To North Adams, Massachusetts
Between 1860 and 1890 Lebanese immigrants entered the United States each year. When the United States had become industrialized the Lebanese had joined other immigrants to come to America. They left behind their small farms, poverty, and repeated foreign invasions to seek a better life.
Their tradition of merchandising helped provide the already growing United States with a ready supplier of needed retail services. Most Lebanese were skilled in trade and business. When they first arrived to North Adams, they worked in mills and factories to get enough money to be able to finance their businesses.
Drawing of Main Street North Adams: 1920s
Before they were able to start their business some of them had become peddlers. Groups of Lebanese people would gather together on State Street to sell their goods. Peddlers werelike mobile department stores. They carried as many goods as they possibly could to the spot where they sold them. Usually they had well-packed suitcases, with one in each hand and one on their back. Lebanese usually sold dry goods, clothing, and in hand needles, thread, combs, and notions. There were many advantages to peddling. Money could be made quickly; no training, large capitol or language skills were required and, most importantly, it had suited their nature. Working as peddlers made the Lebanese be able to operate on their own terms.
The Lebanese were very involved with their family. When there was a business started, it wasn't just one person working in it, it was almost the entire family. Also the business and the home were not very far apart, they were usually only a door away from each other. Family was the most important thing to Lebanese people. They were always there for each other no matter what and they would do anything for each other.
Most Lebanese attended the St. Francis Church.
Information provided by North Adams Historical Society.