February 2, 2023

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Updated: September 26, 2022 @ 5:38 am
Doug Abbatiello, who is an architect and member of the Sharon Historical Society, shares the history of his home of 40 years, 603 Prindle St., Sharon. The masonry contractor who built it in 1907 sold it and his business 6 years later, homesick for his native Canada. A subsequent resident, Bryce Fogle, had a Steinway grand piano hoisted by crane through an upstairs window in 1969.
The history walk started at C.M. Musser Elementary School, which was built in 1957 and renovated in 1999. It replaced the first schoolhouse on that block, Prospect Heights Elementary School, which was built in 1904 during a surge of school contruction in Sharon in the first decade of the 20th century.
The once-grand abandoned property at 247 S. Oakland Ave. used to be a funeral home and Red Cross offices. The structure is in danger of facing demolition by the city if not renovated.
The history walk included details about the three viaducts at Oakland Avenue across Pine Hollow that connected the Prospect Heights neighborhood to Sharon’s East Hill.
The history walk presented Saturday by the Sharon Historical Society and the Sharon Beautification Commission included a stop Spruce Avenue and King Street at St. Stanislaus Kostka Roman Catholic Church’s, which closed in 2017.
The history walk wrapped up at East Side Church (Baptist-Disciples of Christ), which has been at 201 Spruce Ave., and is in its third building on the site.
Doug Abbatiello, who lives at 693 Prindle St., in Sharon, shared information about the home’s history.
The history walk crowd is reflected in the stained glass at the now-closed St. Stan’s church in Sharon.

The history walk started at C.M. Musser Elementary School, which was built in 1957 and renovated in 1999. It replaced the first schoolhouse on that block, Prospect Heights Elementary School, which was built in 1904 during a surge of school contruction in Sharon in the first decade of the 20th century.
SHARON — The sounds of WaterFire Sharon prep could be heard in the distance at lunchtime Saturday as nearly 150 people toured the Prospect Heights neighborhood of the city.
“Literally hundreds of homes were moved in the area,” Brian Kepple said as the crowd gathered outside C.M. Musser Elementary School, 500 Cedar Ave.
Kepple, a board member for the Sharon Historical Society, was referring to homes that were jacked up and relocated to other parts of the Shenango Valley as commercial and school construction progressed in Prospect Heights.
He and fellow board member John Zavinski led three history tours of the south side Sharon neighborhood on Saturday.
The event, which included a keepsake booklet, was presented by the historical society and the Sharon Beautification Commission. It was sponsored by local businesses, individuals and organizations.
No one is sure where the “Prospect Heights” name originated, Zavinski said.
The area is now mostly residential and is considered the “new” part of Sharon. It was home to the former Prospect Heights Elementary School — a red brick structure from the turn of the century.
It was replaced a half-century later school buildings popped up in quick succession during the 1950s, which Zavinski described as a building spree that included Musser — it now houses students in kindergarten through sixth grade.
“The school system consumed the entire block,” he said.
The Musser building was named after Dr. Cleon McKinley Musser, who worked for the schools as superintendent, teacher, administrator and coach.
At a dinner honoring Musser in 1959 at the Shenango Inn, he received a white Thunderbird; he was preparing to move to New Mexico, and several local businessmen pitched in to upgrade his vehicle.
On Leslie Street, Kepple talked about the “mom and pop” stores that were located all over town at one point.
“These stores were a little bit of everything,” he said.
The shopkeepers were memorable and generous, and lots of people remember being sent to the store as children to pick up a few things for the family.
The corner stores were run by local families: DeCapua, Krivosh, Patterson, Mike’s Corner Market and more.
“At one time, we counted 75 grocery stores in the city directory,” Kepple said of the 1950 publication.
The history walk presented Saturday by the Sharon Historical Society and the Sharon Beautification Commission included a stop Spruce Avenue and King Street at St. Stanislaus Kostka Roman Catholic Church’s, which closed in 2017.
In front of St. Stanislaus Kostka Roman Church, 370 Spruce Ave., Zavinski described a street car line that used to come through the neighborhood, which was hit by a tornado in 1947.
“This whole area was ‘ground zero,’” he said.
The history walk crowd is reflected in the stained glass at the now-closed St. Stan’s church in Sharon.
St. Stan’s was damaged by the tornado then again in 1965 by a major fire, and a new church was built.
“Hopefully, someday it can be used again,” Kepple said.
It closed in 2017 and its congregation merged with S. Adalbert to become St. Anthony of Padua in Farrell.
A few folks stopped to peek through the colorful stained glass windows as the crowd made its way to the next stop, an abandoned property at 247 S. Oakland Ave., at Prindle Street.
The once-grand abandoned property at 247 S. Oakland Ave. used to be a funeral home and Red Cross offices. The structure is in danger of facing demolition by the city if not renovated.
The Queen Anne-Style house was built around 1900; early owner include the Shatto family, which ran a shoe store.
It later served as the McCartney Funeral Home and Coulter Funeral Home, and then Red Cross offices.
The history walk included details about the three viaducts at Oakland Avenue across Pine Hollow that connected the Prospect Heights neighborhood to Sharon’s East Hill.
The Prospect Heights neighborhood legally became part of Sharon in 1902, Zavinski said as the he led the group down Oakland to Edgewood Road at the Oakland Avenue Viaduct.
The first viaduct opened, the Hazel Street Viaduct, opened in 1904 over Pine Hollow. The structure was rebuilt in 1936 and 2001 with multiple repairs in between.
“That was a fun event,” Zavinski said of when the viaduct was demolished in 2001.
At one point before the most recent replacement, concrete slabs were falling off the bridge onto traffic below on the freeway; the bridge is now made of steel, he said.
Some of the homes throughout Prospect Heights were built by well-known community members and have features like leaded glass windows, turrets, cupolas and elaborate trim and stonework, some of which have been damaged or lost.
The home at 447 Prindle was built around 1908 by the Traxler family and designed by E.E. Clepper. Traxler worked with his father and brother at their downtown Sharon business, J. Traxler and Sons clothiers.
Zavinski pointed out how manyof the homes have no room for driveways, and there are alleys behind them with tiny garages.
Kepple noted the concrete wall on Walnut Street, which was erected to block a steep embankment over the freeway; there have been many accidents in that spot, Kepple said.
A lot of the neighborhood used to be farmland, and some streets are named for families, like the Prindles and Aldermans.
The home at 300 Prindle is believed to have been in the McDowell family from about 1897 to the 1970s.
The family, which has come to be known for McDowell National Bank, includes A. Walter “Dude” McDowell, who got his start in journalism in 1892 as a boy publishing a small weekly paper called “The Sharon Star” with his brothers, Zavinski said.
McDowell had a lengthy career with The Sharon Herald that included time as co-publisher and president of the board, said Zavinski, a longtime employee of The Herald who now works as the newspaper’s assistant editor for graphics.
Doug Abbatiello, who lives at 693 Prindle St., in Sharon, shared information about the home’s history.
The brick home at 603 Prindle was built in 1907 and information was presented by its current owner and occupant, Doug Abbatiello.
“A lot of care went into doing this,” he said of how solidly built the home is.
There’s an oval-shaped stone above the front porch that says “Maple Villa 1907.” With help from history buff Bill Cowan, who came to work on the furnace, Abbatiello learned that the name referred to the home’s builder, A.E. Wales, who was from Canada.
Cowan had an old newspaper article with information about the house during that visit in 1992; they are glad the stories keep getting passed along.
Doug Abbatiello, who is an architect and member of the Sharon Historical Society, shares the history of his home of 40 years, 603 Prindle St., Sharon. The masonry contractor who built it in 1907 sold it and his business 6 years later, homesick for his native Canada. A subsequent resident, Bryce Fogle, had a Steinway grand piano hoisted by crane through an upstairs window in 1969.
Wales sold the home and the business and moved back to Toronto in 1913. It was home to the Fogle family for the next 70 years, including daughter Goldia and her husband Thomas Randolph.
Mrs. Randolph taught piano lessons at home for many years; former students often stop by.
“A lot of people have this little bit of their past in this house,” Abbatiello said.
Newspaper coverage from 1969 featured a crane hoisting Fogle’s Steinway grand piano into the home through a second-story window.
Each home in the neighborhood has a story; take the time now to listen to their owners and their stories if possible, he said.
The history walk wrapped up at East Side Church (Baptist-Disciples of Christ), which has been at 201 Spruce Ave., and is in its third building on the site.
The last stop on the tour was East Side Church at 201 Spruce Ave. It was founded in 1913, and the building has expanded over the years, Kepple said
Now, there are less than 30 parishioners, so the church is in danger of closing and merging with another congregation.
“That’s a story of a lot of small churches,” he said.
A video of the walking tour is in the works for the web. Society members will have history tours during WaterFire Sharon next year, exploring the north side of Sharon and possibly the Ohio end of Irvine Avenue.
Upcoming Sharon Historical Society events include: Another tour of Oakwood Cemetery in May; a lecture and the release of the “Grand Homes of the Gilded Age” book at 6 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Sharon city building; and a program with Cassie Nespor about saving family treasures at 6 p.m. Dec. 1 at the city building.
FOR MORE information about the Sharon Historical Society, located at the rear of 110 E. State St., Sharon, visit sharonhistoricalsociety.com or “Sharon Historical Society — Pennsylvania” on Facebook, or send donations to: Sharon Historical Society, Box 82, Sharon, PA 16146.
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