long-time designation of the “Pomp Building”.47 “P. Pomp’s Drug Store” was, in fact, used by other merchants as an Easton landmark to direct their customers in 1855.48
Peter Pomp (1798 – 1856, whose full name was apparently Nicholas Peter Pomp) was a son of Rev. Thomas Pomp, long-time pastor of the German Reformed Church on North 3rd Street.49 Peter Pomp also trained his younger brother, Thomas, as a druggist, before Thomas struck out on his own50 and eventually established a competing store at what is now 343-45 Northampton Street.51
It appears that Peter Pomp was also the Conductor of the band of the Artillerists private military company, c.1824. John D. Weiss was the band leader at that time, and there were 26 band members. In 1833 the name was changed to the Citizens’ Band, with Pomp as leader. In 1844, it became the Easton Brass Band, substituting brass instrument for the woodwinds, with Peter Pomp as conductor and William H. Pomp as band leader. In 1852, “German silver instruments [ cornets] were substituted, and the name again changed to . . . Pomp’s Cornet Band,” under the leadership of Pomp, with Thomas Coates as conductor.52 Thomas Coates was the first cornet soloist in America, and became the long-time bandmaster of the Easton Band. He has been called “The Father of Band Music in America”.53
Peter Pomp died of “Softening of [the] brain” in 1856, at the age of 58.54 His son, Charles Pomp55 continued as proprietor at the drug store.56 Charles died of an accidental fall in 1863.57 By 1873, the drug store was being operated by D.E. Becker, and was renumbered the following year as 401 Northampton Street.58
Apparently in the early 20th Century, Easton character “Professor” Albert Newhart “walked across a rope stretched between the Central Hotel and the Pomp Buildings.”59 Mr. Newhart was, among other things, a competition distance walker,60 tight-rope walker, clairvoyant,61 “Pow-Wow Doctor [a Pennsylvania Dutch faith healer62] and Palmist”.63 His advertisement in 1907 proclaimed that he did:
“more business than any other palmist. Advice given on business. Married couples reunited. Pow-wowing and palm-reading without charge, although presents accepted. Best time for pow-wowing at new or full moon. Office hours – 9 to 11 a.m., 1 to 5 and 7 to 9 p.m.”64
Perhaps most importantly, Albert Newhart was also the father of Moetta Newhart, the principal “Madam” of Easton’s nationally-known brothels on Pine Street during the Prohibition Era.65
The building was identified in 1925 (during the tenure of Arthur B. Bixler) as the “Bixler Bldg., formerly Pomp Bldg”).66 Bixler’s Jewelers moved into the first floor of the building in 1911,67 and acquired the building from the Pomp family in 1919.68 However, Bixler’s moved again to its recent location in the Jones Building of Centre Square in 1925.69
1 City of Easton, , Attachment: Building Description Survey Area 1 Zone C (City Council Resolution approved 12 May 1982).
2 The Bixler family did not currently take credit for adopting the name during its brief tenure in the building. Interview with Joyce Mitman Welken, President and Co-Owner, Bixler’s Jewelers.