Scrivens Store

Scrivens Store


Sheakleyville, Mercer County, Pennsylvania has had a number of names since it was founded. The first name that it was called. was Georgetown in honor of George Sheakley. In June 1830 it was called. The Culbertson Post Office, and in January 1850 it was re-named Exchangeville Post Office. In March 1851, an act was put through the Pennsylvania legislature as follows “An act-To incorporate in the township of Sandy Creek, Mercer County a borough to be called the borough of Sheakleyville, and to erect it into a separate election and relative to a school district in Armstrong County. Be it enacted by the Senate, etc. of Pennsylvania.”


The site of the town was owned by William Byers, the first sheriff who sold it to John Sheakley in 1805. July 4th, 1822 is taken as the formal establishment of the town. Once about 1860, Sheakleyville boasted five hotels, woolen mills, cooper shop, tannery, many merchantile stores, a carriage and a blacksmith shop, many saw-mills, grist-mills, stills and a planing-mill, in and about the borough. Tradition says that the name ‘Exchangeville’ was given to it because it was there that the coach horses were changed, as Sheakleyville was a regular coach stop in the days before the railroads. Sheakleyville was the birthplace of Governor James Sheakley of Alaska. A disasterous fire destroyed most of this place, and it has never recovered from the effects of it.


However, there were a few places which escaped, among which was the Scrivens Store. George Washington Moyer, who belonged to the Masonic order, had a blacksmith shop and his brothers Daniel and William had a carriage shop in the Scrivens Store. Daniel and William made carriages in the store while George did the blacksmith work, The carriage shop was called the ‘Carriage Paint shop’, and was built about 1852 or earlier.   Family tradition says that it is supposed that William was the one who had the shop built.  He later went to Bloomington, Illinois, invested in land, had a grain elevator, and other lines of merchantile business, and in fact was identified with all the enterprises that led to the upbuilding of that town.


He sold the carriage shop at Sheakleyville to Levi Morrison. Later a Mr. Hulbert and also a Mr. Davis had drug stores in this building. Kit Dean and. T. B. Marsteller had grocery stores in it, and several others conducted merchantile business in this store. At present it is used principally for storage, and no trace of the carriage or blacksmith shops remain except in the arrangement of a few doors and windows.


Andral Zonor Scrivens, Justice of the Peace for 18 years in Sheakleyville bought this store of T. B. Marsteller about 1912, and carried on a general store for about sixteen years. He lives next door to it on the south.


This store is a two story, basement and attic building. The lower story was originally the blacksmith shop. The front faces the east and is located on Route 19, the main highway passing through the borough. The front or east elevation has a double door to the north of the center of the building with a window on each side of the main entrance, and a larger window to the south. These windows and the entrance are placed between pilasters of the classic influence style. The pilasters are 12” in width and 7’ 4” in length with cap 9” in length. The pilasters have no base.


The entrance is reached by a flight of two cement steps. The front or east elevation has a wooden base 12” wide, including water table. There are double doors with upper panels slightly more than half of the height, of glass, two lights in each. The lower wooden panels are recessed. The entrance is 5 0” x 8’ 0”. The window on each side of the entrance is a two sash window, each sash of two lights, about 1’ off the floor, size 4’ 0” x 7’ 0”. The south window in the front is a one sash window of six lights, size of window 5’ 6” x 7’ 0”, lights of glass 20” x 40”. The door lights are 19” x 25”.


Resting on the pilasters of the front of the store is a cornice which forms the base of the upper story windows, of which there are three about equally spaced with one central window. Each of these windows is a two sash window of sixteen lights 8” x 10”. A plain frieze or entablature rests on the top of the windows acting as a head casing to the windows and forming the bottom of the cornice, surmounted by gable and frieze mouldings [moldings]. The gable frieze and cornice are built up of plain mouldings [moldings] consisting of crown, facia [fascia] plancier, bed mould and frieze. These delicate mouldings [moldings] make it an outstanding feature. The gable is of matched boards of random widths.


The south elevation shows one door in the first floor and one window of two sash, each of 12 lights 8” x 10”. The door is ornamented with two long narrow panels. The second story has one window of two sash, irregular, the upper sash of twelve, the lower of eight lights, 8” x 10’, one three paneled door 3’ 10” x 5’ 8”, reaching from the floor line, cut slightly into the cornice, evidently used for loading and unloading purposes. A hatchway to the cellar has been boarded. The foundation is of square-cut sandstone. The grade is on a slant or slope. The store is slightly elevated above but close to the sidewalk line.


The west elevation or back of the store shows an entrance on the first floor, the door of which is missing, and one window boarded up. The second floor has a set of double doors 6’ 0” x 6’ 0’. They are plain batten doors. Strap iron hinges which undoubtedly are hand-made are on the doors. There is one central chimney supported on the second floor by two timbers running crosswise of the joists. The chimney starts on the second floor, over the raised part, is very narrow, and a little to the south of the center of the roof.


The north elevation has one window on each floor near the rear or west and. Wooden siding covers the building, except on the front. Gable roof with rolled modern asphalt roofing. The gables are on the east and west elevations.


The floor plan of the first floor is one large room except the roar where there are two posts to the south side 6” x 6” in line with the partition, enclosing the stairway. The ceiling height south of the 6” x 6” posts is 8’ 3” the balance of the ceiling to the north is 11’ 2”. The stairway has four risers to a turn with three winders, eight additional risers to the second floor. Underneath this main stairway is another stairway leading to the basement. The second floor is one room, stair well in the southwest corner, raised floor 11” to correspond to ceiling height of the first floor. The inside window detail finish is a moulded casing, mitred [mitered] at the corners.


        This store has no exceptional history, but its lines and exterior composition are very pleasing and interesting. Just another link in a long chain of the influence of the Greek temple revival which marks this section of Pennsylvania.


Jan. 14, 1937.





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