Frankel Building Family Members Come Searching For Their Family History

Andrew Lubetkin, left, and his brother Paul Lubetkin pose in front of Smokey Row’s Historical Building Marker which features the building constructed by their great-great grandparents, Isaiah and Babet

On Saturday, August 17, Oskaloosa had two visitors searching for their roots. Andrew Lubetkin, of Chicago, Illinois, and his brother Paul from Brooklyn, New York had been made aware of the recent recognition given to the Frankel Building which is now occupied by Smokey Row. Their great-great-grandparents, Isaiah and Babette Frankel, had constructed this building in 1889 to house the Frankel Dry Goods clothing store on the lower level and provide office space for professionals on the upper level. Isaiah Frankel had been a leading business person in Oskaloosa, making his fortune in banking, retail clothing sales, and selling wool purchased from area farmers. Isaiah and Babette’s children all moved to Des Moines and continued in the clothing sales industry, and eventually took control of the well-known retail chain Younkers.

Calvin Bandstra, a Vice President at Bank Iowa who had researched the building on behalf of the Historical Building Marker Committee, met the Lubetkins and their spouses at Smokey Row, and exchanged information with them about the Oskaloosa community in general and the Frankel Building in particular. A walk downtown included The Alley just south of Smokey Row, which showcases much of Oskaloosa’s past. It also included the Centennial Building on the north side of the square, where Town Square Dental is now located. This building was built by Isaiah Frankel and his partner Emmanuel Bach in 1876, and housed the company’s banking and retail clothing enterprise. When the Frankel Building was constructed just 13 years later, the clothing store was moved to this location with a huge grand opening in which well over half of Oskaloosa’s residents participated.

The Lubetkins could still remember one of Isaiah and Babette’s daughters, the strong-willed Rose Frankel Rosenfield, who lived in a luxurious setting in one of Des Moines’ finer homes. Her children, Louise Frankel Rosenfield Noun, and Joseph Frankel Rosenfield funded the famous Tinker vs. Des Moines Independent School District court case, which was caused by the school board suspending students who wore black armbands in protest of the Vietnam War. This case went all the way to the US Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the students. After an afternoon of reminiscing and exploring, the Lubetkins noted that they were grateful to see this important piece of both their history and Oskaloosa’s history standing and serving the public.

Posted by on Aug 18 2019. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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