This undated, unidentified article (most likely from around 1924, when Billy opened the Monte Carlo) shows why everyone loved Billy.
Paul Geittner was recently the recipient of a handsome gift — a platinum open-face watch — from “Billy” Gallagher, proprietor of the Broadway Gardens, Broadway and 48th street, and the Monte Carlo, Broadway and 51st street, New York, with whom he became associated on August 1, at the latter establishment where he has general supervision over the dining room and kitchen. The watch has the Gruen movement, and bears the monogramed [sic] initials of Mr. Geittner on the reverse side in small diamonds. The gift was in the nature of a testimonial of appreciation for the assistance Mr. Geittner rendered the donor in opening the Monte Carlo, formerly the Club Maurice.
This platinum watch was probably similar to this one, which was sold by Gruen in 1924 to commemorate its 50th Anniversary … for $500. That’s nearly $7,000 in today’s money. No wonder Billy was always broke.
In 1923, Billy’s sons Walter and Joe jumped into the “biz” with both feet and purchased the Exclusive Supper Club in New York City. Meanwhile, Billy’s getting some attention with renovations at the Broadway Gardens …
Walter Gallagher, floor manager of the Monte Carlo restaurant, owned by his father, William J. Gallagher, has branched out as a proprietor in partnership with his brother, Joseph M. Gallagher, of Broadway Gardens, in the Exclusive Supper Club, 117 West Forth-eighth street. They bought out the interest of John Mulligan. The two are planning to make it one of the best clubs of its kind in the city. The club is attractively furnished and, despite its futuristic designs, presents a cozy, intimate appearance. It has an ample dancing floor and a talented orchestra. Walter Gallagher will remain at the Monte Carlo, however.
Panel Paintings Attractive.
Coincident with the unveiling of panel paintings in the rehabilitated and redecorated Broadway Gardens, 711 Seventh avenue, this week, Mrs. Oscar Bergstrom, of San Antonio, Texas, entertained a large number of friends after a swimming party in her Riverside Drive home, where there is a tank of no mean proportions. At the same time, Mrs. John Brandeis and a party of friends from Omaha were guests of W. J. Gallagher, owner of the Gardens, which now presents a beautiful and distinctive appearance. The paintings have red-headed nymphs for their subject and the artist has succeeded in bringing to the eye all the superlatives of facial beauty, figure and coloring. Skillful manipulation of electric lights give the pictures an almost etheral [sic] look.
William J. Gallagher, of the Monte Carlo, Broadway and Fifty-first street, entertained six Pacific Coast restaurateurs, here for a “look at what’s going on,” Friday night. They were in search of innovations for their own establishments and, although the visit was planned as nothing more than a short visit or courtesy call, they stayed through the entire performance of Ted Reily’s new revue, “Livin’ High,” and watched carefully the work of Will Morrisey, popular producer and comedian, who now heads the revue, and who is the official host of the Monte Carlo. The visitors congratulated both Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Reilly on the production. Next to Mr. Morrisey, Evelyn Martin, the sensational dancer, came in for the most praise, with Donald Roberts. Ottilie Corday, Lewis and Brown running her a close second. The show has resulted in the “no more room” sign being displayed a short time after the theatres have ebeen [sic] emptied. The dinners also have increased proportionately.
This is an announcement for the opening of Walter and Joe’s club. Better get there early, they can only seat 150 people!
Unidentified, untitled, and undated newspaper article from Pop’s scrapbook. Hard to argue with this sort of convincing evidence though.
That New York grew increasingly popular as a summer resort this year has been proven by John Dockney, manager of W. J. Gallagher’s Broadway Gardens, No. 711 Seventh avenue, who has just completed the compilation of a list of guests that have been added to the restaurant’s many patrons during the last three months “Fully sixty per cent of the new faces,” said Mr. Dockney, “came from out of town and about half of them from below the Mason-Dixon line. Most of the regular patrons of every New York restaurant seek the mountains in the summer time, but business, on the whole, was far above the average of the dull season, because of the large increase in the number of persons spending their vacations here.” Mr. Dockney believes that New York is the greatest summer resort in the country and cites railway figures to prove it.
Yet another unidentified, untitled, and undated article from Pop’s scrapbook. I’ve narrowed the time frame down to sometime after 1924, since that’s when Billy borrowed the money to purchase the Monte Carlo on W. 51st Street. I attempted to find a date of incorporation, but the Secretary of State’s online search didn’t recognize the name of the corporation, and the Secretary of State’s office was unable to locate the business when I called. Unfortunately, they can only search for the exact spelling of the name of the business, and not by the name of the officers or any other search criteria.
W. J. Gallagher, owner of the Monte Carlo Restaurant Theater, Broadway at Fifty-first street, has been elected president of a new corporation that has been formed to provide a national circuit of restaurant and theater revues as well as entertainers for banquets and other public functions. Papers of incorporation which have just been signed by the Secretary of State show that the other officers are Ted Reily, vice president and general manager; J. M. Anderson, secretary and treasurer; Frank Gillen, director of the music department, and Harry Walker, casting director. The majority of the stock is held by Mr. Gallagher.
The organization is called Stage Craft Restaurant Theatres, Inc., and will be very similar in its operations to circuits like that of B. F. Keith. Restaurateurs, including many of the most important from Boston to Kansas City and from Montreal to New Orleans, were sounded out on the proposition and the response assures a wheel of at least sixteen spokes. Four New York restaurants have already signed up, and there is a possibility of several more being added. The circuit will begin operating the first week in September, rehearsals for several of the shows having already been started. … Frank Bleyler, whose voice has earned for him a place on par with John Steele, has joined the Monte Carlo comedy as juvenile. Mr. Bleyler was with the “Blushing Bride” during its entire run at the Astor Theatre. Several other new faces are being seen nightly at that popular resort, among them being Miss Lillian Randall as hostess. Miss Randall was formerly of Rector’s and the Little Club. Acting with her and in the same capacity is Miss Marian Taylor, late of the Winter Garden show, and others equally important.
This is another of the MANY undated and unidentified articles in Pop’s scrapbook. Based on the fact that reference is made to the presidential election and Thanksgiving, and Billy didn’t own the Monte Carlo until after 1920, this one is likely from mid November 1924.
Broadway Restaurateurs Ready for Thanksgiving Eve and Day – Business Increasing.
By David G. Casem.
Although the spirit of election week is still manifest on Broadway and its environs, in point of general liveliness, most of its famous eating and dancing establishments as well as its big hostelries are pointing their efforts toward Thanksgiving Eve and the day itself. Restaurateurs are well aware that the vast majority of the younger generation seek parental firesides, but there are thousands who annually find themselves unable to do so, and for these they are to furnish a good substitute. Not a few of the restaurateurs have announced that they will continue their yearly charitable dinners.
The current week probably broke many records as to crowds on Broadway and into every one of the smart establishments. There were no new openings, but the revues are of such recent vintage that they are either new to thousands of guests or have been brought to the point of newness by additional feaures [sic] or recasting.
One of the most outstanding events of the week, that is outside of celebrations incident to the election, was Jack Dempsey’s party Thursday night in William J. Gallagher’s Monte Carlo, Broadway at Fifty-first street. The champion gave a supper to forty-six of the best-known sport writers in the East. Dempsey had as his guests of honor “Tex” Rickard, Jack Renault, and Jack Kearns, his manager. Luis Firpo had been invited, but failed to put in an appearance.
The restaurant was jammed from as early as nine o’clock. The big fellow put in an appearance at half-past eleven o’clock and bowed his acknowledgements to the spontaneous cheering. In a few moments he was surrounded by guests seeking to shake his “million-dollar” hand. His natural, boyish exuberance and fun-loving proclivities earned for him a host of friends who had never seen anything but the taciturnity he assumed in battle.
Dempsey and Rickard, old friends of Mr. Gallagher’s insisted that the last named be photographed with them. Pictures were also taken of the champion sitting amid the cast of the show and orchestra, as well as with his guests. In one of them he was wielding Ace Brigode’s baton. Walter Gallagher, son of the owner, who has spent six months in touring the country, is back in the Monte Carlo again as one of his father’s personal representatives.
Needless to say, I would LOVE to have the photo of Billy with Jack Dempsey and “Tex” Rickard, but it was not among the articles in the scrapbooks. However, at least now I know when this photo was taken:
So uh … Dude. Where’s My Car?
Ted Riely, the theatrical agent who produces revues and all that sort of thing, was sitting in the Monte Carlo with Walter Gallagher the other night when he suddenly jumped up as though struck by lightning.
“What’s the matter?” asked Walter.
“I just remembered that I left my car somewhere this afternoon,” replied Ted. “I stopped several places where acts of mine are rehearsing; now I’ll have to make the rounds to try to locate my car.”
This is a new kind of absentmindedness.
“Oh, and by the way … did I forget to mention that Johnny Weismuller was a friend of your great-grandfather’s?” ~Jenny’s mom.
And by the way, did you know that Wally Gallagher two or three seasons ago was swimming in such form that he looked like a coming champion. Johnny Weismuller only beat him for a world’s title by a second and a quarter. Rich food and late hours have kind of slowed Wally up a bit.
Another unidentified and undated article from the scrapbook. This one is likely from the early 1920s.
The Monte Carlo, with its California Ramblers, an orchestra second to none, its several high-class vaudeville acts, including Bobbie Adams, is doing its share to cheer up Manhattan’s floating population. Walter Gallagher sees to it that the show is run off like clockwork.
This is one of the MANY articles that are unidentified and undated. I only know that this one is from the early 1920s because Walter is old enough to work with his father in the restaurant “biz.”
The Gallaghers, father and son, are most popular on Broadway. Billy, the pater, probably has more politicians and sportsmen “with him” than anybody in town. He has been conducting cabarets longer than anybody along the line — and he never has trouble with the police, for he never does anything to incur their displeasure. When orders go out for Billy to cut out dancing at a certain hour in his establishments he does it. Any order that comes from headquarters is carried out by Billy for he believes that in the interest of law and order the police edicts should be observed. His son, Walter, has grown up like a mushroom and is now capable of helping his father conduct his restaurants. Billy has taught his boy the business from the ground up with the result that Walter is affable, courteous, generous and shrewd. You can’t put anything over on Walter. Billy is the dean of cabaret owners — and he’s doing more business than ever in his life. Billy probably lends a helping hand to more “down and outs” and does more charitable deeds than anybody in the business. And no one ever yet heard him once look for any publicity fo the same. The only way those things have become known has been through the beneficiaries making them known.
I don’t know about anyone else, but does this article smack of propaganda? Does it have undertones of “this guy is protected by ‘the family’ so everything he does is legal”? Maybe it’s just me.
William Gallagher b. ~1847 Ireland m. ~July 1869 to Catherine Fields “Kate” (b. Pennsylvania)
- William J. “Billy” b. 8 Sept 1870
- Frances “Fannie” b. 1873 m. Joseph Zarnski 1893
- Lizzie b. Jul 1874 d. 17 May 1883 Camden, NJ of ‘malarial fever’
- Emma b. 1877 m. Daniel J. Woods 1904
- Joseph b. Apr 1880 m. Alma Louise ?? 1901-02
- Benjamin Franklin “Frank” b. Apr 1884
- Lillian “Lillie” b. Jun 1886 m. Michael John Durkin 1905 (which is the subject of this post on my other blog)
- Bertie b. Oct 1888 d. 3 may 1892, Camden, NJ of ‘acute meningitis’
- Unknown child (d. before 1900)
- Unknown child (d. before 1900)
Billy married Mary Wilsey around 1892 (still looking for that documentation) and had the following children:
- Burnet J. b. 23 May 1893 d. bef 900
- Joseph b. May 1894 m. Agnes O’Toole 1919
- Bernard b. Jun 1898
- Walter b. 22 Feb 1902 m. Ruth Olmstead 1921; m. Ruth Burrows 1922
- Unknown child (d. bef 1900)
Billy and Mary divorce shortly after Walter is born. Those records continue to elude me as well … but I will find them. In 1904, Mary has remarried and she and her three boys are living with Arthur Cohen. By 1912, they have two more children together: Arthur Jr. and David.
Here is where Billy’s life starts getting even juicier:
By 1905, Billy is living in a boarding house on W. 79th St. in Manhattan.
Sometime before 1909, Billy enters into a business partnership with
In 1910, things get a little sketchy. I found multiple census records for William Gallaghers. The first shows a 39-year-old William J Gallagher living at 510 W. 114th Street in Manhattan with a new wife named Lotta, whom he married around 1906, apparently a second marriage for both of them. His occupation is listed as the manager of a cafe.
Another is a white male identified only as “Gallagher” and listed as a lodger in a some sort of boarding house on or near Bowery Street in Manhattan (the area is current-day Chinatown). All the fields are completed as “Un” (which I take to mean ‘unknown’). Other than Billy living in a boarding house in 1905, I have little reason to believe this is my Billy Gallagher. Unfortunately, there is nothing to tell me he isn’t, either.
Fortunately, this can (hopefully) be resolved by finding the marriage record for William and Lotta (which is on my list of things to do).
On 22 Dec 1919, Billy leased the building at 727 Seventh Avenue in Manhattan from Frederick and Eleanor Hussey for 12-1/2 years and named the building the “Film Cafe.” (Probably because nearly all the tenants that he found were in the film industry or something).
In 1920 the only William J Gallagher I could find is a married, 49-year-old white male living at 508 W. 144th Street in Manhattan, and working as a restaurant keeper. His father was born in Ireland, and his mother in the United States. I believe this is the same William J Gallagher listed in the 1910 census with Lotta. Unfortunately, he is listed on a supplemental sheet that was completed in the census office three months after the census enumerators made their rounds, and I haven’t been able to locate a listing for anyone else at the same address. Perhaps Billy and Lotta have gone their separate ways by this time; perhaps Lotta died before the 1920 census … more questions that can only be answered by court records or death records.
In or around 1920, Billy marries a woman named Betty, who is nearly 30 years his junior. She is also apparently an employee in one of his clubs. Shortly after they were married, Billy bought some property in Yonkers along the bank of the Hudson River (Warburton Avenue) for about $25,000. He and Betty lived together on this property until about 1928.
Meanwhile, in August 1921 Billy enters into a business partnership with a man named John Weeks and with $10,000 capital, they obtain a charter for Gallagher-Weeks Company, manufacturer of shirts made of the cloth used to cover the wings of airplanes.
I have not been able to determine the fate of the business, but I do know that by June 1922, there were several judgments against the company for unpaid debts. There were help-wanted ads placed in newspapers throughout the northeast through 1923:
For all the business ventures Billy undertook, he was apparently always broke and borrowing money from someone. According to the court records we found, he was constantly defaulting on loans and even filed bankruptcy at least once.
Stay tuned … we’re still uncovering information!
As I mentioned in my previous post, my aunt stumbled upon a New York Supreme Court case that involved Billy Gallagher. The original trial occurred in 1929 and arose out of the sale of some property a few months before an involuntary bankruptcy petition was filed on his behalf.
This court record included hundreds of pages of testimony and exhibits that contain clues that led me to other court records, which I am in the process of requesting.
So now I’m going to hop into my Time Machine (bet you wish you had one of these!) and take us about 145 years in the past.
[cue the "rewind" sound effect]
William “Billy” Gallagher was born on September 8, 1870 to William and Kate Gallagher. William was born in Ireland around 1847 and immigrated with his family when he was only 2 years old. Kate was born in Pennsylvania. William and Kate were married around 1869, possibly July (if the 1870 census record I found is the right one).
William and Kate had at least three more children by 1880: Fannie, Lizzie, and Emma, and they were living at 1025 Broadway in Camden, New Jersey. This address looks a little something like this today:
It looks like William was working in a planing mill.
An index listing for the 1885 New Jersey census shows the family living in Camden, and now there are two more children: Joseph and Franklin. Lizzie is missing from this enumeration – I found a death record for an Elizabeth Gallagher, age 9, who died on 17 May 1883. The dates roughly fit, but I won’t know until I see the actual certificate, which I have ordered. There is also a person (whom I assume is a boarder of some sort): Watson Parker. (This name never appears in any other record at any other time, as far as I can tell).
I sort of lose track of Billy between 1885 and 1900, but during this time he marries Mary Wilsey and they have four children. Burnet J. was a male child born on May 23, 1893, but died before 1900. Joseph M. is born in May 1894, and Bernard was born in June 1898. Another child is born during that time, but dies before 1900.
In 1900, Billy and Mary are living at 201 W. 46th Street in Manhattan (which today can be found smack in the middle of Times Square). Too bad they were only renting. Billy owns a saloon located at 31st and Broadway.
I think it is also appropriate to add at this time that in 1900 Billy’s father William was ALSO a saloon keeper in Camden, New Jersey. Guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
So here is another mystery: Who is this Henry Gallagher listed with William as a boarder in 1900? He is an iron moulder and is 10 years older than William, but is supposedly born in New Jersey. I found a couple I believe to be William’s parents (Patrick and Mary – don’t get much more Irish than that, I guess) in Camden, New Jersey in 1860. William has a brother, Harry, who is an “iron moulder” and is 10 years older. Sounds plausible that this could be William’s brother. Obviously, I need to dig deeper into this.
On February 22, 1902, Billy’s son Walter is born. Shortly thereafter, likely before Walter’s first birthday, Billy and Mary are divorced.
For me, this was a big deal. This was the first divorce (the most recent two generations notwithstanding) I had run across in my entire tree. This means court records, potential church records, and who knows what else might be uncovered!
What we discovered next will surprise you too!