For years, a long, yellowed brick structure that stretched from Walton to Presqueisle Streets in Chester Hill employed many in the Philipsburg area.
That building, once the home and hub of clothing manufacturer Charles Navasky & Co., is now disappearing. The building is being razed by G&R Excavating and Demolition, of Tyrone. As of Friday, the block-long building was more than half gone. From the front, 124 Walton St. seemed like a vacant lot.
The company has been in business since 1893 and once made thousands of garments per week in Philipsburg. However, in recent years, more manufacturing has been done overseas, and local operations have shrunk. The Chester Hill location, which once housed late president Edward Navasky’s office — a shrine that held pictures of all the athletes and celebrities who had worn Navasky suits over the years — closed for good several years ago.
The building was most recently rented to furniture retailer No Place Like Home, and was considered as a location for a proposed charter school. The school didn’t happen in part because a fire started in a light fixture while the building was being toured with members of the school board in early 2013.
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A few months later, fire struck again. On April 24, another fire tore through the building, destroying the furniture company’s stock. The metal roof was melting under the heat and sagging under the weight of the water.
The building was listed for sale before being rented out.