In the early 20th century, a two-story building at 1800 Center Ave. had been a poultry store (Jacob Ackerman), a grocer (Festus Johnson, Leon Mann), and a dining room (Frank Joseff). Sometime in the late teens, the Smolevitz brothers either built or bought Metropolitan Hall. It was a long, three-story building at the corner of Center Avenue and Roberts Street, extending all the way to Clark Street.
Metropolitan Hall had a theater, a billiards parlor, a restaurant, and four upstairs apartments accessed through an entrance on Roberts Street. The restaurants throughout the late 1910s and early 1930s included Goldberg Bros., the Metropolitan Restaurant, Kruger’s Sandwich Shop, Walter’s Sandwich Shop, and Smalley’s Sandwich Shop.
In addition to this revolving series of restaurants, Metropolitan Hall became a popular meeting place for Jewish organizations. In the 1910s and 1920s, it was used by various fraternal and mutual aid organizations, including Mount Sinai Lodge No. 107 of the Independent Order Western Star, the David Wolfsohn Lodge of the Independent Order Brith Abram, the Greater Pittsburgh Lodge of the Independent Order Western Star, the First Hebrew Austrian Beneficial Society, and the Pittsburgh Mutual Aid Society.
From the mid-1930s through the early 1940s, Metropolitan Hall was home to several Jewish communist organizations, including the local Jewish Branch/Section of the International Workers Order, a local branch of the ICOR Association (also known as the Organization for Jewish Colonization in Russia), and the Freiheit Forum Committee.