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Pieces of the Past: Flatiron

January 24, 2024

Every time I go by the bank building on the corner I am reminded that the original mission of Pieces of the Past is to give people a glimpse of Warren’s history.

About two years ago, Brian Ferry wrote a masterpiece article that appeared in the Warren Times-Observer. He pieced together photos and tidbits from the Warren Historical Society. The article itself was the basis of this Piece of the Past.

Just after the Civil War, the combination of oil and lumber made Warren a perfect home to banks. So much so, that one section of town was dubbed “Warren’s Wall Street.” A block of buildings devoted to finance sprang up on the eastern portion of 2nd Avenue west of Liberty Street. A variety of retail businesses that benefited from the foot traffic created by the banks were in place as well.

By the 1870s, John F. Davis and Lewis Watson had figured out what to do with the odd shaped empty lot on the western end of 2nd and Pennsylvania Aves. By 1876 a triangular building occupied the space. There was a variety of stores including a bank. The upper floors were full and the lower floors were thriving.

Warren Savings Bank anchored the west end of the Watson-Davis block until a fire destroyed it in the late 1800s. Instead of being defeated, Savings Bank leadership rebuilt. A new bigger flatiron structure replaced the 5-story triangle with the 8-story building that stands there today. The invention of the elevator made the upper floors far more useful. The Warren Flatiron building dominates the section of town named for Watson and Davis. The success of Warren’s Wall Street helped an enterprising businessman open a candy store across the street called Candyland. The enterprise that replaced the candy store is still serving bankers, and bank customers. We call it the Plaza!

         

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