Mar 7, 2010
Historic North Vandergrift store up for auctionBy Francine

For nearly 74 years, the Rowley General Store in North Vandergrift supplied families whose homes dotted the Kiski River Valley.

In 2001, the historic landmark turned into a gift shop, but it eventually closed, too.

On March 21, the former general store will be sold at auction.

“We have decided it’s time to retire,” said Dolores Rowley, co-owner of the building with her husband, Doyle. “If I was younger, the whole upstairs would be a gift shop, as well. I wouldn’t hesitate whatsoever to expand.”

The building will be open at 1 p.m. Sunday for public viewing.

“The upstairs looks like something out of Hollywood,” said Lee Alan Hostetter, co-owner of Lee Hostetter Auctioneers & Realtors, Inc.

In addition to the storefront, the brick building has a second-floor residence with three bedrooms, a kitchen, living room and laundry room.

Hostetter said the building attracted little activity while on the real estate market, prompting the Rowleys to put it on the auction block.

Built in 1927, the Rowley General Store was owned by Thomas J. Rowley, Doyle’s grandfather.

Thomas was vice president of the Savings and Trust Bank in Vandergrift at the same time he opened the general store, Dolores said.

“I know he carried a lot of people through the Depression,” she said. “When they were settling his estate after his death, there were old bills found in the McCaskey register from former customers that still owed him for their purchases.”

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