This historic photo, courtesy of the Warren County Historical Society City Views Collection, was taken in the late 1800s to show the old-time, northwest corner of Second Avenue and Liberty Street in downtown Warren, then home to the Allen Block. The Allen Block was built in 1871 and stood as a fully-functioning home for flourishing business throughout the late nineteenth century.
One member of the block, The Davis Drug Company, as advertised in this photo, was where Dr. Michael Valentine Ball, son of "pioneer clothier" George Ball, got the start to his impressive career as a medical physician. Dr. Ball went from the Davis Drug Company to study under Dr. Robert Koch, the father of microscopic bacteriology, and eventually came back to Warren as a practicing ophthalmologist and the author of his own book on bacteriology.
During these years of growth and expansion, the Allen Block was not the only one making money. Near the turn of the century, Warren's meager beginnings had blossomed into a well-functioning and lucrative society. The lumber and oil industries were taking off and, with all the new cash in the area, a group of wise investors decided the three banks in Warren at the time were no longer sufficient for the growing finances of town residents and businesses. On April 25, 1983, Warren National Bank opened its doors at 328 Water Street (now Pennsylvania Avenue West), collecting 29 deposits worth almost $17,000 on its first day of business.
Warren National Bank and its directors, including famous locals Judge W. D. Brown, Jerry Crary, D. W. Beatty, A. T. Scofield, and C. Schimmelfeng, found great success in the endeavor and, in 1903, decided the business was too large for such a small location. The bank bought the Allen Block in 1903 and, after demolition of the structure shown in the historic photo, construction of the new Warren National Bank began. By July of 1905, the bank was open for business in its more spacious location.
The bank and its building at Second and Liberty stayed open and continued to thrive throughout the Twentieth Century. Other than a ten-month renovation project in 1970, the bank remained as-was until August 19, 1981, when it officially merged with Marine Bank of Erie. The merger was completed by July of the following year. In the spring of 1993, the Marine name changed to PNC when, in February of that year, the company solidified its holding name as PNC Bank Corp.
This new photo, courtesy of the Warren Camera Club, shows the modern-day PNC Bank where the Allen Block once stood.