North Main Street looking toward
intersection of Park Avenue and west side of South Main. Frame
building at left of center was the Harris House, sold by the Harris
heirs to the Niles Trust Co. in 1920 for the construction of the
Niles Bank Building. The Swaney block- now gone is next on the
right. The IOOF building, also gone housed Backenstos Jewelry,
Wells Fargo and Singer Sewing Machine Co. Large building in right
foreground is the Wagstaff building, occupied by Niles Plumbing
and Heating and Niles Electric Co. It was torn down when the Memorial
was erected. PO1.921
Artist Draws Historic Area Buildings.
David Birskovich has a very interesting
hobby— Seeing historical buildings disappearing, he began
preserving them in his artwork.
A graduate of Niles McKinley High School, Class
of 1964, David had the opportunity to study art with Mario
Bartolini. He attributes his pursuit of drawing to his Latin
I teacher, Mrs. Lucille Ponte, at Edison Junior High
School. Mrs. Ponte saw in David’s doodles a talent to be
David’s drawing of North Main Street looking
toward the intersection of Park Avenue and west side of South
Main. The Swaney Building (1904), the IOOF Building(1905) housed
Backenstos Jewelry, Wells Fargo and Singer Sewing Machine Co.
The large building in foreground, the Wagstaff Building, was occupied
by Niles Plumbing & Heating and the Niles Electric Co. This
building was torn down when the McKinley Memorial was erected
Below David's drawing is the Niles Historical
Society's photograph of the buildings at the intersection of Park
Avenue and west side of South Main from which David took his inspiration.
studied architecture at Kent State University and then worked
for Bill Copich in Girard, Ohio. He then traveled around
and stopped in Silicon Valley, spending 23 years as an architect
for the big electronics people there in research and development.
Retiring in 1995 David returned home to McKinley Heights to property
that has been in his family for over 100 years.
Through the years David enrolled in many art
classes to please himself. Seeing buildings of historical importance
disappearing, he began to capture them on paper. In David’s
drawings an architect’s skill can be observed along with
a talent for watercolors, colored pencil and ink on watercolor
paper. Many of David’s drawings are taken from old photographs
that he so skillfully brings to life. David generously shares
his drawings, donating copies to be exhibited.
David’s drawing of the City National Bank
Building which had been built in 1893 on part of the site of the
original McKinley home was bought in 1905 by the Dollar Bank.
The Dollar Bank remained at this location until 1918 when it moved
to the southeast corner of Main and Park Avenue.
of the Benedict building, old City National Bank Building, Clingan
Building, Deither-Carter Building.
Left to right: West side of South Main Street
as it appeared at the turn of the century in 1894. Benedict building,
old City National Bank Building, Clingan Building, Deither-Carter
A photo of a postcard
showing Main St. in downtown Niles, Ohio, certainly before the
advent of motor vehicles. .PO1.905
The Allison Hotel built on the site
of the Sanford House in 1904 had its formal opening in 1905. Located
on the corner of North Main and East Park Avenue in downtown Niles.PO1.494
a drawing of the original McKinley Homestead, David wanted to
place a Packard car in the scene. This led him to the Packard
home and then the Packard Museum. (A rendition of this scene can
be viewed in the dining room of Scenna’s Restaurant in Mc
Kinley Heights along with several other of his drawings.) This
led him to begin a project of drawing the Trumbull County Court
House (old and new) and the historic buildings of the 1900 era
in downtown Warren. These drawings became a part of the Trumbull
Memory Project of the Warren Trumbull County Public Library David
pays tribute to Elizabeth Glasgow, head of the Warren Trumbull
County Public Library History and Geneology Department, for information
on Court House Square.
After completing the Warren project, David
began drawing Niles’ historical buildings. His Niles collection
includes drawings of old Niles downtown buildings that he found
on the Niles Historical Society website. The buildings are precisely
drawn and beautifully colorized.
David's drawing of the Allison Hotel, as it appeared in 1908,
is pictured on the left.
The Allison Hotel was built at the northeast
corner of North Main Street and Park Avenue. It was renamed the
Heaton Hotel after the founder of Niles (1806) and finally called
the Antler Hotel. It was demolshed in 1976 during urban renewal.
Click here for Allison/Heaton/Antler
Hotel, 1930 and the Antler Hotel before urban renewal, 1976.
Antler Hotel, formerly known as the Allison Hotel, formerly on
the site of the Sanford House. Located on the northeast corner
of Main and Park Sts. in downtown Niles before urban renewal.
Dated September, 1975 .PO1.495
Main Street looking north about 1895-1900. The
Hartzell Building is on the corner. Two of the next three brick
buildings later became a part of Hoffman's Store. The third building
and the one on the other side were destroyed prior to 1900. Next
was the Wagstaff Building and beyond it the "Grand".
Pennsylvania Railroad passenger station was located
adjacent to the north side of the Mahoning River between the Niles
Firebrick Company and South Main Street where the Viaduct would
be built in 1933. PO1.1460
Ward Jones Slate business is in the center.
It was 1905 when Thomas and Hoffman
Co. moved into a newly constructed building at 33 South Main Street,
the site of its present location. When Ira Thomas resigned from
the firm in 1908, it was incorporated as the H.H. Hoffman Co.,
with Henry H. Hoffman, Homer H. Hoffman, and Frank
O. Hoffman as operators. It continued operating until fire
destroyed the building in 1962.
Dave Birskovich's drawing of
the White Line Bottling Company.
South Main Street looking south about 1897 on
the east side of the street from Park Avenue to State Street.
The only difference in the street was the building
of the Armstrong-Morall Building on this side of the Wagstaff
Building which later became the site of the Ideal Department Store.
The Niles Hotel on the corner has been gone since
1918 when the Dollar Bank Building was erected on this site.
First building on the left is original residence
of James Ward who came to Niles in 1841.
Dave Birskovich's drawing of the
Grand and Caramella's Confectionary.
This picture was taken about 1905. 'The Grand'
dominates the block. Caramella's had opened their Ice Cream Parlor
next to it.
Later, T. W. Morral's Clothing Store and the
Bakery & Restaurant would be replaced with brick buildings.
The Armstrong-Morral Building would become the
Ideal Department Store and the Wagstaff Building, Ragazzo's Men's
The Crandon Building built in 1904 became Hoffman's
Store the following year. PO1.919
Dave Birskovich's 2017 drawing
of Bianco's Service station.
McKinley Heights is a particular interest to David.
He has captured many of the businesses and extra ordinary sites
of his favorite area along Route 422 and Tibbetts Wick.
He is interested in finding pictures of Kiman’s
Grocery, Jordan’s Bar, Crane’s Store and pictures
of the McKinley Heights Homecoming of the 1960s.
His renditions of Bianco’s Service Station,
Rudy’s and Handy Andy’s can be seen around town.
Dave Birskovich's 2022 drawing
of the McKinley Theater.
Dave Birskovich's 2022 drawing of
the 1890 Niles City Hall.
Dave Birskovich's 2017 drawing
of the Handy Andy Restaurant.
A picture of the McKinley Theatre
when it was operating on South Main Street in downtown Niles.
Photo taken of a post card showing the
City of Niles Town Hall and Fire
Deptartment and apparatus. SO1
Advertisement for Handy Andy restaurant,
located at US 422 and State Rt. 169 in McKinley Heights. PO1.1152
Dave Birskovich's 2018 drawing
of the Westview House.
Photo of the Westview House, now
owned by the Senko family and located at 649 Youngstown-Warren
Legend has it that this was a
stagecoach inn during the early days of the settlement. PO1.1495
In 1943, during World War II,
Mrs. Dorothy Allison and Mr. Roodhouse opened a Snack Shack, calling
it “A Comfy Coffee Kitchen”. This emporium had outside
In 1957, Mr. Roodhouse’s son, Rudy, took
over the restaurant and after enlarging and improving it (including
indoor plumbing), changed the name to Rudy’s Snack Shack.
Dave Birskovich's 2016 drawing
of Scenna's Restaurant.
Scenna's Restaurant now occupies the former Rudy's
Snack Shack location on Rt 422 at McKinley heights.
Dave Birskovich 2023 drawing of the Harry Stevens
Photo with permission: Warren Tribune Chronicle.
When the Stevens family lived in Niles, the
home was a focal point of daily life. This photo shows Harry
M. Stevens, right, entertaining friends with a touring car of
that era waiting to transport anyone needing a ride.
Photo ca 1915.
Dave Birskovich drawing of the Butler/Robins
theatre on South Main Street with a 1934 Packard .
The Butler Theatre on South Main Street would
later become the Robins Theatre. It also would close in the
1960s. Photo ca 1935.
Crain's Barn at the original Crain home on Anderson–Morris
Crain's farmhouse at
Stillwagon and Niles–Vienna Roads.
“Crain's farmhouse was originally
owned by the Stillwagons, who was once a County Commisioner.
This house is now owned by Brian Crain, one of
the sons of the original Crains.
The original Crain house still stands on Anderson-Morris
and the barn that was beside it has burned down.”
|David Birskovich drawing (2023)
of Crain farmhouse before the front porch fell apart and was removed.