A Virtual Walking Tour:
Indiana's Historic Sixth Street

 

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    Silas M. Clark House (200 South Sixth Street), 1870. Home of the Historical and Genealogical Society of Indiana County. An Italian villa style brick dwelling, characterized by the use of S-brackets, a low pitched gable roof, a bay window, round-headed windows, brick quoins, and a tall, square tower. Silas M. Clark was a judge on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and one of the founders of the Indiana Normal School (1875). The building was purchased by various civic groups. Through various grants, extensive exterior and interior restoration was made from 1993-1996.

     

     

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    National Guard Armory (121 Wayne Avenue). Built in 1922. It is a simple art deco structure with a drill hall on the first floor. It is now home to the library and research center of the Historical and Genealogical Society.

     

     

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    J. P. Carter House (Thomas Sutton House) (209 South Sixth Street). Built in 1870. It is a two story brick building, merging elements of Second Empire (mansard roof, dormers, classical moldings, and arched doors), and Italian Villa. The top of the tower has been removed. The dwelling cost Carter, local businessman, $30,000. He deliberately built a larger house than his neighbor Silas M. Clark in retaliation for Clark's having secured the service of the architect whom Carter wanted. Thomas Sutton, son of IUP's John Sutton, purchased the home in 1879. The house has been divided into apartments.

     

     

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    Bennett House (Sudie Cameron House) (145 South Sixth Street). Built in 1915 for Michael Bennett. It is a Victorian Romanesque house with squat, polished marble columns and rounded arches. The house was built in contrasting colors of golden tan and dusty rose. Another contrast is the green tile roof. The walls and floors are cast concrete. At one time, there were two elevators and a swimming pool in the basement. It was purchased by Mrs. Cameron in 1970. Currently it is a private residence.

     

     

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    James Mitchell House (57 South Sixth Street). Built in 1849 by local merchant James Mitchell, it is a federal style brick structure. An unusual feature of this house is the second front doorway. Since the house originally served as both a residence and a general merchandising store, the usual window was eliminated in favor of a second entrance. Later occupants were Hugh Weir and Dr. Howard B. Buterbaugh, a well-known physician. The property was extensively restored by Attorney Robert Marcus in 1982 and is now used as law offices.

     

     

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    David Ralston House (33-41 South Sixth Street). Built in 1843. A double brick Federal House with a later single addition (ca. 1850), presently three separate units used as offices and dwellings. Parapet chimneys are still evident on the south gable end. Ralston, a local merchant, built the house when he moved to Indiana from the Shelocta area to become sheriff (1842-1845). Bennett Whissel used it as a hotel. James Mitchell also owned this structure (ca. 1859) and ran an inn called the "Mansion House".

     

     

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    Alexander W. Taylor House (532 Philadelphia Street, TV Shop). A stone house with quoins, stuccoed and built by John Lucas between 1807 and 1831, perhaps 1817. The building is believed to be the oldest structure in Indiana. The original cost of the lot was $51.50. A.W. Taylor, lawyer and congressman, purchased the house and property in 1846 for $700 from the Johnston estate. A wooden addition housed the library and an iron fence once surrounded the property. Following Taylor's death in 1893, his wife and daughters, Fannie, Isabella, and Caroline, lived there until their deaths. In 1950 after Isabella died, the house was sold to Cree and Charles Hawk, proprietors of Hawk's TV until his retirement in 1989. Following a forty-year tradition, Grey Kerr now operates the TV shop in this location.

     

     

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    American Legion Building (532 Philadelphia Street). A three story brick hotel, Federal vernacular with recessed entrance, 7 bays wide on lot 31, which was purchased in 1807 for $76 at a public sale by John Huey who sold the lot and all appurtenances in 1819 to William Caldwell. In 1837, the property, now housing a two story brick tavern, was conveyed to Philip Gallager. In the 1860's, the tavern had a frame stable which housed 150 horses. A third story was added in the late 19th century. Over the years, the businesses have been known as the Black Horse Inn, Detwiler, Sweeney, and Central Hotels. In 1943, the American Legion Home Association acquired the building. There was some restoration of the fa├žade in the early 1980's.

     

     

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    Griffith Building (555 Philadelphia Street). Formerly the office of H.P. Griffith, a dentist who died in 1956,leaving the property to his daughter. The two story brick building in Queen Anne style, constructed in 1892, has inlaid parquet floors. The elaborate frieze board at the tip of the building and the front door cape exemplify the oriental opulence of the day. It was purchased by Attorney Robert Marcus in 1982 and used for several years as his law office. Restoration work was done by Vinton and Idzojtic contractors in 1982.

     

     

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    William Houston House (581 Philadelphia Street). Built in 1823 by Houston, merchant and member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. The second oldest and most continually used commercial building in Indiana is a Federal style structure. Note the massive H-parapet chimney, the west wall and the iron brackets that tie the brick wall into the structure. The house was used as the town's first bank by Hogue and Company in 1858. In 1864, the parent company of the National Bank of the Commonwealth operated here, and in 1870, it became Henry Hall's store. Restoration work was done on the building in the 1980's. It is now the office of State Senator Pat Stapleton.

     

     

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    Coventry Inn (11 North Sixth Street). Former site of the Vogel Brothers Building (tailors and harness shop,1849), and La Prima Bar and Restaurant. Now houses the Coventry Inn, an English country inn constructed by Charles Runyan, English sports car enthusiast and owner of the Roadster Factory. Some of the oak timbers were imported from England. The frame of the building is pinned together with oak pegs. The Coventry Inn is a replica of a pub which stood in Bedford-on-Avon, England. The Inn was begun in 1990 and opened in 1996.

     

     

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    Messenger Building (15 North Sixth Street). Ca. 1840. Home of the Indiana Messenger, a local independent journal established ca. 1850. Once used as a post office, it is a two story, brick building with highly embellished cast iron window heads. Relatively intact except for the first floor.

     

     

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    Brown Hotel (North Sixth and Water Streets). Last remaining 19th century hotel in Indiana. Italianate in style with unusual jerkinhead cross gables incorporated into the hipped roof construction. Built in the 1870's,replacing the 1860's Hines House, it was known as Reiders' Hotel in the 1880's, Gompers' House in 1887, Clawson Hotel 1890-1915, and became the Brown Hotel in the 1930's. Site of a $70,000 roof fire in 1993. The roof was restored to its original design. The Hotel has been owned by the Trimarchi family since 1957.

     

     

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    Governor John S. Fisher Home (220 North Sixth Street). Queen Anne style Victorian mansion complete with ballroom and sleeping tower built in 1902 by the Edward Rowe family and was the home of Governor Fisher at the time of his election and until his death in 1940. This house is a private residence.

     

     

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    Indiana County Sheriff's House and Jail (29 North Sixth Street). This was the fourth county jail, designed by C.H. Sparks and built by John Hastings. The twelve-room house features cut stone quoins, decorative window heads, and ornately turned woodwork on the portico. The sheriff's office also was located in the house. Executions were carried out in the courtyard between the house and the old courthouse. The last hanging was on November 23, 1913. The house and jail have been restored by the NBOC Bank and are used for offices.

     

     

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    Old Courthouse Building (601 Philadelphia Street). Now the headquarters of NBOC Bank. Built in the Second Empire style with stone quoins, nine bays wide and five deep, mansard roof, and center clock tower. First floor windows have arched lintels and keystones. Second and third floor windows have segmented tops and triangular pediments. Windows are separated by pilasters and Corinthian columns. The tower consists of a podium, belfry, and cupola. Designed by J.W. Drum, it was constructed in 1870 at a cost of $186,000 on the site of the first courthouse. In 1972, following the construction of a new courthouse, the structure was saved from the wrecking ball by NBOC, which took out a 99 year lease with the county. The restoration work under the direction of Millan Kerr Architects and done by Pevarnik Brothers of Latrobe is estimated at $500,000and earned an "excellence in design-extended use" award from the Pittsburgh chapter of the American Institute of Architects and Masonry Institute of Western Pennsylvania.

     

     

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    NBOC Bank (600 Philadelphia Street). Neo-Classical in design with Doric columns, bronze window frames, pilasters, and decorated pediments. One of the few commercial structures built during the Depression, the bank opened on this site on April 9, 1934 as a reorganization of the First National Bank (1864-1934), the bank had previously been Hogue and Company (1858-1864). In 1921, the bank purchased the corner lots that had housed the Loughry Store, Grand Theater, Sloan Bros., the Federal Banking Company, and Tomb and Walker Restaurant. Plans were made to construct a new bank when the five year leases for the bakery and the restaurant had expired. On the rear of the lot, the Miller-Sutton Company (20 South Sixth Street) erected a four story brick building for their automobile dealership, later McGill Motors. Today it is houses, shops, and apartments.

     

     

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    Blair Sutton Home (56 South Sixth Street). Built by Adam Rowe in 1840, this was once part of the Indiana Seminary. Hickory pins were used here instead of nails. A well on the property supplied water for the town's bucket brigades. The house was sold at auction in 1959 and now houses offices and apartments.

     

     

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    Zion Lutheran Church (South Sixth and Church Streets). The congregation organized in 1813. Built in 1923at a cost of $225,000, this steel-framed veneered stone, Gothic Revival church features weathering, buttresses, and large pointed stained glass windows with tracery and replaced a Neo-Gothic church built in 1880. The architect was George Baum of Philadelphia. The church has a Gabriel Kney mechanical action organ which was dedicated in 1978.

     

     

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    Zion Lutheran Manse (114 South Sixth Street). An asymmetrical Queen Anne style residence featuring wrap-around porch and gingerbread tower, the manse was built in 1899. This style displays a variety of interior and exterior materials, forms, colors, and textures. Projecting turrets and brick chimneys give the house a top-heavy appearance. Extensive restoration was made in the 1970's and 1980's.

     

     

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    John W. Sutton House (134 South Sixth Street). Built in 1882-1883 by John W. Sutton, Indiana merchant and son of the more famous John Sutton for whom the main building on IUP's campus is named. Predominantly Second Empire in style, it has a mansard roof, dormers, and brick quoins. Also featured is an oriel (bay window) on the southern wall and elliptical fanlight and sidelights surrounding the front entrance. A porch extending the length of the front was removed in the 1960's. From 1920 until 1963,the house was used as the manse for the Calvary United Presbyterian Church. It was acquired at an auction for $17,050 by the Mack family and had been used as the offices for the Mack law firm. It is now the law firm of Bonya, Gazza, and Degory.