About The Centre Park Historic District

Mission Statement

We aim to promote architectural preservation while enhancing neighborhood living.

The Organization

The Centre Park Historic District is a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. It is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, elected among candidates nominated at the annual meeting, held each October. Board members serve terms of three years, and may serve two consecutive terms. In addition, the District retains the services of a part-time Executive Director. The organization receives vital support from numerous volunteers, members and neighbors.

Centre Park HeadquartersHeadquarters building

This two-story building was built in 1927 for the Memmert Tire Service, Inc. as an automotive service station and garage. It remained an automotive related facility, including a Studebaker dealership for the next 33 years. The bay at right served as entrance to the garage area. The series of three display windows were used to showcase the latest innovations in tires. The upper level facade recesses once featured sign panels, advertising tires and services. In 1960, the building became the home of Fairmore Music Co,. dealer in jukeboxes and cigarette vending machines. Brown’s Transfer and then Tom Weigand Photography were later tenants.

The building exhibits some elements of the Arts and Crafts style. This is particularly evident in the large, but light and simple brackets supporting the pent roof over the display windows. Interior features, such as the fireplace with its decorative tile and the stucco wall treatment, are also in keeping with this style.

In 1992, the Centre Park Historic District, Inc. began renting space in the back of the building for the Artifacts Bank. When the building was put up for sale in 2003, the Board of Directors decided to acquire the building if funding could be secured. Acquisition of a building was considered a critical step of the Strategic Action plan adopted by the Board the year before. One of the key strategies that came out of that plan was the desire to expand the organization’s influence in the community, to be a resource for historic preservation education and a pro-active advocate for significant quality of life issues that affect the neighborhood as well as the City of Reading. The facility envisioned would provide: a permanent home for The Artifacts Bank, a preservation resource center, a neighborhood community center for meetings and educational seminars and an office for the administrative functions of the organization. With financial aid from the City of Reading and Preservation Pennsylvania, the Centre Park Historic District, Inc. purchased the building in March of 2005.

Interior work began immediately with the removal of an old boiler, unwanted walls, dropped ceilings, paneling, etc. This work was followed by the restoration and painting of the original stucco wall treatments, addition of the vestibule, new electrical wiring, ceiling fans and period appropriate lighting (salvaged from Whitner’s Department Store) in the front room. In 2007, work was done to replace the roof and to restore the front façade to its 1927 appearance. The stucco-like permastone veneer was removed with funding through the City of Reading’s Façade Improvement Grant Program. The restoration work also included re-creation of the stepped parapet roofline and the tile medallions.