Hobo Joe

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Hobo Joe had a shelter he put together under the bridge on Como and Western Avenues in St. Paul. With discarded grain doors and a metal barrel he used as a stove he lived next to the Shaw Lumber Company on Como Avenue just off Rice Street; he called the shelter Home.

I met him when he was hustling a meal house-to-house in our neighborhood.Old Joe taught kids how to carve wild circus-type animals out of large bars of Ivory soap. His shack was sort of a hang-out for us kids back in the early thirties. He told great stories about the many adventures he had lived through and always seemed to be ready to straighten out any problems we may have had. He was a great friend and older brother to any of us who needed his advice and friendship.

He never had much of anything but was always willing to share and give advice to those of us who needed it. Although I never knew his proper name he was one of the strong sturdy bricks that held the small Black community together. He taught me many things about truth and honesty and I have never forgotten him.
~James R. Brown, Minneapolis, MN


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