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Somerset County Then and Now

Then and Now

122-128 North Center Avenue

122-128 North Center Avenue


Address: 122-128 North Center Avenue
Built: 1927
Builder: Walker & Mong, architects
Previously: Cook & Beerits Block, Isacc Hugus residence
Owners: Henry Christopher Beerits
Extant: Yes

The Beerits Building story, like the story of so many Somerset buildings, has it's start in 1872. The fire of May 9th of that year destroyed much of uptown Somerset. Henry Christopher Beerits, a shoemaker, had a space in the old Mammoth building at the time of the fire and had just partnered with Jonas M. Cook in a feed and grain business. After the fire they quickly erected a shanty north of the Mammoth building on the site of Isaac Hugus' residence and expanded into groceries. One of the buildings in the new Mammoth Block was owned by Mr. Beerits and he relocated his shoe business there but sold it in 1873 to Solomon Uhl due to the increasing demands of the Cook & Beerits concern. On November 5, 1874 they were burned out yet again and moved to Mr. Beerits space in the Mammoth Block. They immediately purchased the site of their previous store from Isaac Hugus with a 40-foot frontage and 68 feet deep for the sum of $2,400. The following year they built what came to be known as the Cook & Beerits Block. The ground floor was divided into two bays, one of which was occupied by Cook & Beerits and the other was rented out. The upper floors included the Somerset Democrat newspaper. In 1905 Mr. Cook retired and Mr. Beerits brought his two living sons into the business with the new name of H. C. Beerits and Sons.The elder Beerits passed away only 3 years later and the sons continued the business as H. C. Beerits' Sons. In 1927 the new Beerits Building was constructed and the store reopened in April of 1928. At 29,000 square feet, it was the largest commercial building in Somerset. The business remained in operation until closing their doors for good in 1957. In 1963 it was auctioned and became known as the Scull Building, though the name Beerits remains on the facade. Of the many businesses occupying this building over the years, after the Beerits grocery, perhaps the best known was George's Mens Shop, operated by George Lichty starting in that location in 1976. Today the building is owned by the legal firm Fike, Cascio and Boose.