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Paoli Coal and Lumber Merchants
A series of supply merchants were located in Paoli on the north side of the railroad tracks and west of North Valley Road. The businesses were active for nearly 100 years, from 1887 to 1985.
In 1883 Henry Hall purchased a number of tracts of land on the north side of the railroad, and west of North Valley Road1. Sometime between then and 1887 he set up a Coal and Lumber dealership2.
In 1898 J. Hervey Dewees and Edward E. Bracken purchased a tract of 2.2 acres from Henry Hall1. They continued the Coal and Lumber business selling materials brought in via the railroad. Both Dewees and Bracken were charter members of the Paoli Fire Company3. Bracken was the first fire chief. Biographies of Dewees and Bracken by the Barbara and Herb Fry can be found in the article The Promoters of Paoli.
In 1912 Dewees withdrew from the enterprise. Bracken continued to own the business until 1926.
In 1926 Bracken sold the business to Great Valley Mills, although the Mills occupied the site previous to the sale as shown by the following 1925 Sanborn insurance map.:
Compare this plan of the buildings with the 1926 Dallin photograph of them below.
Dallin Aerial Photo, 1926
Great Valley Mills only held onto the property until 1928 when it was sold to the Paoli Coal & Supply Co.
Paoli Coal & Supply, pre-1932 fire4
He set up his business in the Paoli Coal & Supply Company building:
Paoli Hardware, c. 19327
On the 29th July, 1932 the lumber yard went up in flames. Photos of the fire can be found in the Image database by searching on July 29, 1932.
George Clemmans moved his hardware business across the tracks on the south side of the Lincoln Highway, two doors west of South Valley Road8. In October 1951, Cordine Scartozzi bought Clemman’s business and soon renamed it The Hardware Center. It remained in Clemmans’ old location until 1955 when the Paoli Shopping Center was built, and “Cordie” moved his business there. Clemmans’ former location soon after became the Paoli Army and Navy store. - Roger Thorne
The Main Line Coal & Feed Co, continued in business after the fire. The 1933 atlas does not seem to show any damage to the buildings. Perhaps this part of the atlas was completed before the fire.
In 1940 Paoli Coal & Supply Co. sold the business to Edward A. Alleva.
Ed Alleva ran the business until he died in 1966. His widow, Bertha, became the sole owner of the business. Ed’s brother, John, ran the business until 1985, when Bertha sold the property to SEPTA who are using it as a station parking lot.9 Other members of the Alleva family participated in the business, such as Dan Alleva10.
John Alleva outside Paoli Business, 1985
Septa Parking Lot, 1985
Heidi Sproat, Roger Thorne, and Bart Van Valkenburgh helped with this article.