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Robert Silverman <a href="audio/silverman.mp3">Listen to the interview with Robert Silverman</a>

“You could classify Oak Street back then as a slum, but it was a thriving slum...”

Interviewed by Andy Horowitz on May 6, 2004.

Robert Silverman

Robert Silverman was born in the Hill neighborhood, but moved to Oak Street after the Great New England hurricane of 1938 destroyed his house. He remembers Oak Street as a place with filled storefronts and thriving businesses, even if the neighborhood appeared to be dilapidated. Silverman describes his frustration with the process by which the Redevelopment Agency used eminent domain to assume ownership of the Hebrew Free Burial and Loan Association, a community organization of which he was an officer.

Flea market photo
Shoppers at the weekly flea market on Oak Street, 1956. While this photo was used by the Redevelopment Agency to show that Oak Street was a slum, others look upon it as evidence of a thriving neighborhood. Courtesy NHCHS.
Silverman’s baseball team photo
Robert Silverman, second row left, and the New Haven Wildcats baseball team, at the Scranton School in Oak Street, c. 1943. Courtesy Robert Silverman.