecting entrance hall. Phillip A. Foote, a local merchant, was in possession of the house from 1819 until 1825.
     In 1827 John Brahan, already residing on the property, bought it for $4,000. Brahan, for whom Brahan Spring was named, was a large landholder, city commissioner, and Receiver of Public Monies in the Federal Land Office. In 1833 he sold the house and the adjoining lot to Dr. Edmund Irby, whose family retained ownership for many years.
     Two upstairs bedrooms and the lovely stairway with its delicately turned balusters were later additions to the structure. The house was essentially completed in 1834, which was noted on a copper downspout.
     At one time two of the present owners' great-grandfathers, Robert Herstein and Morris Bernstein, owned the back lot jointly. Later Mr. Herstein sold his interest to Mr. Bernstein who also purchased the house in 1874. Mrs. Bernstein was a close friend of her neighbor Miss Howard Weeden, well known Huntsville artist and poet. Ownership next passed to the Bernstein's grandson, Lawrence B. Goldsmith, Sr.
     During extensive remodeling in the 1920's, the house was enlarged and modern conveniences were added. Clapboard siding was removed. Both exterior and interior eighteen inch thick brick walls were stuccoes, moldings applied to the walls, and a basement and separate garage added.
     The living room, originally a bedroom, contains a fine Adam mantel. The large mantel in the dining room is of a simpler style. An antique family portrait of children is especially interesting.
     Surprisingly, no residence has ever stood on the lot behind the house - only a stable. A picturesque white picket fence surrounds the lovely back lawn which at one time contained 100 rose bushes. The Bernstein and Goldsmith stone carriage blocks are located in the yard. A 50-year-old shittim wood tree stands near a huge Japanese magnolia." - AAUW

•  "On January 25, 1934, Oscar Goldsmith, Lawrence B. Goldsmith, Annie Schiffman Goldsmith, Robert L. Schiffman, and Elsie Strauss Schiffman gave this property to the City of Huntsville for an athletic field. The gift was in memory of Betty Bernstein Goldsmith (wife of Oscar and mother of Lawrence) and Betty Herstein Schiffman (wife of Isaac and mother of other donors). The Civil Works Administration provided $6500 in materials and labor to construct the field, the first in Huntsville to accommodate night athletic games. The Acme Club raised funds for lighting through season ticket sales. Dedication exercises were held during the first night game on October 4, 1934, when 1000 fans saw Coach Milton Frank's Huntsville High team defeat Gadsden High. [1999: Ward Ave., Huntsville]" - Huntsville Historic Markers Index

Related Links:

•  5 Generations - Article titled "5 Generations of Life: 'My Family and the Huntsville, Alabama Jewish community' 1852-1983" by Margaret Anne Goldsmith Hanaw for Huntsville Historical Review, Volume 12, #3 & #4, Jul-82, Huntsville-Madison County Historical Society. The entire volume is connected to this family.

•  AAUW - Glimpses Into Antebellum Homes of Historic Huntsville, Alabama, Ninth Edition, by American Association of University Women, Huntsville Branch, Huntsville, Alabama, 1999, page 40.

• - Page owned by Jen White and can be viewed only with an paid subscription (Originally found at

•  Byers - Article titled "Albert Russel Erskine" by David Byers for Huntsville Historical Review, Volume 24, #2, Jul-97, Huntsville-Madison County Historical Society, page 16.

•  Catalogue - The Bernstein, Herstein, Schiffman and Goldsmith Collection: A Catalogue by Margaret Anne Goldsmith, 2014 draft.

•  Eden - Eden of the South: A Chronology of Huntsville, Alabama, 1805-2005, by Raneé G. Pruitt, Editor, 2005, page 158.

•  Find A Grave - Page originally created by Bobbie Christian and now maintained by Gene Hill.

•  Hotel - Entire Quarterly dedicated to The Russell Erskine Hotel in the Historic Huntsville Quarterly, Vol. XXX, #3-4, Fall-Winter, 2004, Historic Huntsville Foundation. Oscar Goldstein, Lawrence B. Goldstein Sr., Lawrence B. Goldstein Jr. played large roles in the hotel. There are 48 instances of the name "Goldstein" found in this quarterly and often strong statements are made like: "He worked tirelessly on its behalf for about thirty-eight years". (pages 45 - 54).

•  Huntsville Historic Markers Index - Historical marker for Goldsmith-Schiffman Field (Originally found at

•  Lawrence B. Goldsmith, Sr. and His Hollytree Camp Archive - An article authored by Margaret Anne Goldsmith

•  McCauley - Article titled "The Origins of Huntsville's Waterworks Utility Board" by Patrick McCauley for Huntsville Historical Review, Volume 25, #1, Jan-98, Huntsville-Madison County Historical Society, page 10.

•  Record - A Dream Come True: The Story of Madison County and Incidentially of Alabama and the United States, Volume II, by James Record, 1978, pages 223, 379, 399, 547.

•  Sesquicentennial - Commemorative Album, Celebrating our City's Sesquicentennial of Progress, Huntsville, Alabama, by James E. Taylor, General Chairman, 1955, pages 126, 192, 212-3.

•  The Goldsmith Family Album

•  Ward - Shaping History: The University of Alabama Huntsville Foundation, by Michael D. Ward, 2008, pages 9, 10, 23, 24.

The Following Pages Link to this Page:
•  Betty Bernstein Goldsmith
•  Oscar Goldsmith
•  Annie Schiffman Goldsmith
•  Lawrence B. Goldsmith, Jr. (b1909)
•  Margaret Anne Goldsmith
•  5 Generations
•  Byers
•  Catalogue
•  Eden
•  Hotel
•  Lawrence B. Goldsmith, Sr. and His Hollytree Camp Archive
•  McCauley
•  Record
•  Sesquicentennial
•  The Goldsmith Family Album
•  The I. Schiffman Building