The area of Veterans Square has always been at the center of Bradford's activity. The location of the current Marilyn Horne Hall has been a prominent commercial property since the city's first days.
In 1884, only five years after Bradford was chartered as a city, the Producer's Oil Exchange was built at the site of what is now the Seneca Building. In the back of the building was the Pennsylvania National Guard's Company C Armory.
Just 15 years later, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows acquired the building and remodeled it for its use. But in 1902, the building burned to the ground. The Odd Fellows built a new brick building in 1903 on the same location.
The organization razed that building in 1931 to make way for the current Art Deco, six-story building, which was completed in 1932.
In 1985, Dr. Paul Keverline, co-owner of Seneca Eye Surgeons, purchased the building. The medical practice occupied the top floor. Keverline died in a plane crash in 2002. His business partner, Dr. Robert Weiss of Warren, and his wife, Mary, donated the building to Pitt-Bradford in 2006 in memory of Keverline, who was an alumnus of the University of Pittsburgh and its medical school.
The university used the building extensively in 2007-8 when, during the renovation of Swarts Hall on campus, faculty offices and classrooms were temporarily relocated to the downtown property.
When Swarts Hall reopened, the university's Division for Continuing Education and Regional Development and the Center for Rural Health Practice remained at the Seneca Building, occupying the second floor.
On Feb. 24, the university renamed the building Marilyn Horne Hall in honor of Bradford's most famous daughter.
In May, the university will open a 3,400-square-foot Marilyn Horne Museum and Exhibit Center, along with a gift shop, café, meeting space and new offices for the Bradford Creative and Performing Arts Center.
“The Pitt store, rental space for business/offices, and the café will be welcome additions to the downtown,” said Chelsea Schwab, Bradford Main Street Manager.
“The Pitt store is a wonderful way to integrate the university into the downtown and create a stronger partnership between the two. The meeting space will be very useful moving forward as there is currently no large group meeting space downtown. This is important for hosting conferences and workshops downtown, which will expose more people to the area.”