The founder of Shastone Memorials was Aaron Simon Haskel (1866/1867-1927). A Facebook page gives extensive genealogical information on the family.
The 1910 U. S. Census recorded Simon Haskel living at 16 East 110th St., Manhattan. He was 45 years old, an immigrant from Russia in 1906, and not yet a U. S. citizen. His occupation was recorded as "Sculptor, Head Stones." Living in the household were his wife, Fannie, and ten children, including Isidore, age 17, William, 13, and Louis, 5.
The 1920 U. S. Census recorded Simon Haskel living at 100 Harrison Place, Brooklyn. He was 57 years old, an immigrant from Poland/Russia in 1906, and still not a U. S. citizen. His occupation was "Stone Yard, Own Place." Living in his household were his wife, Fannie, and five children, including Isidore, age 24, and Louis, 14. William Haskel (1897-1965) now had his own family, but lived at the same address. William gave his occupation as "Foreman, Stone Yard."
In 1917 Isidore J. Haskel (1893-1951) registered for the World War I draft when he declared that he was born 6 May 1893, that he lived at 100 Harrison Place, Brooklyn, and that he was a manager in his own business at 75 Harrison Place, Brooklyn.
In 1924 Louis Haskel (1905/1906-1952) applied for a passport where he declared that he was born in Bendzin, Poland, 3 Oct. 1905, and that his father was Simon Haskel, born in Poland in 1867. Attached to the application was a letter signed by Simon Haskel saying that he gave permission to his son to travel to Europe on business for S. Haskel & Sons Inc. The letter carries the letterhead S. Haskel & Sons, Inc., Granite Polishing, 97-115 Harrison Place, & 96-114 Ingraham Street, Brooklyn, NY. This letter is dated August 11, 1924. The letterhead describes the business of S. Haskel & Sons as "All Kinds of Granite; Black Diamond Granite a Specialty" (click for image).
S. Haskel & Sons, "make monuments," were incorporated in Delaware in 1919. Officers were J. Inwald, W. and S. Haskel.
S. Haskel & Sons, granite, marble, &c. were incorporated in New York State in 1925. Company officers were S. and L. and W. Haskel.
When Isidore Haskel died in 1951, his obituary in the New York Times, 27 Dec. 1951, read in part, "Isidore J. Haskel, a dealer in domestic and imported granite, died yesterday after a brief illness at Flushing Hospital, Queens. His age was 58, and his home was at 138-07 Sixty-eighth Drive, Kew Gardens Hills, Queens. Mr. Haskel was president of Shastone Corporation and of S. Haskel & Sons, Inc., and was active in several other organizations. His firms provided stone for the Empire State Building and many other well-known structures in this city."
Arnold Haskel, son of William Haskel, was president of Shastone in 1997 when a great fuss was made over the spelling of "Nobel" and "Bashevis" on grave stones for Isaac Bashevis Singer (New York Times, 19 June 1997).
The Manhattan telephone directory indicates that Shastone by Haskel occupied this building at 217 E. Houston St. from 1935 to 1999. Shastone Memorials are now (Jan. 2011) located in Great Neck, N. Y. A brief history is found at www.monumentsbyhaskel.com/history.html.
The name "Shastone" was used by S. Haskel & Sons for their granite and marble products. The term "black Shastone granite" was used specifically to describe the Norwegian granite used at the first story and entrances of the Chrysler Building in New York (Chrysler: The Life and Times of an Automotive Genius, by Vincent Curcio; a google book).
A smaller Shastone sign was painted on the east side of 217 E. Houston St.
Copyright © 2011 Walter Grutchfield