Landmark building razed in Charleroi
Another landmark building in Charleroi is going the way of the wrecking ball.
The structure being razed at Third Street and McKean Avenue is more than 100 years old and most recently housed the Columbus Hotel.
Charleroi Borough Manager Donn Henderson said the building, which has been closed for several years, is currently owned by an unidentified firm in New Jersey,
“It has changed ownership a few times in recent years,” Henderson said. “The building was for sale on the Internet.”
Henderson said the $50,000 cost for razing the building is being covered by Charleroi's Community Development Block Grant funds.
Nikki A.C. Sheppick, chairman of the board of directors of the Charleroi Area Historical Society, said it was built at the turn of the last century by David Gelb, the original owner of what was known then as the Hotel Gelb or more commonly as The Gelb. Gelb, she said, was a wholesale liquor distributor from Pittsburgh who purchased several properties in the community.
A large stone ornamentation located between windows on the second and third floors of the building now being razed carries this inscription: D. Gelb.
Sheppick said the historical society archives include pictures and stories about Hotel Gelb sponsoring a championship baseball in 1902. A team photo shows John W. “Jack” Mathias, a standout pitcher, sitting front and center. A story among those artifacts identifies him as manager of the hotel.
The Columbus Hotel also sponsored numerous other athletic teams.
The CAHS collection also includes pictures of the exterior and interior (dining room and bar) of the hotel that appeared in the May 1903 Charleroi Chamber of Commerce Industrial Edition published by The Charleroi Mirror. E.C. Niven was editor and publisher of the newspaper and J.L. Fehr was credited as compiler.
The Robertson Brothers Candy Co. also is believed to have occupied the structure after the original shut down in the 1920s.
The building was sold to the late Neil and Pauline Connor in 1948. Mrs. Connor continued to operate the business following the death of her husband on Dec. 15, 1958. It was sold to William D. and Veronica Caterini of Roscoe in 1965 and they were the owners when the business closed for good several years ago.
During its heyday the hotel had 29 guest rooms and two apartments for permanent occupancy. The business also featured a spacious dining room that was the site of numerous banquets and other social functions for many years and a bar.
The building deteriorated and was the target of vandals and a suspicious fire in recent years.
Plans have not been announced for possible development of the property when the demolition is completed.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Cal U offers only undergrad degree in gerontology in Pa. system
- Plea agreement offered in Monessen stun gun case
- Belle Vernon adds 5 to football hall of fame
- West Overton museum plans 3rd trip of year to Gettysburg
- 2 nabbed for drugs by Monessen police