Look At Buildings In
In today’s third article in the series Brownsville’s Neck – Its Past, Present, and Future, we will continue our shoe leather search for the answers to several questions. Utilizing information available from the Fayette County Assessment Office and other sources, we are ascertaining the ownership of each building and evaluating whether each building is currently in use. With the help of interviews with local residents and consultation of reference materials, we are also briefly describing some of the businesses that once occupied these buildings. This information may be useful to any reader trying to form an opinion about what should be done with the Neck, the formerly vibrant but now decaying downtown section of Brownsville.
Last week, our armchair walk along the “river” side of Market Street began at the Cast Iron Bridge. We learned about the buildings from Autenreith’s through G. C. Murphy’s, which is where we paused. That is where we will resume our walk today.
Murphy’s are two vacant buildings owned by Ernest E. and Marilyn K. Liggett.
Next to Murphy’s is a two-story, light brick building known as the
Gottesman building, named for its former owner, Mrs. Edward Gottesman.
It was the one-time home of Solomon’s meat market and was built on
the former site of the Opera House. In later years its narrow left-hand
storeroom housed the Ash Hat Shop, and the wider right-hand storeroom housed
the Nolla Shop. The Gottesman
building is owned by Ernest E. and Marilyn Liggett.
to the Gottesman building is 21 Market Street, the former location of the
George E. Winner jewelry store (in the left-hand storefront) and Kart’s
Fashion Center, a ladies’ clothing store.
Kart’s occupied the larger right-hand storefront plus the entire
second floor of the building. Kart’s
closed in the early 1990s, and the building was purchased by Manor Investments
Ltd. in 1994.
Kart’s Fashion Center is the fourth in this stretch of four consecutive buildings owned by Ernest E. and Marilyn K. Liggett or their affiliated entities. The next four buildings are not owned by Ernest E. and Marilyn K. Liggett or their affiliated entities.
the right of Kart’s is 25 Market Street, a three-story brick building that
formerly housed Sidler’s department store.
Mrs. Sidler made her home in an apartment on the second floor.
Next to Sidler’s is 27 Market Street, also a three-story red brick
structure, which once housed the M&S shoe store.
Both buildings are owned by the late Albert Bates and his wife Rita of
West Brownsville, and both buildings’ storefronts are occupied by B & R
Discount, a variety and grocery store that is open for business daily.
the right of B&R Discount is 29 Market Street, the former Trumper’s
men’s wear store. It is now the
home of the Brownsville Christian Fellowship Healing Rooms, a storefront
church owned and operated by Donald and Patricia Harris of Uniontown.
we reach one of the Neck’s architectural gems, the pastel-colored Odd
Fellows Building. This historic
structure at 31 - 33 Market Street is the second oldest building in the Neck,
second only to the Flatiron building. It
was purchased last year by BARC from the disbanding local lodge of the
Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
Odd Fellows building has two storefronts separated by a door to the stairway
leading to the second and third floors. The
left-hand storefront once housed Trumper’s men’s shoes and was accessible
from the adjacent Trumper’s men’s wear store through an opening through
the common wall. This storefront
is now being remodeled and will house offices, including that of a building
code enforcement officer and secretary. Located
in the right-hand storefront of the Odd Fellows building is the Henry Vulcan
second floor of the Odd Fellows building contains two large meeting rooms, an
office, and a kitchen area. The
top floor contains the large (30’ by 48’) beautifully appointed Odd
Fellows meeting room and is the site of the ongoing reconstruction and
installation of the Plaza Theater’s 1927 Robert Morton theater organ.
four remaining buildings on this side of Market Street between the Odd Fellows
building and the Flatiron building are all owned by Ernest E. and Marilyn K.
Liggett or by Manor Investments Ltd.
the right of the Odd Fellows building is 35 Market Street, currently housing
Eckerd Drugs. A door on the right
end of this storefront leads upstairs to the former offices of Wilbur D.
Johnston Insurance and Dr. A. M. Silverstein.
The upstairs is now vacant. The
building has been owned by Manor Investments Ltd. since 1994.
To the right of Eckerd Drugs is a vacant four-story yellow brick
building that formerly housed the Bell Telephone Company offices upstairs and
Levy’s (later Shure’s) clothing store at street level.
This building is owned by Ernest E. and Marilyn K. Liggett.
next building we pass may be the most architecturally intriguing building in
the entire Neck. It is a
four-story brick building with much exterior ornamentation, and it was once
topped by a cupola. This building
was the turn-of-the-century headquarters of the Monongahela National Bank.
The bank’s street level entrance, which today is rather plain, once
featured two pairs of stone columns flanking a large glass window, an
impressive facade befitting the importance of the town’s first bank (founded
on Front Street in 1812).
few years after the bank moved its offices across the Market Street to its new
headquarters (which was later known as the First National Bank building), bank
president Charles Snowdon ordered the removal of the vacated bank’s stone
and glass first floor facade. He
had it installed on the front of the Brownsville Public Library, which Mr.
Snowdon built and donated to the town in 1927.
The bank’s ornate facade is still on the library today.
years after the Monongahela National Bank moved out of the building we are
discussing, that building housed the Claybaugh and Sally shoe store.
The owners of this unique Brownsville building, which is now vacant,
are Ernest E. and Marilyn K. Liggett.
past the former bank are two of the largest buildings in town.
First we come to the impressive three-story light brick Snowdon
Building (1906). This
building’s front is unusually angled to conform to the curve in Market
Street. It formerly housed the R.
S. Goldstein ladies’ clothing store and other businesses.
The vacant structure is the property of Manor Investments Ltd.
our walk down the “river” side of Market Street ends at the most dominant
building in the Neck, the Union Station building.
Constructed in 1928 to house the offices of the Monongahela Railway and
to serve as a railroad station, this solidly built five-story office building
replaced a much smaller structure that had served as the original railroad
depot since 1903.
Union Station building is not unoccupied.
The two storefronts to the left of the building’s main entrance
formerly housed Reed’s Rexall Drugs and Orsino Jewelers, among other
businesses. One of these
storefronts is presently the home of an organization called “Travel With
Jesus.” In addition, near the
right rear of the building, there is a small office occupied by “Transcore
Radio Repair” that is apparently in periodic use.
bulk of the Union Station building, however, is vacant.
It is owned by Ernest E. and Marilyn K. Liggett, and according to
figures provided by the assessment office, it was purchased in May of 1993 for
we reach the BARC-owned Flatiron building, we have counted seventeen separate
buildings between the Cast Iron Bridge and the Flatiron building, including
the Flatiron building. Based upon
data provided by the Fayette County Assessment Office, about half of these
buildings on the “river” side of Market Street (nine of seventeen) are
owned by Ernest E. and Marilyn K. Liggett or by Manor Investments Ltd.
Two are owned by BARC, two are owned by Rita Bates, and the others are
owned by Thomas E. Bizet, Allen C. Dade, Donald and Patricia Harris, and the
Fayette County Redevelopment Authority.
week, we will cross Market Street from the Flatiron building and walk back
through the Neck, this time taking a look at the buildings on the opposite
(“Snowdon Square”) side of Market Street.
We will begin our walk at another little-noticed gem of a building, the
Second National Bank, located directly across Market Street from the Flatiron
building. I invite you to join me
next week as we continue our in-depth look at Brownsville’s Neck – Its
Past, Present and Future.
These articles appear weekly in the Saturday Uniontown HERALD-STANDARD. If you enjoy reading them, please let the editor know. You may e-mail your comments to editor Mark O'Keefe at email@example.com
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