On October 7, 1935, a City photographer recorded this hand-painted political advertisement on the southeast wing wall of the 28th Street Bridge. Despite the unprofessional quality of his campaign outreach, Joe Dobbs was elected, and was quoted in the Pittsburgh Press on Friday, April 11, 1941 about the “rampant” numbers business in the 6th Ward (which includes Polish Hill), and how the police would not co-operate.
It should be noted that many hard-working, church-going Polish Hill residents played the numbers in those days; it was just a part of life. Most of the people interviewed by Mark O’Connor for his oral history project recounted being sent by parents or grandparents to pass along a scrap of paper and a few pennies for the daily numbers.
Constable Dobbs’ request was opposed by Alderman John Fiorucci, who said, “… why should Dobbs ask to have two deputy constables appointed? The numbers business isn’t rampant. And besides, Dobbs doesn’t do any work as constable himself. He hasn’t done any since the six month following his election in November, 1934″.
It’s interesting that this graffiti remained in place for almost a year after the election — and that someone from the City saw fit to record it.