As Ellwood City evolves, a little bit of our past gets erased each day. Ellwood City Memories is here to collect memories before they are completely erased and hopefully shared with the next generation, if not the generation after that. I appreciate everyone who has taken the time to contribute to this website financially, those that have contributed photographs, and those that have contributed by sharing their memories; Thank you. As they work to tear down the building built by Captain Grove for his hardware store, I notice I have a lot of pictures of buildings being torn down or burning down.
This building was the old Blatt Building on the corner of Lawrence Avenue and Seventh Street. Mr. Henry S. Blatt’s history is tightly tangled with Ellwood City’s history and that of Captain Grove. Blatt and Grove were business partners in the hardware business, Ellwood Supply Company. The two men built their homes across from each other on Crescent Avenue and Seventh Street and were the second and third deeds recorded at the Lawrence County Courthouse that the Pittsburg Company sold.
Mr. Blatt’s home later became the Eagles Club before it was turned into Ellwood City’s first hospital. The historic building was eventually torn down in the early part of the Sixty’s when Crescent Place was built.
The first big fire in Ellwood City destroyed Blatt and Grove’s hardware building and ended the partnership. The business partners went their own ways and each rebuilt their own hardware store. Mr. Blatt opened his new business on the corner of Lawrence Avenue and Seventh Street and the Captain opened his store next door in 1893.
Now I am not able to find if Blatt’s building was converted into the 7-L building or torn down and replaced with the 7-L building however by the window alignment, it looks to me like this picture was taken in August of 1969 while they were converting it. Either way the 7-L building sat here on the corner of 7th Street and Lawrence Avenue (get it, 7-L) but has since burned down while Captain Grove’s building was torn down in 2013.
After the first fire that ended his partnership with the Captain, Henry Blatt got involved in the lumber business, served on the first board of directors of the First National Bank of Ellwood City, and became a major stockholder in the Pittsburg Company. Mr. Blatt also served in the State Legislature 1875-76, was named Burgess in 1895, was one of the founders of the Presbyterian Church in Ellwood City, and was also one of the founders of the local Masonic lodge before he died in 1910.
As I have mentioned many times before, the fire that destroyed the 7-L building on January 27, 1982 was one of four major fires to hit Lawrence Avenue in a span of two years. The other fires included Keller’s Department Store at 613 Lawrence Avenue, Vinny’s Pizza and Sub Palace at 705 Lawrence Avenue, and the Majestic Theater on the 500 block of Lawrence Avenue.
Blatt was not the only man to run a hardware store in the Blatt building as Earl Slocum took over Blatt’s business and operated Ellwood City Slocum Hardware Company for many years. We have had some contributors mention they recall Ben Gutmacher’s bright-yellow Hardware Store here in the early 1950′s.
When this picture was taken, Holiday Flowers was in the rear of the building on Seventh Street, an Optometrist on the corner and at least three other businesses’ were in the building but I am unable to read the names. If you look closely, you can see a man inside one of the business looking at the photographer from the window on the second floor with the air conditioner.
Today the City Centre Park sits in its footprint.