“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Pottsville in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Mahantongo and South Second Streets

The Rich History in this City Block

Mahantongo and South Second Streets Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Fischer, Jr., November 19, 2021
1. Mahantongo and South Second Streets Marker

You are standing on the site where once stood the home of Walter Scott Sheafer, the famed civil and mining engineer, real estate and insurance businessman. He was one of the developers of the Mahanoy and Shenandoah coal fields. Mr. Sheafer was instrumental in getting the Tilt Silk Mill to locate in Pottsville, bringing employment to many, as well as starting the Steam Heat Plant. Not many people realize that Mr. Sheafer acquired a great deal of land in New York City, bounded on the north and west by Riverside Drive and the east by Broadway. Walter Sheafer died in 1908, and these NYC holdings of his were sold by his heirs to none other than John D. Rockefeller, Jr. in 1917 for a pretty penny.

Around that time, Joseph L. Warne, M.D., had come to Pottsville as a young intern and opened a private practice next to the Presbyterian church, located across the street at Mahantongo and South Third Street. He opened a hospital on March 8, 1923, with a modest capacity of ten to twelve beds. It was located in the old Walter Sheafer home, which he purchased from Sheafer's daughter, Mrs. Frances Halberstadt. His hospital was named in honor
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of his beloved wife, Lemos B. Warne, who died in 1919 due to a septic ulcer.

Soon after, the building was enlarged with more beds. A formal opening to the public was held on July 15, 1926. Dr. Warne had acquired the smaller adjoining home of Miss Sally Sillyman, who was the daughter of the late Margaret Sillyman, the first female postmaster in the United States. The Sillyman house was not destroyed, but rather moved to Howard Avenue for a nurses quarters. More additions were added as the years went by, with the Warne Hospital taking on the appearance of a square with a courtyard in the middle. There were also several offices for doctors and nurses, as well as a pharmacy managed by E.S. Fernsler. Dr. Warne, of course, now had his office there. In 1945, Dr. Warne turned the hospital over to the city, and it was governed by a board of local directors. Shortly afterward, Dr. Warne died of a heart attack at age 60. In 1964, the Pottsville Parking Authority bought the old clinic for $65,000 in 1967 and began the process of creating a modern, state of the art parking complex to address the parking needs of a thriving city. That three story, 325 space parking lot opened for business on October 6, 1969. The Mahantongo Parking Garage stood on this site and was operational as a parking facility until it closed for structural reasons on October 26, 2016.

The Mahantongo Parking
Mahantongo and South Second Streets Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Fischer, Jr., November 19, 2021
2. Mahantongo and South Second Streets Marker
On the newly-built Mahantongo Parking Center
Garage is in a strategic location in the southern portion of the city and needed to be replaced. The Parking Authority searched for two years for ways to fund a new parking garage facility and examined ways to enhance the project to compliment a resurgence in downtown revitalization. A new multiplex movie theater, to be located on top of the garage, was one concept, but it never came to fruition.

When funding sources seemed bleak, Richard L. "Dick" Yuengling came forward and aided the Authority. Mr. Yuengling's personal generosity and benevolence, in addition to a grant from the commonwealth's Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), originally earmarked for a Yuengling Brewery project, helped to move the project forward. Subsequently, additional loan funding from USDA Rural Development and the Greater Pottsville Area Sewer Authority have all compiled to make this project a reality.

The City of Pottsville and the Pottsville Parking Authority are forever grateful for the financial assistance and the efforts of numerous individuals that worked to make this project come to a successful completion.

It is worthy to note, and with grateful appreciation to J. Robert Zane, Esq, that much of the information portrayed herein came from the blog of the Schuylkill County Historical Society, The Forgetten Warne Hospital, authored by J. Robert Zane, Esq.
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Erected 2021 by City of Pottsville and the Pottsville Parking Authority.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Charity & Public WorkRoads & VehiclesScience & MedicineSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical date for this entry is March 8, 1923.
Location. 40° 41.037′ N, 76° 11.726′ W. Marker is in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, in Schuylkill County. Marker is at the intersection of Mahantongo Street and 2nd Street, on the left when traveling west on Mahantongo Street. Marker is on the Mahantongo Parking Garage. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Pottsville PA 17901, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Joseph L. Warne, M. D. (here, next to this marker); Trinity Episcopal Church (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); John K. "Jack" Schneider (about 400 feet away); Architectural Elements of the Former J.G. Royal Building (about 600 feet away); The Partridge House (about 700 feet away); Yuengling -America's Oldest Brewery (about 800 feet away); American House - C.F. Jackson (approx. 0.2 miles away); John Pott (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Pottsville.
Regarding Mahantongo and South Second Streets.

WALTER SCOTT SHEAFER, late of Pottsville, civil and mining engineer, and later engaged in the real estate and insurance business, was born April 5, 1837, at Wiconisco, Dauphin Co., Pa., son of Henry and Mary Sheafer. His father was a prominent pioneer of Dauphin county, president of the Lykens Valley Railroad Company, developed and superintended the Lykens Valley coal mines at Wiconisco, and in 1834 introduced anthracite coal into the Susquehanna markets.

After graduation from the Scientific department of Yale College, in 1860, Walter S. Sheafer entered the offices of his brother, P. W. Sheafer, with whom he was associated until the death of the latter, in 1891. After that he acted as one of the executors of the Sheafer Estate and was actively engaged in the management of the same. He was especially interested in the development of the Mahanoy and Shenandoah coal fields. For many years he was the engineer for the Gilbert Estate, owners of property in these several regions.

During his professional career as mining engineer he made extensive examinations of coal properties in many parts of the United States, and also in Mexico. Mr. Sheafer was interested in the insurance business and was connected with the firm of Sheafer & Lowrey for many years. In 1887 Mr. Sheafer was president of the Board of Trade of Pottsville, and through his especial efforts the Tilt Silk Mill was located there. He was also connected with the installation of the Steam Heat Company, and was its president for
many years, until his death, which occurred April 20, 1908, at his home in Pottsville, No. 207 Mahantongo street, after a year's illness. He was buried in the Charles Baber cemetery.

On June 7, 1864, Mr. Sheafer was married to Jane Augusta Camp, a native of New Haven, Conn., born Feb. 2, 1838, and they had two children, Paul and Frances M. (now Mrs. Howell Halberstadt). Mrs. Sheafer survived her husband but a few months, passing away Sept. 22, 1908, at her home in Pottsville. She. too, is interred in the Charles Baber cemetery.

Mr. Sheafer was a past master of Pulaski Lodge, No. 216, F. & A. M., of Pottsville; a past high priest of Mountain City Chapter, No. 196, R. A. M.; a past eminent commander of Constantine Commandery, No. 41, K. T., of Pottsville ; and a Scottish Rite Mason of the thirty-second degree. He assisted in organizing Constantine Commandery and was its first eminent commander.

[From J.H. Beers & Co., Schuylkill County Pennsylvania: Genealogy, Family History, Biography; Containing Historical Sketches of Old Families and of Representative and Prominent Citizens Past and Present, Volume 2, p. 1175-1176 (1916)]
Also see . . .  Forgotten Warne Hospital (J.R. Zane, 2018). (Submitted on November 22, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on November 22, 2021. It was originally submitted on November 22, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 225 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 22, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

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Apr. 15, 2024