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Somerset County Then and Now

Then and Now

132 South Center Avenue

132 South Center Avenue



Address: 132 South Center Avenue
Built: 1875
Builder: Unknown
Previously: Baptist Church
Owners: Disciple's of Christ (Christian Church)
Extant: No

Construction of the Disciple's Church began in 1873 on the corner of Patriot Street and Main Cross Street (now Center Avenue) on the site of the Baptist Church. The first service was held on Sunday, August 29, 1875 though exterior details, including the steeple, had yet to be completed. Having outgrown the church, on July 25, 1909 the congregation voted to purchase the home of James B Holderbaum for the sum of $15,000. The deal included Mr. Holderbaum taking over the church property which was valued at $9,500. At some point in this period the interior of the church was divided into 3 floors. Mr. Holderbaum used the church as a showroom for his mercantile business until 1920 when he sold it to Abe Klatzkin for $20,000. Mr. Klatzkin and his partner Max London opened a department store under the name of Philadelphia Underselling. Mr. Klatzkin retired and Mr. London then partnered with the store's manager, Morris Kabat (Kabatchnik). A fire occurred on January 9, 1926 which gutted the building with a loss of $50,000. The store was rebuilt and operated until February of 1935 when Mr. Kabat became sole owner and changed the name to Kabat's. A pool hall, Harry's Place, operated on the second floor this same year. By December of that year, Kabat's was bankrupt and the stock was sold at sheriff's sale. The following year saw the start of a series of restaurants on the main floor, beginning with Passlacqua's "Italian Spaghetti House." The longest operating restaurant was the Kimberly Cafe which opened in 1939 and was put up for sale in 1977. During this period apartments were added and several businesses operated in the basement including a grocery store and a shoe repair shop. Several more restaurants followed the Kimberly Cafe until 2006 when the main floor was occupied by a tattoo museum. A grease fire started by a char broiler gutted the building in March of 2016 causing the building to be razed. The site is now vacant.