Sunday, June 12, 2016

Victorian era building gets dutiful makeover

Columbia's Cle Berntheizel at his Victorian era building at 22 South Second Street.

Cle Berntheizel has a special affinity for his building at 22 South Second Street. He believes it represents a significant piece of Columbia history and therefore feels a particular responsibility for its upkeep. Recently, under his direction, the building - part of Columbia's Historic District - underwent an extensive exterior re-painting by Dave Knapp (and some interior painting as well).

According to Berntheizel, his grandfather, Lt. Colonel Cleon N. Berntheizel, helped found the American Legion and established the first Columbia post there on the second floor in 1918.  Berntheizel and Columbia's General Edward C. Shannon founded the organization in Paris right after World War I. The Detwiler family, then-owners of the building (as well as the First National Bank just up the block), rented it to the legion for a dollar a year. (Years later, the organization moved to the former Strickler home at 329 Chestnut, where it's still located.)

The building encompasses a century and a half of Columbia history, having housed the Boston Five & Dime in 1870, and it may have been the office of the original Columbia Spy newspaper. More recently, it was used as a bicycle showcase by Western Auto.

Today, the building, newly painted, houses Berntheizel's Garth Gallery & Custom Frame Shop and the second-floor Cafe Garth and represents the newest phase of the building's history.

A recent photo of the building, before painting.

And after.


  1. Now the SPY needs to feature a new property each week.
    The first and second block of South Second Street are both in an upwards swing. It's time BORO Council realizes this and preserves every piece of history that remains, Yes Ave J!
    Council, police and codes need to work together to stop the ongoing violations in that area also.
    Seems their guns are aimed at the wrong people.
    To those that continue the effort, KUDOS

  2. thanks for the history. the building looks great!!!!! i agree. this is THE most Historic District in the entire Borough.

  3. Living in that area,there seems to be a rebirth going on. Nice job, Cle.

    1. Yes, they are lucky to be in that area. Simply beautiful!

  4. Time our Boro Council and grant seekers realize the efforts a few are putting into this area!

  5. Time a few of the comfortable employees of the COLUMBIA PO PO step up and do their job.
    Innocent till proven guilty, not their job to JUDGE.