146 Woodland Drive - Klaff House

146 Woodland Drive image
View Larger Map

This old house was located at 146 Woodland Drive, which was formerly Pump House Road. The Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates for the site are N 36 degrees 34.700’ W 079 degrees 24.793’ Elevation 596’.

The house was occupied by Harold (Hicky) Klaff and his family for over fifty years. The Klaff family was originally from Kovno, Lithuania, but is often referred to as being from Russia since Russia controlled Lithuania during the period of their immigration. They were of the Orthodox Jewish faith and spoke Yiddish as well as Russian. Harold’s grandfather, Henry Klaff and his wife, Hannah Shuman, and their older children immigrated to the US in 1890. By 1910 Henry and his family were living at 401 Lynn Street, and he was operating a junk shop. Their son, Michael, who was born in Lithuania and who married Sarah Famalot, continued in the junk business, and he and his family were living at 740 Wilson Street in 1930. Harold, who was Michael’s son, was born on May 9, 1912 in Philadelphia according to his obituary, so his mother must have been there in 1912 before returning to Danville. By 1939 Michael’s family, including his son, Harold, were living at 166 Marshall Terrace and operating junk yards at 309 Loyal Street and at the foot of Newton Street. By 1950 Harold had married Lillian Jaffe and was living at 146 Woodland Drive. His mother, Michael’s widow, and his brother, Harvey, were still living at 166 Marshall Terrace, and Harvey was managing the Klaff Junk Shop at 309 Loyal Street. Another brother, Milton and his wife, Clara, were living at 509 West Main Street (GPS N 36 degrees 34.491’, W 079 degrees 24.934’, Elevation 602’) where this family would continue to live for many years making this house qualify as another Klaff house. Milton operated the South Boston Foundry and Machine Shop for many years. Harold’s youngest brother, Benjamin B. Klaff was a bookkeeper for the Klaff junk business for a number of years. He and his family resided at 193 Arnett Boulevard.

Harold Klaff managed the Klaff junk business for many years. He was a member and president of Aetz Chayim Synagogue at 728 Wilson Street (GPS N 36 degrees 34.953’, W 079 degrees 23.574’, Elevation 509’). This Synagogue was dedicated in 1910 and the building was demolished in 1986, and the site became a part of a parking lot behind the Plaza Restaurant. Many of the Klaff family are buried in the Aetz Chayim Cemetery at 196 Westover Drive (GPS N 36 degrees 35.237’, W 079 degrees 25.505’ Elevation 525’). Lillian Kraft served as a bookkeeper for the Alcoholism Treatment Center and as a bookkeeper for the City Health Department in Danville Harold Klaff and his family continued to live at 146 Woodland Drive until 1986 when he and his wife moved to Delray Beach, Palm Beach, Florida. He died at the Veterans Hospital in Miami, Florida on September 15, 1988 at age 78. His funeral was conducted in Israel. His survivors included his widow, Lillian Jaffe Klaff, who was living in Coral Gables, Florida, one daughter, Debbie Klaff Dan of Israel, three brothers, Harvey and Julian of Baltimore, Maryland, Benjamin of Danville, and three sisters, Hannah Lieberman of Hallendale, Florida, Mary Halperin of Danville, and Goldie Kaplan of Baltimore.

In 1986, after the Klaffs had left Danville, 146 Woodland Drive is shown in City Directories as being vacant. In 1987 it is shown as being occupied by Robert C Keenan. From 1988 it is shown as being occupied by Averett College which used it for various purposes including a guest house, an overflow for its Adult Curriculum for Excellence (ACE) program, for recreation and for offices. In 2010 the house was razed.

Early in the 21st Century the Klaff junk yard at the lower end of Newton Street, (GPS N 36 degrees 35.263’, W 079 degrees 23.186’, Elevation 450’) was paved over to avoid having to remedy possible contamination of the site. It provides an attractive parking lot to serve the warehouse structures long the river side of Bridge Street which are being renovated for new uses.

No Klaffs appear in Danville City Directories after 2002.