Delmont’s First National Bank opened for business in January, 1902 in the heart of Delmont’s business district across the street from the Central Hotel. The large, two-story, brick building was constructed adjacent to the sidewalk at the corner of what are now West Pittsburgh and Freeport Streets.
Although the bank only remained open for four years, the building it occupied has continued to serve the community for well over a century. It has survived the test of time. Over the years, it has been occupied by many different businesses, including:
Cohen’s Department Store
H. M. Shearer’s Hardware Store
Mitchell’s Drug Store
Freedom Oil Co. Service Station
Delmont Plumbing and Hardware (Mook’s)
A Touch of Country Restaurant
Salem Antiquities and Westmoreland Rare Coins
The curious thing about the building is that, although it’s a large, two-story brick building with a basement, it was moved back from the street to make room for the installation of the Freedom Oil Company service station’s gasoline pumps. A Pittsburgh firm that specialized in moving large buildings was hired for the job. The foundation was jacked-up and the building was rolled into position a short distance away. It’s hard to imagine!
Shearer’s Hardware Store only occupied part of the building, on the Freeport Street side, when Aleck Mitchell ran his drug store and Freedom Oil service station on the West Pittsburgh Street side. The druggist’s son, Bob Mitchell, pumped gas there, and his daughter, Betty, worked in the drugstore.
The photo (ca. 1930’s) shows the building after it was moved back from West Pittsburgh Street to make room for the gas pumps. It also shows a Freedom Oil truck delivering gasoline, as well as the Freedom Oil gas pumps. (Courtesy of Robert Z. Yaley)