JOSEPH ‘JOE’ J. LEHRER was born in 1871 in Philadelphia, PA to Lewis Lehrer and his Irish wife, Mary Trainor. Joe attended La Salle College High School and eventually became an architectural draftsman by trade, working at first in Philadelphia with an office at 316 North 5th Street. In 1898 Joe moved to the thriving resort of Atlantic City, NJ and went on to design several structures there before his untimely death at age 38 in 1909.
Regarding the Christian Brothers and La Salle College High School in Philadelphia
The Congregation of Christian Brothers (Congregatio Fratrum Christianorum) is a world-wide community of religious brothers within the Roman Catholic Church, founded by Blessed Edmund Rice. The Christian Brothers, as they are commonly known, chiefly work for the evangelisation and education of youth, but are involved in many ministries, especially with the poor. Their first school was opened in Waterford, Ireland, in 1802. At the time of its foundation, the British Government’s Penal Laws which discriminated against Catholics and excluded Catholics from education were still in force, and the Hedge school system was still the main source of Catholic education throughout Ireland.
The Congregation of Christian Brothers are sometimes confused with the Brothers of the Christian Schools, or ‘De LaSalle Christian Brothers’, founded by Saint Jean-Baptiste de la Salle, a completely separate though similar order. For the sake of clarity, Rice’s congregation is sometimes called the ‘Irish Christian Brothers’
La Salle College High School is a Roman Catholic college preparatory school enlivened by the tradition of education developed by St. John Baptist De La Salle, founder of the De LaSalle Christian Brothers. The De La Salle Christian Brothers have run La Salle College High School since its birth. La Salle has long had an important role in the life of Philadelphia and its metropolitan area, producing leaders in the Church, the community and the Nation.
La Salle began at the St. Michael’s School at Second and Jefferson Streets in Philadelphia. The Christian Brothers opened a school there and taught their first classes on July 20, 1858. Initially known as the Select School, it eventually took the name Christian Brothers Academy. In 1863, the Academy became the college preparatory division of what was then La Salle College.
La Salle’s odyssey continued into the twentieth century. As the city grew up around the school and space needs expanded, a decision was made to move to a new location in what was then unspoiled country. In 1929, La Salle opened a new campus in Belfield in the Wister Woods section of Philadelphia.
For its entire life up to 1960, La Salle College and La Salle High School shared the same campus. At the dawn of the 1960’s, the high school separated from the college and moved to its present campus on Cheltenham Avenue in Springfield Township, Montgomery County. The present school was built on the former Belcroft estate of Clarence E. Brown. With the move, La Salle had close proximity to the city and even more space to grow and develop.
In 1982, the geographic separation between the college and the high school became formal, as the two entities legally separated and the high school formed its own Board of Trustees with responsibility for the school’s direction.
Three views of a letter from Brother Donatian to Joseph Lehrer regarding his marriage to Mamie Bloomer. Joseph, whose father Lewis was a German Lutheran, had gone to La Salle College High School in Philadelphia where Brother Donatian was one of his teachers. It would appear that at the time of Brother Donatian’s letter, Joseph and Mamie were living at the home of Mamie’s father, Charles Bloomer.
In 1900, Joe married MAMIE BLOOMER, the daughter of Irish immigrants Charles Bloomer and his wife, Rose. Born in 1871 in Philadelphia, PA, Mamie and had come to Atlantic City with her parents and two brothers, Charles and Peter, sometime before the birth of their youngest brother, James, in 1885. Mamie gave birth to two sons: Charles ‘Cholly’ (June 26, 1903) and James (c. 1904), the latter of whom died from milk poisoning when he was only a year old. In later years, Cholly recalled that German was Joe’s household language and that Mamie, learned to speak German, too. Cholly was led to believe that his father, Joe, had attended Girard College; but this myth has been disproved.
In 1903, Joseph Lehrer and his brother-in-law, Peter Bloomer, bought a double burial plot in the Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Pleasantville, NJ. Located in Section 5 of the cemetery, Joseph Lehrer owned Lot 46, and Peter Bloomer, Lot 41. The purchase on December 7, 1903 coincided with the death of Peter’s father, Charles A. Bloomer, who was also the father of Joseph Lehrer’s wife, Mamie. From the rather ornate style of the plot, it would appear that the two families had a fair amount of money available between them.
When he was 38, Joe died from pulmonary tuberculosis. That unfortunate event occurred 1909 when his son Cholly was but 5 years old. After the death of Joe, who was a descended from German Lutherans, Mamie, along with her brothers James and Charles, rigorously attended to the Catholic education of Cholly.
Mamie eventually contracted tuberculosis (most likely from Joe) and suffered greatly in her latter years. She died in 1932 at the age of 61 during the era of the Great Depression. Her daughter-in-law, Antoinette Matacia Lehrer, reported that Mamie was a very irritable person, most-probably due to her illness.
Joseph Lehrer was buried on January 31, 1909 in the Lehrer-Bloomer family plot in Pleasantville, NJ. and Mamie followed on September 26, 1932.