Here is a snapshot of the building history as we know it. Feel free to go to the Shared Memories page to add your own memories!
The timeline that we are aware of includes:
1886 John Lehner
Thanks to Margaret Heath for this bill of sale from 1886! This was her great-great grandfather who had a store here.
1896 – early 1900s W.H. Zaring General Store
We found W.H Zaring listed in the Shamokin Business, Residence and Lodge Directory of 1896. We found this picture in the News Item Business Memories book. I have to get a better picture, but thought I’d add it here.The second picture, from afar, also shows W H Zaring as the storefront.
1904 – 1935 O.K. Wetzels Dry Goods & Notions Store
We have a picture of this and you can see that they used the 2 floors for merchandise. Look at the dresses in the second floor window. And I love the bunting on the building! Thanks to Dalado Photography for this photo! He’s got loads of great photos on his site and has been a great resource for the building history!
I also found an Oleo Margarine License (true!) from March of 1917. OK Wetzel had a license to sell Oleo Margarine. As did many other places in PA!
Here are some newspaper ads from 1911 and 1912 from O. K. Wetzel
We found an article (thanks to Larry) relating to O. K. Wetzel’s retirement. He declared bankruptcy in 1935 and moved his store to 545 Market St. At that time the building was sold. Below is the bankruptcy notice and his retirement article.
1936 – 1967 Miller’s Auto Supply
We are now sure of these dates. We have deeds and pictures confirming 1936 and have a newspaper article from December 12, 1942 that references Miller’s Auto Supply and a picture of the Independence Fire Hall that shows the last part of Miller’s sign on the side of the building and we have talked to folks who remembered Miller’s Auto Supply being here. But we’re always looking for more info!
Here are some pictures from Mr Jim Blessing, the first Manager of the Shamokin store.
The newspaper below is from 1959 and outlines the newly renovated store.
Here is a shot of the fire that leveled the several buildings in the middle of the block. This is from September 1961.
We also know that the upper floor were used as a meeting location for 316TH ENGINEER COMPANY of the Organized Reserve Corp from November 17, 1947 through January 9, 1956
July 28, 1949
Shamokin News-Dispatch from Shamokin, Pennsylvania · Page 3
Reserve Unit Will Tour Water Plant
Members of the 316th Engineer Water Supply Company of the local Organized Reserve Corps will participate in a conducted training tour this evening of the Bear Gap installations of Roaring Creek Water Company. Comparison will be made between purification methods used by the water company and the Army’s mobile equipment, officers said. The local Reserve Corps company is receiving regular training in the use of chemicals for water purification, selection of water sites, water storage and other related subjects. Objective of the company is to obtain mobile Army equipment for training purposes after completion of chart and manual work reserve leaders pointed out. Water supply company members will leave for the tour at 6:30 from local Army Reserve Corps headquarters, 52 North Market Street. A new Army regulation requires reservists to be attired in uniforms while attending all training sessions.
Lineage and Honors Information as of 20 May 2015
316TH ENGINEER COMPANY
- Constituted 19 March 1942 in the Army of the United States as Company A, 401st Engineer Water Supply Battalion
- Activated 18 April 1942 at Plattsburg Barracks, New York
- Reorganized and redesignated 9 October 1944 as the 1513th Engineer Water Supply Company
- Inactivated 20 October 1945 at Leghorn, Italy
- Redesignated 4 November 1947 as the 316th Engineer Water Supply Company and allotted to the Organized Reserves
- Activated 17 November 1947 at Shamokin, Pennsylvania
- (Organized Reserves redesignated 25 March 1948 as the Organized Reserve Corps; redesignated 9 July 1952 as the Army Reserve)
- Reorganized and redesignated 11 January 1955 as the 316th Engineer Company
- Inactivated 9 January 1956 at Shamokin, Pennsylvania
- Activated 16 October 2010 at Chattanooga, Tennessee
CAMPAIGN PARTICIPATION CREDIT
- Word War II
- Sicily (with arrowhead)
- North Apennines
- Central Europe
- Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army), Streamer embroidered EUROPEAN THEATER
BY ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY:
RICHARD W. STEWART, Ph.D.
Chief of Military History
1967 – 1975 Idle Hour – Boris was the owner
We’re told that there used to be pool tables in the back room.
1975 – 1981 Naples Pizza
According to Jane Boris, Walter and Anne Boris opened Naples as a pool hall and lunch counter in April 1975. We have one of those paper hats that has Naple’s Pizza on it and when we tore off some of the walls, we found the red and white stripes that Sam remembered from Naples. We also have magazines from Dec 1978 with Naple’s as the addressee.
Here’s a newspaper ad (thanks again, Larry!) and who all remembers the red and white striped wallpaper througout?
1981 -mid 80s? – BJ’s
We know that BJ’s was open in 1979 because we have a Certificate of Building Compliance showing BJ’s as the restaurant name with Boris as the Owner. We also have a magazine from May 1980 and Dec 1981 with Naples on it, but we think the name was just never changed.
Here are the pieces of evidence we have between Naples and BJs
- 1978 – Magazine from Dec 1978 to Naples
- 1979 – A Certificate of Building Compliance in the name of Boris for BJs
- 1980 – A Pizzamaker Magazine addressed to Naples
- 1981 – Dec 81 magazine to Boris for Naples, a Cigarette License for Boris Enterprises and a Tax Certificate for BJs, April 1981 Business License for Boris Enterprises, a license for BJs
- 1981 – the photo below was taken
- 1982 – July 1982 magazine in the name of Naples to Boris, a Cigarette and Tax Exempt License in the name of Boris for BJs
- 1983 – June 1983 a magazine for BJs to Boris, Oct 1983 magazine to Naples for Boris, a Business Cigarette license, Business Tax form and Business License for BJs
- 1984 – Feb 1984 magazine for BJs
The picture below wasn’t necessarily taken of our building, but there it is in the background, sporting a BJs Pizza & Family Restaurant sign.
1980s? Fan Club –
No doubt about this being here! Here’s a picture we found. And we still have the sign in the basement! We beleive the building was then owned by Ron Weller
Here are some great comments from folks on Facebook:
Matt Heins: Wow parts of that building I haven’t seen in some time. From what I remember from going there in the 80’s the place was a lot bigger on the first floor. In the mid 80’s the pizza kitchen was in the back of the building and they had a full dining area, complete with an arcade area ( the carpeted room with all the outlets) they had mostly video games but I do remember some sort of skee ball game there to. Eventually, in the early 90’s, either new owners took over or they weren’t getting the clientele to support having a full dining area that they remodeled the inside making it a lot smaller inside and only room for 1 or 2 tables and they moved the kitchen to the front of the building. I think the one thing people will remember most about The Fan Club was the size of their pizza’s at the time it the home of the JUMBO pizza…most noted for having the cheese run to one side of the box by the time you got it home.
Sue Slotterback: The Fan Club and Weller’s commissary was run in the back of the building and games were out front. Then it was remodeled and The Fan Club was in the front and the commissary was in the back. The games were removed at that point. At one point Mr Coffee,part of Weller Vending, was also run out of the building. I worked in the building for BJ’s and also managed the Fan Club. I remember painting the tin ceiling back in the 1980’s when The Fan Club was moved up front. Years ago the small rooms on the second floor were rented out to construction people by Pop Boris. When Mr Weller had the building it was used for storage. My guess was you wondered what all the small rooms were. I am right? It was always spooky to me and I was only on the third floor a few times. I always said it was like walking back into the 1800’s up there.
Early 2000s Patrick’s Pizza
– 2002 Johnny’s Pizza
– 2003 Mr Brew Coffee – owned by Ron Weller