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Pieces of the Past: The Hoffman Block

March 29, 2023

The other day a random photo showed up. I looked at it and shrugged my shoulders. I didn’t recognize it. I was sure the building in the photo was from somewhere else. Nope. It was a picture of the Hoffman Block pre-1929.

The Hoffman Block! Wait a minute, that’d be where Kresge’s was!

Downtown Warren looked a lot different in the late 1800s! Even on the Eastside of Liberty Street. The Hoffman Block was created around the 1880s.

Like many of the buildings of the era, the Hoffman Block was home to a number of enterprises. All four floors were used either for dwelling or retail or service business.

It took up the entire corner extending rearward east toward Market Street. When the structure was raised in 1929, the new building that eventually became the Liberty Street Marketplace, took up a bit less space at the back of the lot. This opened up a parcel for the construction of a grocery store. I was never in the store when it housed groceries but helped move furniture into it for a Levinson Brothers warehouse sale. The space now is the driveway into the municipal parking lot off 2nd Avenue.

That brings me to the differences on the lower end of Liberty between 2nd, and Pennsylvania Avenue. On the West side of Liberty, there was a newsstand where Northwest has its ATM. On the Eastside of Liberty below the Levinson building, was the Style Shop, Widman and T drugstore, and Gahring Optical. I may have forgotten someone. I give Northwest a lot of credit. They raised that whole area but restored it with a very similar look to the original block. They did the same thing to the block facing 2nd Avenue.

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