Pieces of the Past: City Building

September 6, 2023

As you travel along 3rd street a powerful-looking building featuring pillars in front catches your eye. There is more to the Warren City building than you might realize.

For one thing, It’s actually in an “H” configuration. The building is pretty close to the site of a free high school that actually resembled city hall. The city hall you see today has the police station, jail cells, office space for city officials, a meeting hall, and initially a gun range! From the outside, it just doesn’t look that big.

The interesting thing is that up until 1936, Warren’s municipal building took up the entire corner of 3rd and Hickory. Built in 1866, the structure fit right in with the block, Today, the Blair retail store and parking lot make up the space. The old building housed the fire department as well as the borough offices and town hall. My Dad told me that the old building was damaged by a fire and that’s what led Warren to build the one we use today.

It’s interesting to look at that neighborhood back around 1890. Many of the buildings we see today were there. Across Hickory Street was the massive 4-story hotel with a few small shops and Pickett hardware going to the corner. Hickory Street was a busy place!

The current structure took a year to build. The project cost $119,000. I am not sure how that translates to today’s values. There also was funding from one of the Federal Government’s plans.

Reading the history of Warren’s Municipal building, the write-up says it’s “FIREPROOF.” So, does that mean it’s full of asbestos? Makes you wonder!

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