Then and Now II

Here is the 2nd part of the series of, “Then and Now” by George S. Young’s 1898 Photo Souvenir Album. I decided to go a little deeper with the articles, in this way. Not only provide a picture of the residence, but also the people who occupied them, and/or the usage of the building.

Let us begin by looking at a building very familiar to Kittanning, and located at N. Jefferson and Arch St. Currently several attorneys and the Allegheny Valley Land Trust occupy the “The Olde Library”.

1898 - 200 N. Jefferson St. - 2008

In 1898 listed as the residence of John A. Colwell.

S. Water St.

John A. Colwell was a leading steel manufacture, being associated with the Kittanning Iron Company until his death in 1902.  Under reorganization in 1879 he joined this iron works, which provided large employment to Kittanning. The plant was located in the area of S. Water St. in close proximity to Bradigan’s Heating, and  former Kittanning Stone Company area. A large part of the Riverfront Park was formed from the slag of the iron company.

In 1919 John Crossett resided at this residence and he was a Division Superintendent  for the Philadelphia Gas Co. with over 40 years of service. It once served as the Kittanning Free Library for a many years.

There was Music in this Mansion.

1931 Simpson Daily-Leader Times
1898 - 445 N. Grant Ave. - 2008

In 1898 William A. Gates was the resident here. The property then included a larger area comprising the corner of N. Grant and Union Ave. My grandmother recalls the swimming pool that was located near the alley at the rear of Rupp’s Auto Repair. Dave Rupp showed me the location, and a few brick that formed it still remain in the ground.

Simpson Daily-Leader Times ad in 1928 states. “Swim in clean filtered water at Gates Swimming Pool, rear Gates Estate. Grant and Union Ave. Send the children, they shall be carefully guarded. Admission 25¢”.


William A. Gates was the owner of Gates Granary which still stands at N. Grant Ave. and the entrance of Campbell St. This building is part of the TACT transit company. He also was a proprietor of a Dry Goods store at 133 S. Jefferson St. in 1904.  Daughter Sara Gates had various studios for vocal training in Kittanning.

5 Replies to “Then and Now II”

  1. In regards 2 the article on the slag from the ironworks being used 2 form the park, see article I donated 2 the museum several years ago regarding my Great Uncle-Ernest R. McMaster. It was HIS idera 2 have the slag dumped there.Referred 2 in the article as “The Father of the Allegheny He was held in great regard by Mr.Colwell as well as Judge King. If this article cannot B located, let me know, as I believe I still have a copy in my Archives. In regards 2 the 2nd article, on the Gates Estate, et al. You may want 2 contact my cousin, Ken Watt. If my memory serves, his Grandmother Watt was a Gates & I recall my dad referring 2 “Uncle Herb” Gates. ken MAY B able 2 enlighten U further.

  2. Bill, thanks for the info. I remember Mildred Lankard Thomas talking about how the park glowed at night from some of the slag still being hot. I think I did hear of the Watts being connect, it would be nice to hear from some current relatives. It you would see them Bill, mention me and maybe we can hook up. I’ll take a look for that articles, would be a nice addition.

    1. Hello Robert. My email is You are certainly welcome to prepare any information you’d like. Everyone is welcome to post material on this site. We just currently start everyone as a subscriber, so that all material can be reviewed by our staff before allowing it published. Either way will work just fine. I look forward to hearing more from you.


    2. Rob,
      You may be related to me. I am Herbert G. Gates III, son of Alfred, grandson to Herbert G. Gates who was in PA House of Reps from Kittanning. One of the William Gates was also my great-uncle, one was Herbert’s father, and one was his grandfather who came to Kittanning @1826. You said you have photos, and you may have other info of interest. If you could, please contact me at
      Thanks, and God bless,
      Rev./Chaplain Herbert G. Gates III

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