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History of Freeland, Pa.
Passarella's Hall

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Pasarella's Hall

Knights of Labor meeting announcement, 1890 The Passarella building (old address numbering, 46-48 S. Centre) was a 3-story business duplex at what would later be the site of W. T. Grantís and then Flash Variety, just across the alley from what would be the 4-story brick building that would house Albert's and later Pitmanís furniture stores. Like a number of other business buildings in early Freeland, upper floors were lived in, let out or made available for other uses.

Mrs. Helen Mathers, milliner, Passarella building, 1894 ad I don't know when the Passarella building was erected, but by 1884 Vincent Passarella had his tobacco shop there (left side of the first floor), and in 1886 he was selling groceries there. Directories and maps from 1895 to 1905 listed Mrs. J. (Helen) Mathers' millinery shop in the right side of the building; this 1894 ad comes from Carol Jones (note the use of the term "block" for a large commercial building). It's my impression that various mentions of Passarella's Hall in meeting announcements refer to the upper floor(s) of this building.

MMI relocated to Passarella building after the fire in Drifton MMI in the Birkbeck building After a fire destroyed MMI's home at Cross Creek Hall in Drifton in 1888, the school was moved to Freeland. The clipping at left is dated March 13, 1893. The school occupied an upper floor of the Passarella building for a time before relocating to the Birkbeck building at the northeast corner of Centre and Main streets, shown in the photo at left. MMI remained there until construction of their new building near the train tracks was completed. (Note: This corrects information published elsewhere.) The Birkbeck building is still there, long ago the site of Birkbeck's hardware store; in the 1950s-1960s the Western Auto Store was on the first floor. Photo courtesy of the Standard Speaker.

F. H. Albert furniture store, Passarella building, 1888 ad As early as 1888 the left/south side of the Passarella building was occupied by Frank H. Albert, furniture maker and undertaker; this 1888 ad comes from Ed Merrick. In 1895 photographer Edward F. Madden was also listed at that address. In 1900 Albert was still there selling furniture and carpets and working as an undertaker, and Mathers still had her millinery in the right/north side of the building.

Then, a change: sometime between 1900 and 1905, Frank Albert had a 4-story brick building constructed next door (just across the small alley) for a new Albert furniture store. He died in 1908, and his son Edgar took over the business. Decades later Anthony Pitman would purchase that building and open his own furniture store there. In the 1950s-1960s I remember my family buying furniture there, and across the alley where the Passarella building had been there was W. T. Grant's, where I and some of my friends bought fabric and patterns, (and I *think* towels and bed linens?), among other things.

Thanks to Ed Merrick for research and clippings. Thanks to Carol Jones for the Mathers ad, and the Standard Speaker for the photo of MMI in the Birkbeck building.

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