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Somerset County Then and Now

Then and Now

113 North Center Avenue

113 North Center Avenue


Address: 113 North Center Avenue
Built: 1888
Builder: Unknown
Previously: John Baker Snyder store and residence
Owners: International Order of Odd Fellows Lodge 438
Extant: Yes

Entrance door to the IOOF Building

Lodge 438 of the International Order of Odd Fellows was formed June 10, 1851. It was the second I.O.O.F. lodge formed in Somerset County, the first being in Stoystown. After a break for the Civil War, the lodge was reformed and had their hall in the building owned by William Brazier Coffroth on the site now occupied by the Law and Finance Building (Ferner Hotel). The Great Fire of May 9, 1872 drove them out of this location. For the next few months, they met in temporary locations until the completion of the Baer Block in 1873 where they rented space. In 1884 the lodge purchased for $2,500 a half interest in the residence and store of John Baker Snyder, merchant, which stood on the site of the present lodge. On the night of May 17, 1888 this building, along with the Coffroth-Scull building next door, was destroyed by a fire of suspicious origins. Edmund K Cummins along with Isaac Newton Kemp were charged with arson but were not convicted. Cummins however was convicted of the arson of the Glade House which occurred only 10 days before. Ironically, Cummins father, Civil War hero Robert Parson Cummins, was one of the charter members of the I. O. O. F. Lodge. Construction of a new lodge began immediately and the new hall was dedicated on Halloween night of that same year. The new building was two stories high with the lodge hall upstairs and a commercial space on the ground floor. The first tenant was the same J. B. Snyder who shared the previous building with the lodge. In addition to Mr. Snyder's retail store, he had a factory in the back making overalls. Other well- known tenants included the clothing stores of Knepper & Good, Baughman & Ludwick, Critchfield Electric, Sherwin Williams and even the United States Postal Service. The Shoemaker Brothers occupied this space for 21 years before building their own structure across the street in 1936. Today the space is the Main Moon Chinese restaurant.