Frank Gentile Restaurant

1895 – 1933

Frank Gentile Cafe

1001 W. Broadway 

Frank Gentile Fruit Store

1003 W. Broadway

Frank Gentile Residences

1009 W. Broadway

1009 1/2 W. Broadway & 1011 W. Broadway

At the turn of the 20th century, the Louisville Italian population (both foreign-born and US citizens) reached approximately 1,200 people.  Among, the 1,200 were Frank Gentile and his brother Phil.

The Gentile brothers immigrated from Palermo, Sicilia, Italy in 1888.  Phil 10, and Frank 8 made their way to start a new life in Louisville, KY.

Wealth

Frank quickly prospered owning 3 fruit stores, including 1003 W. Broadway.  By 1895 he even had his own driver.

By 1905, Frank added a cafe at 1001 W. Broadway to his property holdings.  Hungry passengers seeking solace from the long train trip could exit Union Station to find Frank Gentile’s cafe right across the street; a convenient place for a bite to eat and while planning their next moves.

The year 1915 saw Frank receiving a permit to add a brick addition to his dwelling at 1011 W. Broadway to accommodate his growing family with wife, Mary (nee Salermo).

As America’s involvement in The Great War (WWI) drew closer, Frank naturalized in 1910, signed up for the draft. His draft card notes he was a Restaurant Keeper at yet another location of 1009 W. Broadway.

Phil Gentile

Meanwhile, Frank’s brother moved deeper and deeper into the underworld.  Phil’s (alias Dago Foley or Phil Foley) rap sheet included multiple prison sentences for pick-pocketing, jewelry theft, and narcotics dealing,  Frank continued to bail his brother out of jail despite the higher and higher bail bonds.

Each time Phil vowed to turn his life around even working for Frank at his restaurant for short stints; each time he went back to his criminal lifestyle.

In 1918, Phil murdered Pinkerton Detective Agent Herbert S. Andrews.  After his arrest, Frank once again posted bond for Phil while he awaited trial.  Phil was eventually acquitted by the jury based on his argument of self-defense.

 

Death

Slowly, the bonds Frank posted for his brother whittled away his fortune.  Frank sold the interest in his last property the cafe at 1001 in early 1922 and retired.

In November 1922 Frank Gentile’s committed suicide at his residence 1009 1/2 W. Broadway while his family ate breakfast in the next room.

When question his family had no idea why Frank would commit this heinous act.  Their only speculation was regarding his worry over his older brother Phil Gentile’s life in the underworld.

Sadly, Frank’s suicide left behind his young wife and 3 children.  By this time he had moved his family from their brick residence at 1011 to an apartment at 1009 1/2 behind Andrew Gentile’s fruit store.

Mary and the children remained in the apartment behind the fruit store for several years.  Mary never remarried.  Mary continued to live in the apartment at 1009 1/2 W. Broadway until 1933 when she moved up the street to a boarding house on the 2200 block of Broadway.

Unfortunately, his brother continued to live and operate in and out of the Louisville underworld well into the 1930’s.

 

Resources

“United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MHGQ-GGS : accessed 16 February 2018), Frank Gentile in household of Frank Gentile Jr., Louisville Ward 10, Jefferson, Kentucky, United States; citing ED 167, sheet 4A, line 44, family 107, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 581; FHL microfilm 1,820,581.

“United States Census, 1920,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MHGQ-GGS : accessed 16 February 2018), Frank Gentile in household of Frank Gentile Jr., Louisville Ward 10, Jefferson, Kentucky, United States; citing ED 167, sheet 4A, line 44, family 107, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 581; FHL microfilm 1,820,581.

“Kentucky Death Records, 1911-1963,” database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N91T-CTP : 20 October 2016), Frank Gentile, 09 Nov 1922; citing Louisville, Jefferson, Kentucky, United States, Office of Vital Statistics, Frankfort; FHL microfilm 1,943,752.

“World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” digital images, Ancestry.com(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 10 February 2018), Frank Gentile, serial no. 4871, order no. 5221, Division Number Six, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky; citing World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, no specific roll cited.

(1905, July 18). In Ruins. The Courier-Journal, p.1.

(1915, March 2). Records of the day in Louisville.The Courier-Journal, p. 8.

(1918, May 27). Andrew’s body sent to Gotham. The Courier-Journal, p. 3.

(1922, November 10). Ex-Restaurant man dies by his own act. The Courier-Journal, p. 14.

 

Caron’s 1895 Directory, 1895 (Louisville, Ky. : n.p. 1895), page 419, entry for “Gentile, Frank,” digital image, Hathitrust.org (https://catalog.hathitrust.org) : accessed 10 Feb 2018).

Caron’s 1930 Directory, 1930 (Louisville, Ky. : n.p. 1930), page 773, entry for “Gentile, Mary,” digital image, Hathitrust.org (https://catalog.hathitrust.org) : accessed 10 Feb 2018).

Caron’s 1931 Directory, 1931 (Louisville, Ky. : n.p. 1931), page 725, entry for “Gentile, Mary,” digital image, Hathitrust.org (https://catalog.hathitrust.org) : accessed 10 Feb 2018).

Caron’s 1932 Directory, 1932 (Louisville, Ky. : n.p. 1932), page 596, entry for “Gentile, Mary,” digital image, Hathitrust.org (https://catalog.hathitrust.org) : accessed 10 Feb 2018).

Caron’s 1933 Directory, 1933 (Louisville, Ky. : n.p. 1933), page 668, entry for “Gentile, Mary,” digital image, Hathitrust.org (https://catalog.hathitrust.org) : accessed 10 Feb 2018).

Kleber, J.E. (2001) The Encyclopedia of Louisville. Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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