Small Town Memories

Exploring the history of SHENANGO VALLEY, PA, one story at a time.

Tag: North Walnut Street


by Ann Angel Eberhardt

Welcome to the new home page! The long alphabetical list of titles still exists, but has been moved to another page, titled “A to Z Index.” Just click here or on “A to Z Index” in the menu at the top of the page for links to all the past blogs. Or if you’re looking for stories by a particular author, go to “Author Index.”

Meanwhile, you have quick and easy access to the latest blog which now displays at the top of the home page. You can also scroll down to see all the other blogs in reverse chronological order. 

[NOTE: Please ignore the recent “Small Town Memories” notification for “Dr. Bailey’s, Horse-and-Buggy Days” which required a password. It was sent inadvertently (my fault) and the page it refers to has been deleted. I apologize for any confusion this may have caused.]

Return of

by Ann Angel Eberhardt

Walter Pierce’s newspaper of the 1870s, The Sharpsville Advertiser, wasn’t the only newspaper published with that name. My father, August Angel, fulfilled his dream of publishing a newspaper with the same name from 1959 until the Angel family re-located to Kentucky in 1964.

Read more about the history of Sharpsville’s newspapers in the Sharpsville Area Historical Society (SAHS) newsletter, July 2014 SAHS newsletter (vol III, no 2). SAHS has 18 editions of the first Sharpsville Advertiser and 6 of the second Sharpsville Advertiser in its collection.

How It All Began

Brochure printed in 1960 by The Sharpsville (PA) Advertiser print shop. (Click on image to enlarge.)

August Angel originally learned printing skills while attending trade school during his high school years. His first job after graduation from Miami (Ohio) University in 1936 was at a boarding school located deep in the Appalachian Mountains of southeastern Kentucky. There, at the Pine Mountain Settlement School, he set up and supervised a student print shop and also taught classes in printing as well as other subjects.

After seven years at the Kentucky school and two additional years teaching printing at a high school in Dayton, Ohio, he tried his hand at other occupations. He finally returned to the printing trade in the 1950s as an assistant foreman in the composing room of The Sharon (PA) Herald newspaper.

At the same time, longing to “be his own boss,” he started a small print shop in what was then Sharpsville’s business district on North Walnut Street. As his business grew, he quit the Herald job and moved his print shop to a larger building on North Second Street in 1949. At last, he was truly his own boss.

The Sharpsville Advertiser PRINT SHOP

August Angel in his printer’s apron, Sharpsville, PA, c. 1960.

Before the advent of the digital revolution around the 1970s, print shops (including my Dad’s) consisted of a variety of large and noisy machines that produced small-format material, such as bills, letterheads, business cards, and envelopes. I remember Dad teaching us to feed the treadle-powered letterpress, which required quite a bit of hand-eye-and-machine coordination. My family lived in the apartment above his Second Street shop and I often fell asleep at night to the rhythmic sounds of those machines and the odors of printer’s ink and the chemicals that were used to clean the platens and type.

As demand for his print shop business grew, Dad upgraded to more automated machinery, such as linotypes, typesetting machines that cast characters in metal as a complete line rather than as individual characters. He wrote:

I had bought two linotypes from the (Sharon Herald) newspaper — one a 2-magazine and the other a 3-magazine. The company was selling these because of its transition to recently improved technology in typesetting – the change from lead casters to film exposure and chemicals.

…These were added to the shop’s Ludlow “Kelly B” press, that could print a 17 x 22-inch page, … a 2-hand-fed C&P press … and a windmill 10 x 15 Heidelberg, the second Heidelberg to be installed in the State of Pennsylvania.

About that Heidelberg press: Dad saw its potential when he was treated to a personal demonstration of the machine in front of his shop. The Heidelberg was brought in a special van with extension cables that were connected to a local plug. The demonstration showed how this new kind of press could print a job much faster, more precisely and more smoothly than any other machine. (Its innovative “windmill” feature is described here.)

(Click on image to enlarge.)

Dad was sold on the Heidelberg and ordered one from the German maker (which is now known as Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG) for around $2,200. It arrived at the print shop on a flatbed truck in June 1954, encased in a large wooden crate and accompanied by a man who stayed several days with my family to reassemble it since it had to be taken apart to get it into the print shop. Then he proceeded to instruct Dad in its operation.

We all enjoyed the Heidelberg man’s presence, particularly when he bought ice cream and peanuts for us children. Once the crate was emptied, he changed it into a playhouse for my younger brother Pat. About a year later it was re-built to fit on the branches of our backyard tree and used as a treehouse for my older brother, Mike, and his gang.

The Sharpsville Advertiser NEWSPAPER

The weekly paper that Dad started is described in “A Look Back: Sharpsville’s Newspapers” in the Sharpsville Area Historical Society’s newsletter (July 2014 SAHS newsletter (vol III, no 2) as one of “[p]urely local news, with an anodyne reportage perhaps in keeping with the placid days of the Eisenhower era.”

Dad wrote only a little about this venture in his memoir but did provide this information:

A source of great satisfaction to me in the printing trade was the weekly tabloid I christened “The Sharpsville Advertiser,” a 4 to 8-page newspaper, sans editorials with the same name as my shop. It was the summary of local news events that had occurred during the week, up to the time of the press run. Readers liked to see their names in print, and the advertising by merchants paid handsomely for all expenses incurred in its production. These included the weekly salary of a disgruntled printer from The Sharon Herald who joined me as a linotype operator and general makeup floor man, as well as a full-time pressman who operated the three impression machines – Kelly B., Heidelberg, and hand-fed.

Dad doesn’t mention it in his memoir, but he must have known that the origins of the name for his shop, and then his newspaper, dated back approximately eight decades to the newspaper started by Walter Pierce, the son of James Pierce who was an important figure in Sharpsville’s early history.

The Sharpsville Advertiser’s FIRST ISSUE

April 9, 1959, must have been an exciting day for Dad, as the Kelly B press churned out the first issues of his newspaper. In the upper left corner of the first page is an introduction, stating that it is “A Newspaper Of, By and For Residents of Sharpsville.” In keeping with SAHS’s adjective, “anodyne,” it provides these objectives:

This paper has no axes to grind. Rather, its objective will be to promote a harmonious aid among residents of our community by giving them a better understanding of the community’s accomplishments and problems. This harmonious air will be a giant step toward progress that will make a better Sharpsville and thereby heighten its stature in a better Shenango Valley.

This paper will take no sides in controversy, either political or otherwise, but will tend to present an unbiased factual report in its news columns.

However, this paper will afford citizens of the community an opportunity of voicing their own individual view on controversial matters or other issues through letters that will be published in an “editor’s Mail” column. Your letters are invited.

AUGUST ANGEL, Editor and Publisher.

The following images are the first two pages of volume 1, number 1, of The Sharpsville Advertiser:

(Click on image to enlarge.)

The Sharpsville Advertiser: MEMORIES

Dad’s newspaper lasted from 1959 until our family left Sharpsville in 1964. During the period of its existence, I was attending Allegheny College in Meadville, PA, but Dad was still recruiting me when I visited home, as well as people in the neighborhood and other family members to assist in its production. We collated and hand-folded the pages before he purchased a folding machine. We distributed the issues throughout the town and attached mailing labels to the newspapers for mailing out-of-town. (The first several issues were complementary, followed by an annual charge of $3.00). And we solicited ads from local businesses.

James Jovenall, a high school classmate (SHS 1958), was among those in the community who were hired to help out. He wrote in a Comment to the January 2015 blog, “Ritz Theater III”:

I also worked for your father for a short while selling ads for the Sharpsville Advertiser. All good memories.

His mention of ads triggered my memory of ad-running:

I’m pleased to know that ad-running for my dad’s newspaper was one of your good memories. I also held that job for a summer during college years, probably around 1960. I walked all over Sharpsville’s business district, visiting owners of banks, restaurants, dry cleaners, funeral homes, pharmacies, insurance agencies, bars, and various other small shops, asking them if they would buy or renew their ads, and if so, the size and information they wished to display. It wasn’t the easiest job for the timid person that I was and I particularly felt uncomfortable entering those dark, smoky, males-only bars looking for the owner. But, yes, it’s a fond memory now.

The Sharpsville Advertiser: FINAL YEARS

In 1964, my father along with my mother and younger brother left Sharpsville to return to a small village in Kentucky, where my mother was born and still had an extended family. Not one to take a break and with printer’s ink still in his blood, Dad set up a much-needed print shop deep in the southeastern Appalachian mountains.

The building that held The Sharpsville (PA) Advertiser print shop, 1949-1964. (Photo by Northwood Realty Services Hermitage, 2016.)

The Kentucky shop was a great success for many years. In the early 1980s, he sold it to his co-founder and finally retired to a log house on a farm in London, Kentucky, where his two sons and their families also lived and are still there to this day.

In June of 1964, Dad sold the Sharpsville shop for $15,400 to a couple who continued the print shop business. They ran it until December 1967 when their premises were raided by the FBI, State Police and local police after a three-month-long investigation. The couple was charged with printing football and basketball tickets for sports lotteries but they quickly left town before they were to appear in court. That most likely ended the business of printing on North Second Street.

Eventually, the building that held the print shop was occupied by an entirely different business, a division of Cattron Communications, until 2010 when it was acquired by Laird Technologies. As of 2017, the building has been occupied by Webb Winery which features a tasting room and a cafe.

— Ann Angel Eberhardt (SHS 1958), Goodyear, AZ, March 2019.

See Also:

A Treehouse Grows in Sharpsville
Main Street Memories
Walnut Street Businesses II


by Ann Angel Eberhardt

There were two doctors in Sharpsville, PA, in the 1950s that I can remember: James A. Biggins, M.D., (born c. 1909) whose office was at 5 North Walnut Street, and Nelson J. Bailey, M.D., (born 1892) at 61 East Main Street. Some of the other doctors who practiced in Sharpsville in the early days were William Twitmeyer M.D., P.E. Biggins M.D., Addison E. Cattron, M.D. and Benjamin A. Frye, M.D.

When Dr. Bailey retired in 1979 after 56 years of practice, Peter Joyce gave a speech at the Sharpsville Service Club in which he honored Dr. Bailey’s many years of commitment to the health concerns of the community.

Joyce’s words paint a detailed picture of the borough in the 1920s when Dr. Bailey was just beginning his practice and when Joyce himself was a student at Sharpsville High School, graduating in 1929. “Pete” Joyce (1911-2006) lived a long life of dedication to Sharpsville government, church and community. He served as councilman and mayor of Sharpsville for numerous terms and was owner of Isaly’s Dairy on the corner of Main and Third streets.

Joyce describes a vibrant little town bustling with people and activities, where everyone knew your name. You may remember some of the businesses and family names as still around in later years. Or maybe you’ll recognize someone from your own family tree. 

Reminiscences of Sharpsville
In Honor of Dr. Nelson Bailey

A speech presented by Peter Joyce to the Sharpsville Service Club, 1979
(The text has been slightly edited for clarity.)

Peter Joyce, January 4, 1956. [Excerpt from a photo in The Herald]

Dr. Nelson J. Bailey, c. 1979. [Excerpt from an article in The Herald]

My Dear Friends:

How does one assess a lifetime of service? What does one say of a person who has spent 56 years in intimate dedication to healing bodies and sometimes giving peace to the mind of those grieving the loss of a loved one….. Let‘s wander back 56 years and look at the Sharpsville of that time [1923] and some of the people who have gone to their reward, whom Dr. Bailey first met.

Mercer Avenue

Dr. Bailey occupied Dr. Cattron‘s old office, so we’ll start down Mercer Avenue to Jackson Tin Shop where we‘ll see John Jackson and old Mr. McDowell making the famous Jackson oiler for locomotives. Then on down to the corner of Shenango and Mercer to Reichard‘s Drug StoreDr. Twitmeyer occupied the back office. He was tall and thin with white hair and a trim goatee. He drove a buggy pulled by a pure white horse. Then there was Skip himself, the inimitable Skip, short, partly bald, and quick-witted. He would never let the coffees stir long enough—Mike McNerney always did it better. That building was the original Odd Fellow TempleTom West, who started the Valley Mould, held the first convention of the American Anti-Accident Association, the parent of Safety First, meeting there in 1907.


The famous Jackson self-closing engine oiler.

The Pierce Mansion was across the street with old Jim Pierce who was Burgess. Then there was the very reserved Mrs. Pierce and Mrs. Pierce‘s sister, Aunt Cissy. Their maiden name was Pomplitz, and they were from Baltimore. The family had manufactured organs.

Across the street at the First National Bank was brother Frank Pierce, the president. And, he was president of the Sharpsville School Board. There were five Pierce brothers. They all had six fingers and six toes, except Frank. Then there was Mr. Wickerham, also a new arrival as the cashier. There was also Lloyd Bartleson, Howard Merchant, Fred Bartleson, and Mrs. Lee. The bank was staid, sound, conservative—a bank was a bank then and not a hardware store with gimmicks.

Nearby was Barlett‘s Hardware and the Bloch Bros., Morris and Jake, in business since 1907. Karl Smith was the postmaster. Then Locke and Cattron for gasoline and auto repairs. Then Mehl‘s store with old John—tall, thin, reserved, deliberate. He said to me once, “Before you spend a dollar of the people’s taxes, just imagine that it is coming out of your pocketbook— because it truly is.” If only we could recapture those values today.

Across the alley was Shaner‘s Jewelry Store and then Charles Hites Hardware. Charlie was slow, patient, smoked a pipe and was a Socialist. He had everything, but only he could find it. Over the hill was Frye‘s Store, then the Valley Mould and Iron Co., the biggest manufacturer of ingots in the world. Flanked on all sides by company houses occupied by Slavs and Italians. The Irish had been there earlier and moved up on the hills. The Slavs and Italians [followed] them to the hills…. [and were replaced by the African Americans.] I guess that was the story of America then, as one moved up the economic ladder.

Pierce Mansion, built in 1874 by James Pierce in Sharpsville, PA. Demolished in 1952.

It was a raw American, bursting with energy and zeal, but Sharpsville was in a Depression. Most of our blast furnaces were not working and some of the people were moving off to Youngstown and others to Detroit where Henry Ford was starting blast furnaces and promising $5 a day to labor. The Depression lasted several years and was a forerunner of what was to happen in 1929 that precipitated the Great Depression.

Shenango Street

Then along Shenango Street was Perry‘s Shoe StoreElsmore‘s Store and Joe Moscowitz for children and ladies apparel. And then the Colonial Theatre owned by Charles Blatt with Jennie Davies as ticket seller. Nearby Steve Gates, the tailor. Then the Parkway Apartments, formerly the Pierce House when the country was wet. For that period they were luxurious apartments. There were 39 rooms.

The town park was cared for tenderly by Johnnie Keats. His tulips were just out of this world in beauty. Across the tracks was the Pennsylvania RR with Sam Morris and nearby the B & O with old Mr. Wert – Charles Miller as yardmaster and Mr. McElvaney as the big boss. The town park was home to Turkey Murphy, the Blair Boys, Mike Tobin, Pete Johnson and many others. …

First National Bank of Sharpsville, c. early 1950s.

The Stahls had a restaurant at the alley. Then Mehler‘s Barber Shop with Charlie Collins nearby in his corduroy suit. Then Davis Tailor Shop with Dave and John Gavin sitting with crossed legs on the counter. Next to them Muscarella‘s Fruit Stand and the Graber‘s Jewelry Store. His minutes of the Borough Meetings are an example of handwriting at its best. Then, Bob McFarland‘s house and McLaren‘s Drug StoreLaMont‘s Market, Roth‘s Market and Dick Patterson‘s sodas, candy and confections. Above him was old Whig Thompson‘s Print Shop and across the street Dickson‘s Furniture StoreShannon‘s Hardware, where Martha sat on the swing, and Homer Sheasley helped Clair Plum. Homer always had a chew of tobacco in and sometimes it used to escape down the corners of his mouth. Well, everybody chewed, at least all the kids in Irishtown carried J.T. Plug.

A section of the Parkway Apartments, formerly the Pierce House, Shenango St., Sharpsville, PA.

Then there was Pat Connelly‘s Bicycle Shop where he entertained the Robinson Brothers, Charlie Carney, Billy Young. Across the street, the Odd Fellows with a bulging membership, and on down the street Cora Fuller gave music lessons. Elmer Masterson managed the A & P Store with Bob McFarland‘s Drug Store nearby with Bill Seifert always there to run errands. One of Bill’s legs was shorter than the other and he had to have about a six-inch sole and heel on the short leg.

First and Main Street

Harry E. Pebly, Superintendent of, Sharpsville (PA) Schools. [Source: “Devil’s Log” Yearbook 1956]

Then there was Ralph Miller‘s Soda Shop, then Squire Turner as the Justice of the Peace dispensing justice. Then, on down to First Street to the new Ritz Theatre with Charles Gable and his diamond rings and a powerful hoarse voice which we heard later in his famous nephew, Clark Gable. Across the street was Love Funeral Home, the Presbyterian Church and then Al Warren‘s store. Once again the indoor swing with two old people who held hands in between selling groceries.

Mahaney’s, a men’s clothing store on the corner of Main and Walnut streets. Torn down in the early 1970s. Source: Donna DeJulia.

Then there was Sam Sing the Chinese launderer. We all believed Sam had designs on us as we collected our fathers‘ collars. We never knew how or why, but fear is inherent and can play tricks on little boys and girls.

Then there was J.R. Hum‘s Grocery Store and Mahaney‘s Clothing Store with Paul Buchanan, and Harry Pebly working there in the summertime. It might be said that Pebly put Sharpsville on the map athletically. He was a strong-willed man, probably the best teacher I ever had. In football, he could make you want to die to win. Those teams in the early 20s, in football and especially basketball, for the size of the school, were in my opinion, Sharpsville‘s greatest. If you had been a freshman in 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924—the total enrollment was 101, yet the athletic record was of real champs. Harry had come recently as high school principal, football coach, basketball coach, faculty manager, athletic director, teacher of physics and chemistry. He would get in the scrimmage himself to show how it should be done.

During this period Dr. Bailey was a new kind of champ: He delivered the Welch triplets[To be continued….]

— Permission to reprint Peter Joyce’s speech was granted by
The Sharpsville Area Historical Society.

For a wealth of information about Sharpsville in the 1920s, see
Sharpsville Golden Jubilee Supplement to the Sharon Telegraph (1924),
in the collection of the Sharpsville Area Historical Society.

Click here (1901) and here (1912) for vintage maps of Sharpsville, Pennsylvania.

For additional references to Dr. Bailey, see:
Main Street Memories” (also includes the Robisons)
Immunizations & Home Cures

Many thanks to Gail Nitch Hanes, whose PowerPoint presentation of “Sharpsville, Our Home Town — Then & Now” provided the following photos: Jackson Oiler, Parkway Apartments, First National Bank and Pierce Mansion.

The photographs of Peter Joyce and Dr. Nelson Bailey originally appeared in these newspaper articles in The Herald (Sharon, PA): “Jamestown Horse-and-Buggy Days Recalled,” July 17, 1979, page 28 (courtesy of the Sharpsville Area Historical Society) and “New Sharpsville Council Elects Nelson President: Burgess Joyce Administers Oath…,” January 4, 1956.

— Ann Angel Eberhardt (SHS 1958), Goodyear, AZ, July 1, 2018.

PLANE SPOTTING in the 1950s

by Ann Angel Eberhardt

Remember the introduction to those old-time “Adventures of Superman” radio and TV shows? “Look! Up in the sky!” “It’s a bird!” “It’s a plane!”…

Ground Observer Corps recruiting sticker, 1950s. Source: Wikipedia. In the Public Domain.

Ground Observer Corps recruiting sticker, 1950s. Source: Wikipedia

During Sharpsville’s role in a national aircraft tracking project of the 1950s, that object in the sky wasn’t a “strange visitor from another planet,” but it could have been an enemy plane. That was the thinking behind the Civil Defense Agency’s project, the Ground Observer Corps (GOC), which in its own way faced the same struggle as Superman’s: “a never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way”.

To find Sharpsville’s GOC station, you crossed the Erie Railroad tracks at the north end of North Walnut Street. These were tracks so busy in those days that, according to Mike Angel,

…there was a time that high-schoolers were hired as crossing guards. There were a lot of trains switching tracks and other activity when the steel mill was in full swing. The crossing guards had a little shack they hung out in until needed.

 Just beyond the railroad tracks, you would see the American Legion building on the left. If you then climbed the outside wooden steps to the rooftop of that building and entered a small structure with a lot of windows, you would be inside Sharpsville’s aircraft spotting post. It was a small a room equipped with instruction booklets, maps, aircraft identification posters, a logbook, binoculars, and a telephone. Mike Angel recalls:

Volunteers manned the post and, when aircraft flew by, the volunteers would call a central location and report the type of aircraft, direction, etc. I was a member of the civil defense as well as most of my friends, In fact, I still have my membership card. 

During the Cold War that followed World War II, a nuclear attack, possibly from Soviet Russia, continued to be a perceived threat. According to Wikipedia, the Ground Observer Corps was established in early 1950 to provide an aircraft tracking network. Over 200,000 civilian volunteers used binoculars and the naked eye to search the skies and identify any airplanes that happened by. “Filter centers” received telephoned voice information from 8,000 posts, and the information was relayed to Air Defense Command ground control interception centers.

Irene Caldwell O’Neill described her duties as a member of the Ground Observation Corps:

I remember working up there and calling in planes to the Brookfield air base. I even got my brother to join. It was while I liked one of the M_____ twins and they sometimes hung out there, too. It was boring if no one else was there, but we convinced ourselves we were doing something to prevent an attack of some sort.

US Air Force Ground Observer Corps pin, c. 1950s. Source: Wikipedia

US Air Force Ground Observer Corps pin, c. 1950s. Source: Wikipedia

The Brookfield Air Force Station was located just south-southeast of Brookfield, Ohio, and about 7 miles southwest of Sharpsville. As described by Wikipedia, “initially the station functioned as a Ground-Control Intercept (GCI) and warning station. As a GCI station, the squadron’s role was to guide interceptor aircraft toward unidentified intruders picked up on the unit’s radar scopes.” (When the Air Force operations ended in 1959, the site was acquired by Trumble County and eventually housed the county’s Nursing Home Facility until the early 1980s. Now privately owned, the buildings are in a state of deterioration.)

By 1952 the program was expanded in Operation Skywatch with over 750,000 volunteers at over 16 thousand posts and 75 centers. The program ended in 1959 when more accurate and cost-efficient automated radar networks went into effect. However, this did not end the memories of those who played a part in a national as well as local event of historical importance.

More information about the Ground Observer Corps can be found here, part of a site that is maintained by the Air Defense Radar Veterans’ Association.

The 1950s Ground Observation project in Sharpsville had an even earlier history. From 1941 to 1944, volunteers in the same aircraft observation post watched for German bombers during World War II. Read about this, see a photo of the rooftop post, and learn much more about Sharpsville during WWII in “The Home Front” in the November 2018 issue of the Sharpsville Area Historical Society Newsletter.

Ann Angel Eberhardt (SHS 1958), Goodyear, AZ,

Mike Angel (SHS 1960), London, KY,

and Irene Caldwell O’Neill (SHS 1960).


by Ann Angel Eberhardt

The Knapp Hotel/Mahaney’s Building

The stately three-story brick building on the corner of Walnut and Main streets seemed to be the anchor for the other buildings on the block. It was known in the 1950s as Mahaney’s Clothing Store, but it began as a hotel over a hundred years ago. Ralph Mehler, grandson of the owner of the original Mehler Insurance Agency, provides this history of the building beginning with the hotel built by his great-great-grandfather Michael Knapp.

The Knapp Hotel was built in 1903 by Michael Knapp on the northwest corner of Walnut & Main. Michael had previously managed another hotel in Sharpsville, the Pierce House (which later was part of the Parkway Apartments).

While Sharpsville was perhaps more of a bustling little town than it is today, letting rooms was only part of a hotel’s business then. At the time, the granting of liquor licenses were severely restricted with only hotels eligible in some years. Michael died right before the hotel opened, leaving a wife and three daughters at home. (Previously, one other daughter died at age 4 and a son at age 24.) Four other daughters were married at the time, including Katherine who had married George Mahaney, Sr., a month before Michael’s death. Collectively, they were widely known as the “Knapp girls.”

While he left a handsome new building, he also left an almost insurmountable amount of debt. (His widow, Anna, was eligible for widow’s pension since Michael was a veteran of the Civil War. Because a widow had to show she was without means of support she had to document to a skeptical War Department that it was a money-losing proposition.)

Ultimately, [Anna Knapp’s] son-in-law George Mahaney took over the building and business in exchange for paying off the debts. He later opened his haberdashery there. The upstairs hotel rooms were eventually converted into apartments.

Mahaney's, a men's clothing store on the corner of Main and Walnut streets. Torn down in the early 1970s. Source: Donna DeJulia.

Mahaney’s, a men’s clothing store on the corner of Main and Walnut streets. Torn down in the early 1970s. Source: Donna DeJulia.

From about the early 1940s, part of the Walnut Street-facing first floor was rented to Mehler Insurance Agency. Ralph C. “Dutch” Mehler was [George Mahaney’s] nephew. His mother, Emma Knapp, who married Nicholas Mehler, was one of the Knapp girls and sister to George’s wife (Another Knapp girl, Gert, married Frederick “Skip” Reichard, who originated the coffee stir.) Dutch started selling insurance in 1925 out of his barbershop which was on the east side of Walnut near the railroad tracks. Eventually, he laid down his clippers and started selling insurance full-time.

When the building was razed for urban renewal about 1973, my family was in hopes of at least saving the large stone with the name “Knapp” carved in it on the building’s Main Street-facing cornice. Unfortunately, the stone was dropped and smashed when the workmen were attempting to remove it.

– Ralph C. Mehler (SHS 1980), Sharpsville, PA, October 5, 2014

The End of the Early Walnut Street Businesses

I suppose that the shopping malls that sprang up in the 1960s spelled the end of stores on Walnut Street as we knew them, along with many small businesses across the nation. Cheap gasoline, as well as the malls’ lower prices, mass advertising, discount department and chain stores, and easy parking were no match for the mom-and-pop stores.

Although many of Walnut Street’s neighborhood businesses are gone, and the buildings they occupied may no longer exist, they are not lost to the memories of those who lived in Sharpsville in the 1950s through 1970s.

– Ann Angel Eberhardt (SHS 1958), Goodyear, AZ, October 13, 2014

If this post sparks a related memory that you would like to share,
feel free to do so using the Comment form below.
Please include your name, name of high school and years attended, and current city and state.

See Also:

The Two George Mahaneys Part I (“Old” George D.)
Walnut Street: Early Businesses
Walnut Street Businesses II
Welch Hotel: Early History


by Ann Angel Eberhardt

A look at ads in publications such as the Sharpsville High School yearbook, The Devil’s Log, (1956-1958), a 1955 directory, and The Sharpsville Advertiser (a small weekly newspaper published by August Angel) inspired the following list of old-time Sharpsville stores. Please feel free to enter any additional memories or corrections you may have in the Comment form at the end of this blog.

Typical store front on Walnut Street in the early 1900s through 1950s.

Lee Supply Company: Donna DeJulia remembers “…the old stores especially Lee’s Supply [with its] creaky hardwood floors and the three rooms: one was housewares, one was hardware and the last, my favorite, was toys and coloring books!”

McFarland Pharmacy, Prescriptions, Fountain Service, Hospital Supplies, 5 West Main Street.

Dr. Theophil Tyran, 121 West Main Street.

Burke’s Dairy (“Hurley’s”), corner of Main and Walnut streets, owned by Dick Hurley; One of the town’s few red lights was located at the conjunction of these cross streets.

Johnson’s Market, on the corner of Main and Walnut streets.

C. A. Shannon Hardware, Plumbing and Heating Supplies, 2 East Main Street (corner of Main and Walnut streets), owned by Clair A. Shannon.


[Mahaney’s, a men’s clothing store on the corner of Main and Walnut streets. Torn down in the early 1970s. Source: Donna DeJulia.]

Mahaney’s Clothing Store, men’s wear, 5 North Walnut, owned by George D. Mahaney (1878-1966). The building was razed in 1971 and replaced by a car dealership, Jason Black Chevrolet Inc., later known as (M.Bruce) Hofius & (James) Black Chevrolet Inc. [Right: Mahaney’s Clothing Store, Sharpsville, PA. Photo courtesy of Donna DeJulia.]

Dentist. According to Irene Caldwell O’Neill: “I know we saw a dentist on Walnut Street, upstairs above one of the shops on the same side as Mahaney’s building, but can’t remember his name.”

Mehler Insurance, 5 Walnut Street (still in operation and located at Sharpsville Plaza on E. Shenango Street).

Phil’s Luncheonette, 7 North Walnut Street.

Foster Shoppe, 8 North Walnut (women’s wear); My 1955 diary mentions that Mrs. Foster presented a couple of style shows of clothing at Angel’s Casino. My four-year-old brother Patrick Angel and his younger pal were among those who modeled children’s outfits.

House of Time, 9 North Walnut Street, Fidelity First Lady Diamonds, Watches and Jewelry, Repair Work; owned by S. Pushcar.

C. D. Shaner Jewelry, 12 North Walnut Street, owned by Clinton D. Shaner; where many Sharpsville High School graduating students bought their class rings.

Ben Franklin Store, 14 North Walnut Street; Irene Caldwell O’Neill remembered “…its squeaky wooden floors.”

Gorel’s Gunshop, Hunting and Fishing supplies; Buy, Sell Trade; 18 North Walnut Street (Thanks to comments by John Kukuda and Mike Angel in the last post for this addition to the list.)

Charles L. McCracken News Agency, 21 North Walnut Street.

Varsity Barber Shop, 34 North Walnut Street.

Motorcycle shop, owned by Mr. Neeley. (Thanks to a comment from Mike Olsavsky in the last post for this addition to the list.)

The Sharpsville Advertiser printshop, owned by August Angel, was located at 8 North Walnut Street c. 1949-1950 before it was moved to 29 North Second Street.

Other Shopping Venues

For bigger shopping excursions, we would take a car trip to the more urban Youngstown, Ohio, just across the state line. And for most of our clothing, we visited downtown Sharon, the center of which was State Street, lined on both sides with many stores, including an upscale department store, the Sharon Store. I remember that we kids, if it was night time and my dad was driving past State Street on Irving Avenue, would beg him to slow down so that we could take in the glorious colors of the neon signs on the stores. As we got older, we often walked to Sharon or took a bus. (Then, as teenagers, State Street was the place to “see and be seen,” on weekend nights, but that’s another story.)

However, any of the stores in Sharpsville were only blocks away from home and were usually sufficient for our needs. And because we could walk wherever we wanted to in our small town of Sharpsville, we were probably the healthier for it.

— Ann Angel Eberhardt (SHS 1958), Goodyear, AZ

"Walnut Street," a detail from the Sharpsville centennial plate (currently listed on eBay).

“Walnut Street,” and other sites depicted on a souvenir plate celebrating Sharpsville’s centennial 1874-1974. (Source: Ebay, October 2014.)

To be continued…

See Also:

Walnut Street: Early Businesses
Walnut Street Businesses III
Welch Hotel: Early History

WALNUT STREET: Early Businesses

by Ann Angel Eberhardt


Years ago, the borough of Sharpsville, Pennsylvania, population approximately 5,000, had its own little “downtown,” a place I knew well in the 1950s and 1960s. It consisted of a row of businesses on either side of a block-long two-lane paved stretch known as North Walnut Street. Side-by-side, in buildings possibly constructed in the late 1800s, were stores offering a variety of goods and services, such as hardware, men’s or women’s wear, insurance, jewelry, newspapers and magazines, barber services, groceries, lunch, or miscellaneous items in a five-and-ten-cent store.

The Sharpsville Advertiser Printshop

Around 1950, my father, August Angel, began his printshop business in a storefront on that street while our family was still living in nearby Wheatland. The following is an excerpt from his memoir, Trivia and Me:

One day, as I leafed through the classified section of The Sharon Herald, I saw a three-line ad for the sale of a print shop in nearby Sharpsville. For further details, I drove from Wheatland to Sharpsville and was greeted by Mr. Cubbison, who was seated behind the counter. A young high school boy was operating a 10 x 15 C&P [Chandler and Price Co.] hand-fed press in the back of the room. I scanned the shop quickly and asked the sale price. Both shop and price were favorable because I realized the shop’s potential as a moneymaker.

Mr. Cubbison must have been startled when I told him to write a receipt of $700, and I would take over the shop as soon as he could let it go. He said I could start the next morning if I wanted to, so I gave him the cash and we shook hands. Mr. Cubbison came out from behind the counter, seated in a wheelchair and aided by his young helper. As he beamed over the unusual and spontaneous sale, I asked for his good wishes. He remarked that I made a good deal and would find the shop profitable, then wished me the best of luck.

We shook hands again and he was wheeled to his car for his last commute to Youngstown, Ohio, where he lived. He was glad and relieved to give up the shop and eliminate a long daily drive to work. I was happy and proud to be the owner of my first print shop. Though I hated to lose the income from the steady work at the Sharon Steel [as a draftsman], I was enthusiastic about the new adventure and gave Sharon Steel notice of my departure. The purchase of the shop changed the direction and goal of my life.

My brother, Mike Angel, and I would both accompany our dad in his Model A Ford panel truck to the shop on weekends. While Dad printed flyers, booklets, letterhead stationery, programs, receipts, etc., on his hand-fed presses, Mike and I would pretend we were office-workers as we played with the assortment of rubber stamps and scrap paper. We have never forgotten the distinct smell of printer’s ink and the solvents Dad used to clean the presses.

Memories of Other Walnut Street Stores

More about Walnut Street in the 1950s and 1960s from Mike:

I spent a lot of time on Walnut Street (most of it was doing useless things): Lee Supply and Company, Chuck McCracken’s News Stand, the pool hall, where I spent many unproductive, but wonderful hours learning how to be a punk, Five & Dime (the lady working there would not take old money, only shiny new coins and crisp bills).

Next to an apartment building sat Mahaney’s Clothing Store. When Mahaney’s store closed, I remember they either auctioned or sold vintage items such as button shoes and knicker trousers. The owner, George Mahaney, was the mayor when we moved to Sharpsville.

Across Main Street from Mahaney’s was the drug store and the grocery store. Underneath that row of buildings was a tunnel where the creek ran. We would walk through the tunnel for the entire length from Mahaney’s Store to the railroad tracks.

A crowd gathered at “Hurley’s” on North Walnut Street to bid farewell to several of the town’s young men as they boarded a bus for the U.S. Marine Corps base in South Carolina, 1960. Photo courtesy of the Angel Family.

On the corner of Main and Walnut was Hurley’s [also known as Burke’s Dairy]. Most every Sharpsville male of our age knows of Dick Hurley and the good times we had hanging out at his place. I don’t remember that very many girls hung out there.
Next door to Hurley’s was where an older man and wife had some kind of business. I remember buying certain year pennies from him for my coin collection. The same building was where the Cubbison Printing Company was when Dad purchased the business. 

I can’t remember the other businesses on that side of the street except that another 5 & 10 cent store was established after the one (only shiny new coins accepted) across the street went out of business.

To be continued…

— Mike Angel (SHS 1960), London, KY,
Ann Angel Eberhardt (SHS 1958), Goodyear, AZ,
and excerpts from August Angel’s memoir, “Trivia & Me”, 1996.

See Also:

Walnut Street Businesses II
Walnut Street Businesses III
Welch Hotel: Early History