Historically Brier Hill is an industrial neighborhood whose residents worked in factories which were located nearby. Today Brier Hill is still an important part of Youngstown’s industrial facade, with businesses like V&M Star. In the 1800’s the neighborhood was a melting pot of ethnic backgrounds due to its industrial involvement. In the 1920’s and 30’s Brier Hill was primarily Italian immigrants, today the Italian- American War Veterans Club (ITAM Post) still holds an annual Italian festival called Italian Fest. Brier Hill is also the birth place of the original Brier Hill style pizza.

The Brier Hill Neighborhood has an abundance of churches and is conveniently only a 5 minute drive from Downtown Youngstown, Youngstown State University, ST. Elizabeth’s, and North Side Hospitals. The neighborhood is only a short distance away from Crandall Park, Mill Creek Park, and the Arlington Heights Recreation Center and Playground. Each year the St Anthony’s Festival is held and thousands   of the people return to the old neighborhood to meet their friends. Dancing and Italian food is the served a long with a special mass held at the St. Anthony’s church nearby.

I remember as a child growing up on Spruce Street ,when we would open the fire hydrants in the summer time and run barefooted  back and forth in front of the gushing water to keep cool.  There were very few automobiles at the time and we had no fear of injury.In 1936 dad moved our family to a farm in Poland, Ohio; owned by his Friend Paul Romeo. A year later we moved to our own small five acre  farm. In 1938 Dad passed away from pneumonia that he had caught while repairing a fence post in the rain. This was during  the Great Depression and we lost our farm and every thing with it.. Mom was left to raise seven children without a husband. I remember many events as a child but not as sad as the death of my father and the loss of our family farm.

I moved away from Briar hill years ago and returned almost 40 years later. many changes have taken place including the decline of most ethnic people. Freeways replaced  homes that made up the neighborhoods. The days of small children playing in the streets are long gone, but the memories of my youth still remain.  I remember one person in particular by the name of two gun  Briar Hill Jimmy. He  came from Pittsburgh and was the boss of the Youngstown crime organization,representing the  Pittsburgh Syndicate.


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