History Center Accepting Reservations for 2012 History Makers Luncheon

Monday, October 15, 2012

 

The Chattanooga History Center is accepting reservations for its 7th Annual History Makers Luncheon at which it will honor The Legacy of Mose and Garrison Siskin.

The annual History Makers Award recognizes local individuals or groups who have made significant contributions to Chattanooga, the region, the state, or the country.

  Past honorees include; Ruth Holmberg, Rev. Paul McDaniel, and Dalton Roberts; Mr. & Mrs. Jack T. Lupton and the Lyndhurst Foundation; the Howard High School Student Led Sit-Ins of 1960;  Fletcher Bright and the Dismembered Tennesseans; the Legacy of the William E. Brock, Sr. Family; and Chattanooga Venture and Vision 2000. 

The 2012 award will recognize the far reaching impact the work and philanthropy of the Siskin brothers has had on the Chattanooga area, and, through the Siskin Hospital and the Siskin Children's Institute, continues to have.   The award, an original sculpture by Cessna Decosimo, will be presented at a luncheon at 11:30am-1:00pm, Wednesday, November 7th, at the Chattanooga Convention Center.  Mose and Garrison Siskin's children, Claire Siskin Binder, Anita Siskin Levine, Helen Siskin Pregulman, and Robert H. Siskin, will accept the award.   

 The History Makers Luncheon is the History Center’s major fund raiser of the year.  Individual tickets are $65, and table sponsorships are available.  For information, call 265-3247.

The Honoree’s Story

Robert H. Siskin, Mose and Garrison's father, immigrated from Lithuania in the 1890's to escape religious persecution.  Steered to Chattanooga by a companion on the ship, he became an itinerant peddlar, covering a 75 mile route on foot and carrying his merchandise.  He saved the money to bring his wife to Chattanooga, and, in 1900, became a partner in a scrap metal business named Rubin and Siskin Iron & Metal. 

 Son, Mose, was also born in 1900, and Garrison, in 1903.  In 1910, Siskin bought out his partner, and, with $6 starting capital, set up his own business, R.H. Siskin & Sons, though his boys were only 7 and 10 years old at the time.  The boys had already been contributing to the family income by selling milk from the family cow, and selling newspapers on the street.  The boys made a soapbox wagon and gathered metal scraps, bottles and whatever salvageable junk they could find.  Robert Siskin died in 1926, and Mose and Garrison succeeded him, and built their company into one of Chattanooga's most successful businesses.

  In 1942, Garrison suffered a serious injury to his leg, and amputation seemed likely.  He made a promise to God that, if his leg was spared, he would devote his life to helping those in need.  He received whole-hearted support from his brother, and Mose is reported to have said, "Your promise is my promise."  The Siskin Memorial Foundation, the Siskin Children's Institute, the Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation and many lesser known good works followed, and continue to impact countless families and individuals in the region.

 The Siskin story is the quintessential American rags to riches story, but with an important difference.  Google that phrase, quintessential American rags to riches story, and you will find example after example, such as Fitzgerald's Gatsby, Hubert Humphrey, Starbucks owner Howard Schultz, vaudeville theater owner Alexander Pantages, Benjamin Franklin, even a Dancing With the Stars contestant.  All those people were great achievers, and some even achieved greatness.   If you dig, you may find others who, like the Siskin brothers, turned their wealth toward people in need and set up institutions to carry the work forward to future generations, but they are few. The Siskins were different.  Their pursuit of the American Dream  brought better lives to thousands.

 

 


Catoosa County Historical Society Meets Monday

The Catoosa County Historical Society will meet on Monday at 7 p.m. at the Old Stone Church Museum in Ringgold. This meeting will be different from their usual one. Instead of a speaker, there will be a Show and Tell program. Anyone possessing an item or items from the past and who would like to share the knowledge of the item(s) is encouraged to bring the item and participate ... (click for more)

History Center Presentation on Chattanooga Photography is January 24

The Chattanooga History Center will present "Say Cheese!" Photography and the Chattanooga Story , for ages 8-13 at 2:30-4:00pm on Saturday, January 24th, 2015 at the Center. This program offers a great opportunity for family members to explore history together.  Participants will learn about photographic processes from daguerreotypes to instagrams.  They will learn to ... (click for more)

Girl Stabs Boy Twice At Lookout Valley Middle High School

A female student stabbed a male student twice at Lookout Valley Middle High School on Thursday morning. Sheriff Jim Hammond the students are seventh graders. He  said the boy was taken by ambulance and went into surgery after the mid-morning stabbing.  He said the boy received a superficial wound to the neck and a more serious wound to the stomach.  However, ... (click for more)

Chief Fletcher Gives Maximum Punishment To Officer Who Fired At Vehicle That Backed Toward Him; Attorney Vows To Fight To Reverse Decision

Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher has given a maximum punishment to an officer who fired four shots toward a vehicle after he said the driver backed into his vehicle with him standing behind it. Chief Fletcher sustained a finding of “improper use of force – discharge of firearm.” He suspended Officer Alex Olson for 30 days without pay – the maximum suspension allowed ... (click for more)

Shelley Andrews Will Be Missed - And Response

Shelley Andrews was one of the kindest, most thoughtful and most effective laborers in our community.  Her work with the Friends of Moccasin Bend was exemplary.  She listened, she learned and she led with dignity and class. Her brave battle with ovarian cancer was a testament to her positive spirit and commitment to her work on behalf of the people of this region. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: This One’s For ‘Grifter’

Back in October of 2013 a Facebook page called “OAF Nation” was created to “boost the morale” of the heroes who make up our nation’s military.” It was tongue-in-cheek satire, putting funny captions on every-day pictures that showed members of the Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard as they defended our country. Our fighting men and women loved it. It quickly went viral and today ... (click for more)