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Jones Building architects to be inducted into Blair County Arts Hall of Fame

The Blair County Arts Hall of Fame will induct several new members tonight at the Mishler Theatre in Altoona, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Among those inductees is Tyrone native Fred Waring who will be installed in the Performing Arts category at the awards ceremony.
However, there are two other men with Tyrone connections who will also be recognized tonight.
Michael and Louis Beezer, identical twin brothers, were architects responsible for designing many buildings throughout western Pennsylvania.
Born in Spring Creek, near Bellefonte, the brothers moved to Altoona in 1888 and by the early 1890s their career in the field of architecture had begun.
The brothers practiced in Altoona from 1892 until 1899 then moved to Pittsburgh from 1900 to 1906 and finally in Seattle, Washington from 1907 to 1932.
During their practice, they produced a wide variety of designs including homes, banks, churches, rectories, schools and hospitals throughout the country from Pennsylvania to Washington, Oregon, California, Montana and Alaska.
One of the buildings they designed was the First National Bank in Tyrone.
More commonly known as the Jones Building, the First National Bank in Tyrone was built in 1906 and at the time cost $125,000.
The bank was established in 1890 in the Garman Jewelry Building and the modern four-story brick building was built in 1906 at the northeast corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 10th Street.
Like many of the buildings designed by the brothers, the bank occupied a prominent position on the main corner in the downtown business area.
Besides the bank, the building was also occupied by a drugstore and a hardware store, along with apartments and lodge rooms.
The First National Bank was one of the fireproof buildings designed by the Beezer brothers that employed their patented floor system.
The Beezers used various design elements in their work. They incorporated the Beaux Arts style in the Tyrone bank and also incorporated eagles with spread wings into the building’s design.
Besides having eagles over the front entrances of their banks, the Beezer brothers often included a clock in their designs, as clocks were a common feature in bank architecture.
More information about Michael and Louis Beezer can be found in a creative project by Ralph S. Wilcox titled “Jeepers, Creepers! How ‘Bout Them Beezers? The History of the Beezer Brothers Architecture Firm, 1892-1932”.
The Blair County Arts Hall of Fame was established in 2002, with the first induction ceremony taking place in September of 2003. Their mission is to honor local artists, educators, and patrons of the arts, create an awareness of regional talent and inspire and encourage the community to participate and support the arts in Blair County.
The Altoona Heritage Discovery Center hopes to one day permanently house an exhibit on the Hall of Fame.
For more information, call Eileen Akin at 814-863-2911.