Over the years the east side of the 1900 block of North Main Ave in Scranton has seen some changes.

In 1873, a three story brick building would be built along on the block. In 1877 the building was home to a recruiting station for a local militia that would see action during the labor unrest in Scranton that year.  Fenner and Chappell would open their “ready cash” store in the structure in 1880. The third floor of the building was home to dance room called Panooka Hall.  This building would be destroyed by fire in January 1903.  

The east side of the 1900 block of N. Main Ave., Scranton at Providence Square as it appeared in 1907. Photo Courtesy of the Lackawanna Historical Society

The building was rebuilt. This time as a two story structure. Chappell Ready-Pay Store would reopen. 

Chappell would operate until 1935. During their years of operations, Chappell was largest general store in North Scranton. It was known for their extensive toy department. 

The Chappell Building, 1900 block of North Main Ave, Scranton, was gutted by a four alarm fire on Nov. 1, 1947. Times-Tribune Archives

The Chappell Building, 1900 block of North Main Ave, Scranton, was gutted by a four alarm fire on Nov. 1, 1947. Times-Tribune Archives

In 1947, the former Chappell Building was now home to Scranton Sportswear, Inc., a manufacturer of apparel and plastic clothing storage bags; Archie’s Market and an Endicott-Johnson Shoe Store. On November 1 of that year, the building was struck by a four-alarm fire.

The fire was so large, that 16 of the 17 Scranton fire companies were called to put the fire out and to stop it from spreading to neighboring buildings such as the North Scranton Bank and Trust Company and the Providence Methodist Church.

Fire companies battle the blaze until the next day. In the end the building was gutted. Scranton Fire Superintendent Thomas Evans said at the time the cause was to be determined by a state police fire marshal. It was later determined that the fire was caused by heaters in the building.  

1900 block of North Main Ave, Scranton, cicra 1957. Times-Tribune Archives

1900 block of North Main Ave, Scranton, cicra 1957. Times-Tribune Archives

Following the fire, area businesses and civic groups made pleas for the structure to be torn down. Finally in February 1951, the owners of the building were ordered by the city to demolish the burned out structure. Through negotiations the building was saved and was purchased F.E. Grayek in April. Grayek, owner of the Park Theater on Prescott Ave, said he plans to convert the building into a theater with apartments. Grayek would do some rehabilitation work on the building but the theater never came.

In 1957, the North Scranton Bank and Trust Company purchased the Chappell Building and the adjoining Benn’s Shoe Store to make way for a parking lot and drive-thru window for the bank. The only business operating in the building at the time was the Alpha Restaurant.

1900 block of N. Main Ave., at Providence Square in Scranton. Times-Tribune File Photo

Today, not much has changed on the east side of the 1900 block of North Main Ave since the Chappell Building was torn down to make way for a parking lot.

North Scranton Bank and Trust Company would later become PNC Bank. The bank would close in early 2016. The bank building is currently for sale.