New York Greatest Summer Resort in the Country

Unidentified, untitled, and undated newspaper article from Pop’s scrapbook.  Hard to argue with this sort of convincing evidence though.

1924+ NY is summer retreat Broadway GardensThat 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.


Billy Named President of Stage Craft Restaurant Theatres, Inc.

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.

1924+ Billy named president of Restaurant Theaters IncW. 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.


High-Class Vaudeville at the Monte Carlo: Bobbie Adams

1922 Bobby Adams Vaudeville photo

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.

1921+ California Ramblers at Monte Carlo

Blanks Are Filled. Now, More Questions!

question panelTo recap what we discovered about Billy Gallagher and his family previously (items in bold are new information):

William Gallagher b. ~1847 Ireland m. ~July 1869 to Catherine Fields “Kate” (b. Pennsylvania)


  1. William J. “Billy” b. 8 Sept 1870
  2. Frances “Fannie” b. 1873 m. Joseph Zarnski 1893
  3. Lizzie b. Jul 1874  d. 17 May 1883 Camden, NJ of ‘malarial fever’ 
  4. Emma b. 1877 m. Daniel J. Woods 1904
  5. Joseph b. Apr 1880 m. Alma Louise ?? 1901-02
  6. Benjamin Franklin “Frank” b. Apr 1884
  7. Lillian “Lillie” b. Jun 1886 m. Michael John Durkin 1905 (which is the subject of this post on my other blog)
  8. Bertie b. Oct 1888 d. 3 may 1892, Camden, NJ of ‘acute meningitis’
  9. Unknown child (d. before 1900)
  10. Unknown child (d. before 1900)

Billy married Mary Wilsey around 1892 (still looking for that documentation) and had the following children:

  1. Burnet J. b. 23 May 1893  d. bef 900
  2. Joseph b. May 1894 m. Agnes O’Toole 1919
  3. Bernard b. Jun 1898
  4. Walter b. 22 Feb 1902 m. Ruth Olmstead 1921; m. Ruth Burrows 1922
  5. 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.

Billy Gallagher (Lotta) 1910 US census clip

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.

Unk Gallagher 1910 US census clip

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.

Gallagher-Weeks charter 1921 NY Times

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:

Gallagher-Weeks ad 1923 PA
Gallagher-Weeks ad 1922 NY Top: Times Herald (Olean, NY) 12 Aug 1922, p12 col3; Bottom: Evening Standard (Uniontown, PA) 17 Mar 1923, p2 col3

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!

… in which I attempt to fill in some blanks

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:

1025 Broadway Camden

It looks like William was working in a planing mill.

William 1880 p1

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).

William 1885 The following year, a daughter, Lillie, would be born.  The couple had a total of 10 children by 1900, but only six survived to that date.

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.

Billy 1900

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.

William 1900

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!

Regular Programming Will Resume Shortly …

CBS_News_Bulletin_1963The next dated entry in the scrapbook is from 1932.  That’s a pretty big jump, considering the last entry was from 1923.  Now, there are many undated entries that may fall between these dates, but I am having a hard time nailing down any definite dates.  I was curious what happened during this period of time that wasn’t worthy of being recorded in the scrapbook.

I felt compelled to interrupt the scrapbook entries and focus on the story.

Making a Supreme Court Case Out of It

The other night, my aunt sent me a link in an email and said “Have you seen this?”  It was a link to an item in GoogleBooks.  My first instinct was that it was unrelated because (1) we’re searching for Gallaghers, which is quite common, and (2) we’re never THAT lucky.

I was wrong.

What she found was the 693-page record of an appeal to the Supreme Court of New York County Appeal Division on a 1929 case involving Billy Gallagher.  The case itself is virtually irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, but the testimony offered throughout the case from various witnesses is priceless!

Walter’s Dossier

My great grandfather’s police department file is resting peacefully on the corner of my desk following a traumatic mission of frantic scanning and digital organizing.  Fortunately, nearly every single piece of paper in that file has a date on it, which will make it easy to fill in some of the blanks for Walter.  Even better, some of those papers coincide with some of the articles in the scrapbooks.

I will try to weave the testimony from the court case and the police department records into the articles from the scrapbook to fill out the story a little more than I could with just the scrapbooks.

Stay tuned for a story riddled with deception, intrigue, debauchery, and more!


November 1923: The Bean Scoffers

I was hesitant to put a date on this article.  It is clearly published in the Daily Mirror – which I can only assume is a New York newspaper – but the first issue of the Daily Mirror in New York was not published until 1924.  However, the date that is written in the scrapbook is 1923, so that’s what we’ll go with for now.

At the very least, we can be sure that our ancestors did indeed have a sense of humor.


1923 11 00 - The Bean Scoffers p1The Bean Scoffers

By Gene Fowler

Knives are trumps tonight at Billy Gallagher’s milk and honey depot, the Monte Carlo.  Champion Jack Dempsey is entertaining there.  His guests of honor include Luis Angel Firpo, champion prune and been demolisher of the Andes, and Tex Rickard, the charlotte russe magnate of Madison Square.

There will be speeches, and will you please excuse Firpo for talking with his mouth full?  Once Firpo and Dempsey were enemies.  Now they are thick.  But we don’t mean the kind of “thick” that one might infer from this observation.

Sporting writers and their grandsons will be there in droves.  Chauncey DePew has sent his regrets.  The famous after-dinner speaker is quoted as having failed to [sic]

“I am strictly a Marquis of Queensberry after-dinner speaker.  From where I sit, it looks as though I wouldn’t get any dinner.  There will be entirely too much competition when the Blue Plate Special steams into the station.  No eat, no speak!  That’s the motto of the DePews.”

1923 11 00 - The Bean Scoffers p2

Say, What’s Eating on Firpo, Anyway?

Wall Street is laying heavy odds on Firpo to win the Billy Gallagher championship belt.  This belt is inlaid with Bermuda onions and Florida grapefruit.  It must be won three times in succession before it becomes the permanent property of any one food-destroyer.  Inside advices have it that Firpo will solve this question of perennial ownership by eating the belt once he has won it.

Dempsey, the host, will enter the lists himself.  He is said to be in great gastronomical form.  The fact that $90,000 income tax had to be paid made it necessary for the Champ to starve a month.  This was a lucky thing, as it will make the Dempsey-Firpo nosebag futurity a real race.

Joe Bannon Spurns the Victual Watch

Billy Gallagher is referee.  Joe Bannon, the Duke of William Street, would have been timekeeper.  But Joe was afraid it would be too brutal.  Hence, he sailed on the S. S. Berengaria.  Commissioner Enright will act as Club Physician.  Anyone caught cheating in such manner as hiding a side of beef under the table will be automatically disqualified.  Contestants who drop gravy on the necktie instead of in the proper receptacle will be warned.

At the command of the referee, which shall consist of a gentle rap with a meat cleaver on the neck, a scoffer and his steak shall break cleanly.  Fighting trunks shall consist of a napkin knotted under either ear.  Celery and lettuce is barred, as it makes too much noise.  Give Firpo ten heads of lettuce and a cluster of celery and it sounds as if he is half-soling a pair of Epinard’s shoes.

Referee Gallagher has issued explicit orders that no contestant shall eat the pictures on the wall.  Anybody detected gnawing upholstery on the chairs will be set back two yards.  The wrinkle-crowding classic makes it look like a year of famine for the boys on Broadway.  Nothing will be left when those Dempsey guests get through with their rations.


Luis Angel Firpo (aka “The Wild Bull of the Pampas”) was the first Argentinian to challenge the world heavyweight title.  Even though he lost to Dempsey in a controversial match in September 1923, he returned to Argentina a hero.  After a few uneventful comebacks, he retired in 1936 and became a car dealer for Stutz and by 1940 had a successful ranching business.  Firpo and Jack Dempsey teamed up to manage amateur boxer Abel Cestac, who later became the heavyweight champion of South America.

Chauncey DePew was a senator from New York, and a lot of other things.  Here is a brief biography.

I’m pretty sure Joe Bannon was a muckety-muck of some sort, but it was difficult to find any information on him or his title “Duke of William Street.”  However, this is a history of the S.S. Berengeria (aka RMS Imperator), in case you wondered.

Commissioner Enright could quite possibly be Police Commissioner (1918-1925) Richard Enright.  His wikipedia page is here.


Sept 14, 1923: News of New York’s Popular Hotels and Smart Restaurants

This was the only portion of this article that was preserved.  The fight that was broadcast would be Jack Dempsey’s last successful defense of his Heavyweight Champion boxing title.  85,000 people were watching the fight live, and it was broadcast via radio as far away as Argentina.  Dempsey defeated Firpo in a 2nd round KO.

1923 09 14 - News of NY Popular Hotels and Restaurants

September 14, 1923 – Newspaper unknown

One Installs Latest in Radio to Bring in Sporting Events – Andrew Club Has Annual Dinner – Fall Rush Gets Under Way.

By David G. Casem.

An experiment of connecting a highly developed amplifying public address system to a powerful, multiple-tube radio set in a restaurant, was conducted last night in the Monte Carlo, Broadway and Fifty-first street, during the Dempsey-Firpo battle.  Every patron in the crowded establishment was “sold on the proposition,” as salesmen say.  And it was not without reason. Many of them, having sets of their own, were amazed by the perfection attained by the Western Electric’s engineers in the development of its amplifying system, which is being installed in hundreds of the country’s largest hotels to aid speakers in reaching their audiences.

Hooked to the radio set last night the system brought the fight to the restaurant floor in all its realism.  J. Andrew White’s voice, it was demonstrated while he was describing the preliminaries, could be so amplified as to be thunderous in its volume.

Pierson A. Anderson, commercial radio engineer of the Western Electric Company, installed the Monte Carlo’s equipment and supervised its operation during the battle.  Later he showed the efficacy of the amplifying system by tuning in far Western orchestras, to the music of which the patrons had the novelty of dancing on the large floor.

The instruments are to be used during all sporting events of importance in the future, says Walter Gallagher, floor manager of the Monte Carlo, who was responsible for the innovation …. Frank McGuire, formerly with the Hotel Commodore and a number of well-known Broadway restaurants, has joined the Monte Carlo staff as an assistant to Walter Gallagher.


As depicted in this cartoon (date and newspaper unknown), Jack Dempsey was obviously a frequent patron of Billy Gallagher’s establishments.  The club pictured is the “underground” cabaret on 7th Avenue between 47th and 48th; not to be confused with the Monte Carlo on Broadway.


… apparently they weren’t kidding:

Dempsey visits Billy Gallagher's - no date

Here’s another publicity photo taken during a dinner for newspapermen by Dempsey at the Monte Carlo:

Pair of Jacks and Flock of Queens p1 - no date Pair of Jacks and Flock of Queens p2 - no date






This isn’t the last we see of Jack Dempsey …




Meet Walter Gallagher

Walter W. Gallagher is the eldest son of William J. “Little Billy” Gallagher.  He followed in his father’s footsteps in the entertainment industry, acting as manager for several of his father’s establishments, and even running a few of his own.


Walter Gallagher business card

This is his business card when he was Manager at Billy Gallagher’s Broadway Gardens Restaurant:






Rainbo Gardens Card (Atlantic City) - Walter Gallagher Manager

Here is another when he was Manager at Rainbo Gardens in Atlantic City:






And he was running the Monte Carlo “barely out of his teens” – and the media was predicting a bright future for him!

Wally Gallagher runs Monte Carlo - no date Wally Gallagher, son of the popular Billy Gallagher, is putting over the handsome Monte Carlo all by himself.  Although scarcely out of his teens he already knows all the tricks of the trade and he seldom, if ever, has anything put over on him.  There’s no prettier restaurant in town than the “Monte,” formerly the Club Maurice, and Wally conducts it in a high class manner.  He sure is a “chip of the old block,” it being a case of like father like son, and if Wally keeps on as he is going some day he may be as popular as his dad – if such a thing is possible – as up to date no one yet has been able to endanger Billy Gallagher’s reign as the king of restaurateurs.

In June 1929, Walter applied for and was appointed as a patrolman in the Ridgefield (NJ) Police Department, where he would become popular in a whole different way.


Stay tuned!


Meet Billy Gallagher

William J. (affectionately known as “Little Billy”) Gallagher was born around the late 1860s/early 1870s, either in Ireland or Camden, New Jersey (I have conflicting stories).  He was something of a “big deal” in New York restaurant/entertainment circles in back in the day.  Several of the entries in the earliest scrapbook are about him or one of his cabarets.  He was a restaurateur/night club proprietor for about 40 years.

Billy Gallagher business card

This is the front and back of his business card for his underground cabaret in New York City.  His cabaret on Seventh Avenue was open from about 1919 until his death in 1934.  Many of these items are undated, so I can only guess as to when they were created.


When he put on a show, he really put on a show.  He was, after all, “The Nations Host from Coast to Coast.”  (I’m still looking for any of his establishments on the west coast).  Here is a flyer for one of his special events.  I believe it’s from 1933, since that’s the most likely year before Billy’s death in which October 30th fell on a Monday (the only other possible year would have been 1922).  Plus, Henny Youngman would have only been 16 years old in 1922.  Unfortunately, I’ve never heard of Pat Goode, Marie Austin, Gerty Dwyer, Bubbles Shelby, Allyn Reese, Mary Titus, or Lillian Wayne.

Apparently, Henny Youngman was a regular entertainer at Billy Gallagher’s.  Here is a flyer for another event, clearly in favor of repealing the Volstead Act.

Billy Gallagher Election Day Party p3-4

… and seriously – how can you go wrong with acts like “Twelve Appealing Repealers”?  He’s also added Billie Roberts and Accordionist Pete Marconi to the act!  (And no, I won’t comment on the misuse of apostrophes in this one).

Sometimes the party theme was even more blatantly political:

Billy Gallagher Election Day Party p1   Billy Gallagher Election Day Party p2

This one is clearly from 1933.  I can see how it might have been difficult to run a cabaret-style club during Prohibition.  But somehow (I’m not at liberty to say), Billy made it work.  And the people – and celebrities – kept coming.

I think I’m going to enjoy getting to know Billy!