Pennsylvania now with over 100 known Meskers

Over recent weeks there has been a steady influx of newly discovered and documented buildings with Mesker components in Pennsylvania, such that it has been impossible to post this customary celebration in the category of “states with at least 100 Meskers.” At least until the new discoveries have been cataloged. Things seem to have leveled off for now so below is a brief summary of Meskers’ historic output in the state and a look at the 143 buildings found to date.

Historically, Mesker companies sold quite a few building facades and related products in Pennsylvania, the state ranking 11th nationwide with a combined estimate of approximately 1,508 buildings. This is impressive given the stiff regional competition. Products supplied by Mesker Brothers Iron Works netted a total of $118,713.84 in receipts between 1885 and 1908 for approximately 918 facades, ranking 8th nationwide. Mesker’s best year in the Quaker State was 1909, with $30,193.21 in net receipts. This success was undoubtedly aided by 273,335 catalogs that Mesker distributed in the state from 1888 to 1909 (56,388 in 1907 alone), which was second-most in the nation. George L. Mesker & Co.’s output in Pennsylvania was similar, at least when compared to other states—according to the 1915 catalog, the company sold 582 facades in the state, which too was 8th best in the nation.

Here is the breakdown of the 143 facades identified so far in Pennsylvania (download the Excel inventory for a complete listing):

  •  98 by Mesker Brothers Iron Works (MB)
  •  45 by George L. Mesker & Co. (GLM)
  •  41 complete “house fronts” (35 MB, 6 GLM)
  •  22 demolished (16 MB, 6 GLM)
  •  Just 1 building is one-story in height (MB), 86 are two-story (57 MB, 29 GLM), 53 are three-story (38 MB, 15 GLM), 2 are four-stories tall (1 MB, 1 GLM), and 1 was eight-stories tall (the St. Nicholas Coal Breaker with steel windows by MB)
  •  74 towns (36 with MB, 24 with GLM, 14 with both)—most surviving facades can be found in Mt. Carmel (7)

Below are some favorite examples of surviving Meskers from the Keystone State (selected from available photos), appearing alphabetically by town:

C.L. Bradburn Building/Knights of Pythias Hall (1890), on Main St., Bradford, PA. A spectacular and towering example of a complete “house front” by Mesker Brothers Iron Works. Image courtesy of Flickr member Onasill ~ Bill – Thank You.
611-615 Main St., Emlenton, PA. The buildings feature lintel and main sheet-metal cornices by Mesker Brothers Iron Works. Image courtesy of Flickr member Dougtone.
Union Hotel, 128 E. Main St., Everett, PA. The large brick building showcases a cornice by Mesker Brothers Iron Works. Image courtesy of Flickr member lucindalunacy.
100 E. Main, Lock Haven, PA. This corner facade of galvanized sheet-metal by Mesker Brothers Iron Works is an explosion of ornament. Image courtesy of Flickr member YouTuber.
On N. Market Sq., Millersburg, PA. Classic sheet-metal facade by Mesker Brothers Iron Works. Image courtesy of Flickr member Dougtone.
38 N. Main St., Port Allegany, PA. Despite storefront changes, the building retains cast iron columns, sheet-metal window hoods and a cornice by George L. Mesker & Co. Image courtesy of Bill Plack.
J. Wallace Building, 429-435 Main St., Stroudsburg, PA. The impressive cornice by George L. Mesker & Co. spans several building bays. Image courtesy of Flickr member Dougtone.
L.T. Jones Store, intersection of Route 125 and US Route 209, Tremont, PA. Very nice example of a Mesker Brothers facade, featuring a rounded turret. Image courtesy of Flickr member Dougtone.
On W. Main Street, Tremont, PA. Classic facade arrangement by Mesker Brothers Iron Works. The buildings to the right feature cornices also by the Mesker Bros. Image courtesy of Flickr member David Hoffman ’41.
York Dispatch Newspaper Offices, 15-17 E. Philadelphia St., York, PA. At four stories, this galvanized sheet-metal facade by Mesker Brothers Iron Works is one of the tallest ever made. The building is listed individually in the National Register of Historic Places, though the nomination contains several pieces of erroneous information. Image courtesy of Mike Jackson.

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