Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Independence St, Shamokin Pa, Block By Block Through The Decades

A Post Card Tour Of Shamokin Pennsylvania, Through The Decades

Eventually this will be like the other Post Card Tour posts on this site, with sanborn fire maps, and postcards sorted by street to show how the streets have looked over the years.  But for now, this is simply various photos and post cards, not yet sorted.

Independence Street Looking West

The Hotel Penn Lee, and the Capitol Theater

West Independence Street, showing the Victoria Theater

W.C. Hack and Sons Hardware Company 
6-10 West Independence Street
The Company began as Hack-Sanner Hardware company in 1902
10 years later, in 1912, it became W.C. Hack & Sons
In 1953, George D. Hack, grandson of the founder, took over the store.  
The hardware store permanently closed December 10 1960. 
Sun Ray Drugs & PPL
26 West Independence Street
The Victoria Theater, ?, Regal & Bloom, Montomgery wards around the corner

Montgomery Ward,  on Market Street, Beside Regal and Bloom

Dime Trust
The Dime Trust Safe & Deposit Co [Opened May 10 1912]
And Fireman's Memorial
Located at 119 West Independence Street, Shamokin Pa [Today the FNB building stands here]

The Victoria & The Majestic [Later J.C. Penny]
1922 Sanborn Map From Market to N. Anthracite
New Bee Hive Dept Store
Victoria Theatre
Majestic Theatre

The Majestic Theater,  with the Victoria Theater to the right, Shamokin Pa

The Victoria Theatre
46 West Independence Street

The Victoria theatre was built in 1918, the flagship of the Chamberlain Amusement Company. The 1700 seat theater originally hosted vaudeville acts and stage shows, in addition to movies.
The exterior of the theater featured terra cotta highlights over light-colored brick. The name Victoria was inscribed on three plaques just below the cornice, on each side of the three-sided facade which faced Independence Street. In 1985, the Victoria was named to the National Register of Historic Places.

In the 1990s, the theater closed its doors, and in 1998 it was acquired and demolished by Rite Aid.

1891 5th street to Market
Round House
Eagle Hotel

The 600 Block of Shamokin Street, where it intersects with Independence Street.
Hotel Lyndhurst on the left.

1891,Independence from Market Street to 9th Street
J.B. Zimmerman Carriage Factory
Keystone Hotel
Shamokin Planing Mill
G.A.R. building (Opera House in back)

Built in 1901, The Y.M.C.A building later became the Masons building.

Y.M.C.A. 1901, corner of Independence and 8th streets.

The Masonic Lodge Building, located at the corner of 8th and Independence. This building, red brick, not the yellow shown, was destroyed in a fire, December 2017.

The Guarantee Trust and Safe Deposit Co
29 East Independence Street [Corner of 8th and Independence streets


View down 8th, from Independence

26 East Independence St, Shamokin
The Capitol Theater

46 East independence Street, Shamokin Pa


60-63 Independence Street
This building was originally the Sanner Hardware Store, until 1922 when it opened as the Rennas Hotel.  A luxury hotel, it featured
 mahogany finishes, leather furniture, a writing room with six individual desks, a barbershop, 118 rooms to rent and “a telephone in every room.”
In 1929 it begame the Penn-Lee, and in 1969 it became the Penn-Oscala apartments. 

118 East Independence Street
The J.F. Harris Jewelry Store

Jones Hardware
115 East Independence St, Shamokin Pa

1891 9th to Rock
Edison Electric Illuminating Company
Robertson and Osler Shamokin Mills
Windsor Hotel
Exchange Hotel
P & R R R passenger Depot & Freight Ho
The Windsor Hotel Block
Corner of Liberty and Independence Streets

"The site on which now stood the American Legion's impressive new structure had long been known as the Windsor Hotel block. Jonas Gilger, one of Shamokin's first contracting carpenters, was the original owner of the site at Independence and Liberty streets. C. P. Helfenstein purchased the land from Gilger and erected an imposing three-story brick building which was christened the Academy of Music. The Academy was a close rival of and probably outclassed the Douty "brownstone front," located on the corner of Sunbury and Rock Streets, as a center of public entertainment and business activities.

Theatricals were presented in the assembly hall on the second floor. Elmer Helfenstein operated a publishing and printing plant on the third floor, to which stock supplies were hoisted by rope and pulley block. Retail business stores were on the first or ground floor. In later years, the Academy was extensively remodeled and modernized for a new purpose.

 The east wing above the ground floor was changed into a reception lobby and office quarters for the new Windsor Hotel which, for many years, would be famous for good food and hospitality. Rooms for overnight guests were located in the south and west sections of the building. Operators and managers of the Windsor during various periods include William Doolittle, Oliver Drumheller, J. A. Ring, and J. W. Henrie. 

 John Roach, later a county commissioner, operated a barber shop in the basement quarters beneath the reception lobby. Frank Dubbs was the proprietor of a bowling alley installed in an enlarged section of the hotel basement. Owners of retail business establishments who occupied the store rooms at pavement level included Shoener & Leibig, (Frank Shoener and George Leibig), shoes and footwear; Howell Shoener, millinery; and Abe Braude, clothier; among others. George W. Fagley and William Muir, pioneer merchants, were partners in a general merchandising enterprise at the corner of Independence and Liberty Streets. 

This store room, in later years, supplied temporary quarters for handling local mail while a new post office was being constructed at Sunbury and Rock Streets. F. E. Ammerman previously operated a general store at that corner for a few years. The Windsor Hotel was the setting for many important events. James G. Blaine, famed national statesman and candidate for the presidency, once addressed a political gathering from the hotel balcony that extended over the pavement. 

On another occasion, just a short stone's throw from the Windsor, Theodore Roosevelt spoke to a similar crowd from the rear platform of a Reading passenger train. This was during his Bull Moose campaign.

 In 1919, after a long and eventful history, the Windsor Hotel block was destroyed by fire. Soon afterward, the American Legion, Post No. 73, acquired the site and the present building was constructed. This building, too, provided store space on the ground floor. Occupants of these stores, at the time of the new structure's completion were the Busy Bee Restaurant; Joe Robbins, mens clothier; and the Mirbach Store, women's apparel."
 125 years City of Shamokin, Pennsylvania  1864-1989

View of Independence Street, with the train station on the right

The Reading Passenger Depot & Freight Station

The Railroad Station

The passenger station was demolished in October 1965.  The Freight station was demolished in March 1966, the land was then used for a parking lot.

1922 Rock To Franklin


The Hotel Graemer, later the Hotel Madison
Babe Ruth once stayed here.

1900 photo in front of the Graemer, showing the brick street

Eagle Silk Mill
Constructed in 1916, with an addition added in 1924
Building no longer stands

The 1922 Sanborn fire map shows the Eagle Silk mill taking up the entire block between N. Franklin and Vine Street, between East Independence and Shakespeare.

600 North Franklin Street (and East Independence Street)

The J.H. & C.K. Eagle Silk Mill was once the largest textile building under one roof in America – 379,000 sq. ft.

One of the articles in the book “My Shamokin” (a collection of the Edgar Marlok Stories reveals an interesting story about the men of the community gathering at vantage points near the east end of Independence Street to see the parade of female workers en route home after a day’s work at the Eagle Silk Mill Plant. Girls employed at the Eagle Mill were accustomed to dressing like “Mrs. Astor’s Pet Horse” to go to and from work, and they kept a change of clothes in the mill to be worn during working hours. The reputation of girls spread so widely that Walter Winchell, in the early days of his career as columnist and newscaster, commented on the Shamokin area as the home town of some of the world’s most beautiful women.
Corner of 6th & West Independence Street

End of Independence Street, Shamokin Pa

Birds Eye Views

Birds Eye View, Shamokin Pa

Intersections from West To East:

Water Tower in Action, Shamokin Pa

City Hall, 47 East Lincoln Street Shamokin Pa

Post Office, Sunbury Street, Shamokin Pa

Spanish American War Memorial, Shamokin Pa
Corner of Lincoln & Market Street

Some of the businesses on Independence Street in 1953 


  1. This is an amazing collection. There are quite a few I’ve never seen. Thank you for sharing these.

  2. That's for sharing these great images. My grandparents lived in Shamokin for many years. I love old transportation-related stuff, so seeing the postcards with the "dummy signal" traffic light on Independence Street by the bank was really cool. And finding out that the Weis supermarket and parking lot used to be two roads, one which housed a railroad round house has one wondering what it would've been like to live there back in the day.


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