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Home of the 99-cent Walking Tour
A Walking Tour of Hamburg, Pennsylvania
from walkthetown.com Settlement in the area dates to 1732. In 1779 when Martin Kaercher, Jr. received 250 acres of fertile land from his father instead of tilling the ground by the banks of the Schuylkill River he laid out building lots. In 1787 the little settlement was known as Kaercher Stadt or Kaerchertown. In 1792 the northernmost town in Berks County became its second postal designation (following Reading, PA in 1792). The name “Hamburgh” was adopted from the town of Hamburg, Germany since many of the first inhabitants were Germanic, a dialect that still lingers here today. The town began to blossom following the construction of the Centre Turnpike in 1812 from Reading to Pottsville. (both towns approximately 15 miles from Hamburg). And with the opening of the Schuylkill Canal in 1820 and the railroad which came soon after, Hamburg boomed. Hamburg Borough, was organized in 1837, and has been called, “without a doubt one of the finest towns - architectually - to be found anywhere in the state. Hamburg experienced a boom during a period in architecture when ornamentation was popular. Victorian style in the homes and businesses in the town of Hamburg reflected the pride and attention to detail of its inhabitants no matter what the cost. Look down north 4th Street, South 3rd Street or North 5th Street and you’ll find an abundance of ornate, Victorian cornices, gingerbread moldings, and brickwork - a tangible history of days gone by. This walking tour will begin at the Hamburg Public Library, one of the town buildings representative of the high style buildings that appeared during the Victorian Period...
Hamburg Public Library 35 N 3rd Street
The Hamburg Public Library borrowed freely from a variety of turn of the century styles and incorporated a few inventions of its own. The roof lines are more reminiscent of the Gothic Revival style, the arched windows and doorways are Romanesque Revival, rusticated lintel and arch stones borrow from Richardsonian Romanesque Revival, yet the eave crown moldings are of Classical Greek Revival profile and the dormer window is decorated with filigree reminiscent of the Stick Style. The interior details and moldings echo a modified expression of Roman architecture. The library opened on November 5, 1904 and is the oldest library building still operating in Berks County. Funds for the building were donated by steel magnate Adrew Carnegie who supplied mney for free libraries across the country. On the first day an estimated 500 people visited, and seventyseven library cards were issued. The copper cupola roof was renovated in 2002. The rotunda in the inside is impressive, and much of the interior (wooden bookshelves, circulation desk, round bench in the entry) are original. Note the tin ceiling. WALK NORTH ON 3RD STREET (if facing the library, turn left). 2. Hamburg Municipal Center 61 N 3rd Street, southeast corner of Island Street
The Third Street School, erected in 1889, housed all elementary grades and after 1913, four years of high school. On February 25, 1924, at 4:30 pm, fire was discovered in a hot air flue in the south wing. Though firemen fought the blaze for 12 hours, little was saved. The structure was rebuilt on the site and used as an elementary school until 1982. In 1987 the Borough of Hamburg purchased the property and in April of 1988 relocated the Borough offices into the facility. It remains today as the Hamburg Municipal Center. The graceful iron fountain at the front corner (which predates the school) and the iron fence were most likely made by local iron works.
The parsonage behind it along Island Street . 1887. Bethany Methodist Church 321 Island Street. TURN RIGHT ON 4TH STREET. The iron gate off to the side dates back to when the home was built. Scott House 71 N 4th Street This Federal style Victorian home was built in the 1870s for William Scott. 3.so named because it leads to an island in the Schuylkill River . a Hamburg carriage builder. northeast corner of 3rd Street This two-story church was built in 1913 of rubblestone in a rambling “Country” Gothic style with some Romanesque forms and Gothic details. It replaced the former Emanuel Union Church at this location that was heavily damaged by a rogue tornado on July 5.TURN RIGHT ON ISLAND STREET.was built around 1904. 4. . The decorative window surrounds. The weathervane is from the earlier church. Stained glass windows depict the life of Christ. arched doorway and footed windowsills give the home a formal look.
Tudor-influenced details are placed over a heavy Queen Anne porch. Schmick House 63 N 4th Street Wilson Schmick was an early 20th century industrialist who tried to lure his wife away from Philadelphia by building this elegant mansion. The ornate woodwork above is still topped with newel posts. 54 N 4th Street This picturesque blend of Victorian styles was built for another town industrialist. complete with stained glass and art glass windows throughout the house. Corner quoins call to mind mid-19th century Italianate buildings.) The twin wide gables are framed with corbelled layered diagonal brick peaks and elaborate chimneys. 64 N 4th Street This Federal style home intrigues with its gabled dormer and first-rate craftsmanship on the lentil brick work above the windows. . she refused to take the bait. An art glass window graces the exposed north wall. stayed put in the big city and the hosue was sold. 6.5. Still. 7. (an exceptionally large one can be seen on the north wall.
It has a steeply pitched roof with a double row of snowbirds over a fine brick cladding. Note the finely crafted woodwork under the peaked gables. This home is a fine example of Queen Anne style architecture. Miller House 45 N 4th Street This Queen Anne from the late 1800s was the family home of the Millers. The house is situated above a terrace reached by a stone staircase and the wall in the front adds to the splendor. The chimneys on both homes are corbelled and have slate covers. . Miller Underwear Mill in Shoemakersville. 27-29 N 4th Street A touch of the Gothic disinguishes this terrace-top double house. 51-53 N 4th Street These two Gothic Revival homes are joined together in the middle. Elaborate decorative wood trim is evident and trusses on either side of the center bay area is extensive.8. owners of the Robert P. The front gable has accented symmetrical wooden detailed corner brackers. Arched soldier lentils above the windows are finely done and stone sills give the house a strong feeling. 9. 10. The brick work is precise.
After being closed for many years. and have housed small shops and residences above them for many years. 1813. it is once again entertaining diners. Bailey House 21 N 4th Street This is considered the oldest stone house still standing in Hamburg . The American House 2 N 4th Street. It was built with fireplaces in nearly every room. .the year 1811 is incised in a stone up near the peak. The tin ceiling has been beautifully restored in #7. The earliest record of real estate transaction is February 7. The elegance of this home lies in its hand-hewn stone that was hauled from the Blue Mountains by Abraham Bailey. eating house and oyster cellar. however. Note the carefully fitted stone keystones in the arches above the windows. 5-7 N 4th Street These three-story buildings express a beautiful collection of Italianate woodwork.11. It changed hands many times until 1853 when it became a licensed hotel under Peter Fink and housed a tavern. 13. northwest corner of State Street This corner site has been a tavern/hotel for many years. 12. its inception is unclear.
Now this is one of the only ones left. 16. including a liquor store (the reason for the bars on the side windows). dormers and turrets was the machine shop of Snell and Meharg relocated from Reading to Hamburg. 15. Confer 1 N 4th Street. . southeast corner of State Street This rambling. An impressive portico once covered the sidewalk on both 4th and State Streets. dancing. 5-7 S 4th Street At one time almost every building on this block featured a portico. George Meharg. built this home that stayed in the possession of the Meharg family until the early 1950’s when it became the social quarters for the Veterans of Foreign Wars. One of the partners. The top windows inspired the town’s Historic Hamburg logo. The ground floor has housed many businesses over the years. brick. Veterans of Foreign Wars Lodge 1 S 4th Street. northeast corner of State Street Built in 1880 this Italianate style four-story building featured a large ballroom on the top floor for operas.14. and other affairs. Queen Anne style building with peaks.
A German couple Max and Paula Hahn lived in and owned the residence for many years. This nostalgic one screen theater remains family owned. Tickets in those days (for silent films of course) cost 11 or 17 cents. who was very active in civic organizations was forced to resign her position from the women’s club. this site was changed into a movie theater and opened on Christmas Day in 1920 with a showing of The Whistling Devil. Hamburg Strand Theater 6 S 4th Street Formerly a restaurant. . 13-15 S 4th Street In 1908 this old former post office building was extensively remodeled into the National Bank establishment. 18. Various businesses since then have kept the marble decor out front. Also original is the tin ceiling and the brass and milk white light fixtures. 16 S 4th Street This property showcases the original stained leaded glass above the twin show windows which extends six feet inside the building. Paula. Feeling pressure from the ongoing war the couple returned to Germany. At some point they returned to this location and Paula began teaching art to many in the community.17. 19. As a result of WWII. The first “talkie” shown here was Untamed in March of 1930. An original painted mural remains intact in the kitchen.The first mill burned down in 1875 and it was replaced by the present structure. Max was an executive for Van Huesen and traveled by train to Philadelphia daily.
this bank closed along with many others in the country. Peter Burkey’s cabinet making business shortly evolved into a furniture and undertaking establishment. Built in 1927. 1934 as The National Bank of Hamburg. 22. It is the only marble-granite building in town. That classic combination of businesses was practical because cabinetmakers made coffins as well as furniture.20.” 21. This is Hamburg’s oldest business to be continually operated by the same family from 1852 to present. 1933. It reorganized and reopened on September 1. with a columned entrance done brings a Classical Revival style with Greek detailing to downtown Hamburg. This is the last of many funeral home/furniture store combinations left in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 17 S 4th Street Dating to 1779. The centralarched window under the prominent pediment features a shield and ornate carvings. Burkey & Driscoll’s 38 S 4th Street Established in 1852. First National Bank and Trust Company 26 S 4th Street This two-story marble building. . When the President of the United States declared a bank holiday on March 4. it has 20-foot columns of white Vermont marble fluted in Corinthian capitals. It is reputed to have been one of the stop-over places for Negro slaves leaving the South for Canada on the “Underground Railroad. this is one of the oldest houses in Hamburg.
The basement of the new building was leased to the Keystone Social Club for a bowling alley and club quarters which they still occupy. The town was in darkness two nights because the electric plant had . Mill Creek Mill Creek flows under under the street finally exposing itself here. as well as all the things usually found in a 5 & 10. A new hearse belonging to Mr. taking away Allen Romich’s tinsmiths shop and Mr. The Flood of 1906 raged through this part of town.23. Miller’s 5 &10 43 S 4th Street Miller’s 5 & 10 was established in 1922 in the Miller family residence (built in 1819). For many years they sold their own make of candy and ice cream. Romich himself. 24. Mr. 1923. tinware. In 1877 it started to purchase properties on the western side to erect a new bank which opened for business on October 27. Loy was carried away by Mill Creek. The contents and that of Mr. and his cobbler’s bench. Hamburg Savings and Trust Company 52-56 S 4th Street The Hamburg Savings and Trust Company was founded in 1872 in a small single room across the street. It was later found and repaired. Loy’s furniture factory and warehouse (now Leibensperger Funeral Home) was deposited in the middle of Fourth Street. Romich’s. including stoves. The store hasn’t changed much in the past 75 years or so. 25. He drowned as the shop was swept away. and lumber was strewn along the creek banks and at the bridges.
Loy took his carpets to the Third Street School grounds and spread them out to dry. The show windows and portico are original.no water to run its steam boilers. listed on the Berks County historic registry. 27. . Lime was used to purify the water. The property still retains its original street portico. who worked so hard on the flood issue of the paper. It was also home to a tobacco shop. Leibensperger purchased the property and converted the furniture store into a funeral parlor which still is owned by the Leibensperger family. it is estimated that 5. 68-70 S 4th Street This Federal-style house. Mr. which was heavily damaged in that flood. Romich’s widow auctioned off the salvaged stoves and tinware. There he sold them at bargain prices. It currently serves as a residence only. but in spite of that. In 1935 Stephen T. Leibensperger Funeral Home 143 S 3rd Street. All the hotels and restaurants were crowded. Appel. assistant editor of the Hamburg Item. was its first victim. In spite of a scarcity of food and water. it was formerly Loy’s furniture and undertaking establishment.000 people came to view the disaster. Mr. northeast corner of Walnut Street Built in 1829. once featured mouth-watering treats from Gittle’s Candy shop. a typhoid epidemic broke out. 26. and later an insurance agency.
was established on this site by town founder Martin Kaercher. the miller was James M. Originally owned by a succession of doctors it housed the Draft Board during World War II and today is divided into apartments. Carpenters’ Hall 320 Chestnut Street Hamburg’s first grist mill. 30.28. 29. Savage who reported that they produced 20 barrels a day with the aid of 3 helpers. Jr. The mill burned down in 1875 and was replaced by the present structure. powered by a millrace constructed along a mill race along Church Street from Shomo’s Dam between Franklin and Island Streets. 101 S 4th Street This 19th century Victorian house got a French-inspired Second Empire mansard roof and Italianate door surround detailing. southwest corner of 4th and Pine streets The Rotary Club donated this old-fashoned town clock in 2002. . At the turn of the century.
this building served to house fire equipment and also the borough office. Later acquisition of adjoining property allowed the addition of social quarters and a larger truck garage. 124 S 3rd Street Now an insurance office. including a stint as an oyster house. Hamburg Union Fire Company #1 125 S 4th Street Built in 1886. this building with its portico and show windows has housed various shops over the years.000 contributed by Andrew Carnegie. TURN RIGHT ON WALNUT STREET. The Tiffany stained glassed windows are framed in heavy arched window heads of red stone. First United Church of Christ 86 S 3rd Street Built in 1898-99. TURN RIGHT ON 3RD STREET. 32. . The church’s pipe organ was purchased with $1. A 50-bell carillon was installed in 1971.31. this 2-1/2 story brownstone church done in the Gothic Revival style combining elements of Norman Gothic and English Perpendicular styles. 33.
35. 36.34. Burkey House 59 S 3rd Street This house was built for Daniel Burkey. one of the most prominent and successful businessmen in Hamburg. Burkey Row 47-49-51-57 S 3rd Street These are the houses the Burkey family patirarch built for his sons. 73 S 3rd Street This Federal-style house has original wooden shutters and door surround. and probably the only slate sidewalk left in town out front. . Daniel Burkey was so appreciative that he built a home alongside of his for each of them. the grates. Note the stone foundation and steps. He owned the Burkey Furniture Business and Funeral Home and his sons assisted him in all his business efforts.
41 S 3rd Street This handsome brick home was built in 1918. For many years it was a department store. but from 1891 to 1930 it housed the newspaper plant and office of The Hamburg Item. Balthaser in 1920. The present residents are just the second owners. Sarah. and suffered a fire in 1903. 11 S 3rd Street This frame building has seen many occupants. & Anna M. . and the young couple who moved into it lived there for more than 70 years. the style of this impressive market place has changed very little since then. The Balthauser Building 2-10 S 3rd Street Built in 1885 as Confer’s Varieties.37. Jacob’s daughter. Balthaser managed the store after her husband became ill until 1957. 38. Mrs. Notice the lead trim on the door and picture window. and there was a farmer’s market in the basement each Saturday. maintains the integrity of the property. Though vacant for some time. The paper was re-equipped and up and running in just a few weeks. The store was purchased by Jacob L. 39.
as is the tin ceiling. The press room was at the rear. The “cast stone” facing blocks of this 1930 building were developed and manufactured by a local firm. until 1994. and until 1956 a store occupied the front of the building. The old bar and back-bar are still in place. An early telephone exchange was located on the second floor until 1914. 308 State Street This building was home to Wisser’s bar and restaurant for many years.40. Adams & Bright Drug Store 306 State Street A drug store opened in this buidling with a modified marble storefront and beautiful stained glass above the entry in 1906. TURN RIGHT ON STATE STREET. Hamburg Item House 3rd and State streets The Hamburg Item newspaper has been published since 1875. offices in the center. 41. 42. job printing upstairs. Adams & Bright bought it in 1929 and installed a black marble soda fountain and some marble booths. The original counter is still there. .
44. and were largely responsible for this being a “town of red tin roofs. Hecky’s Sandwich Shop 313-317 State Street This large imposing building was built in 1928 to house the business of Rau Bros. on the site of a former movie theater and an earlier blacksmith shop and carriage works. . and then was remodeled to become a men’s and boys’ clothing store.. grocery store. Dietrich’s 320 State Street From 1909 to 1920 this was the National movie theater. The Raus were tinsmiths. while upper floors had dental offices and apartments. They also had an appliance store here. bowling alley. 45.43. RETURN TO 3RD STREET AND TURN RIGHT.” and they also made many of the ornate tin ceilings that have been carefully preserved in many businesses around town. to name a few. and most recently a printing establishment. It was the American Legion during WWII. 6 N 3rd Street This site has at one time or another been a furniture store.
308 State Street This large building was the headquarters of the National Guard for many years. For a time it was Hamburg’s Borough hall and police station. Then it was owned by the Hamburg Athletic and Military Association. who rented it out for many purposes. YOU HAVE NOW RETURNED TO THE TOUR STARTING POINT. roller skating. During World War II. a cooking school – the large hall and stage could accommodate any large gathering. There were basketball games. dances. In 1941 it was sold to Maier’s bakery. . It was built in 1889 by the Blue Mountain Legion. the front sidewalk was at times piled high with scrap metal gathered for the war effort. and they baked pies in the large building at the rear until 1957. 26-28 N 3rd Street This was the former site of Seaman’s Bakery (1887 to 1941) where two generations of the Seaman family made a wide variety of baked goods. banquets. delivering them first by horse and wagon. a military company. 47. and later with a fleet of trucks.46. Movies were shown here in the silent picture era.
most divided into upper and lower halves * little or no eave overhang French Colonial (1700-1830) * steeply pitched roof.Identifying American Architecture Recognizing Early American Architecture: Postmedieval English Colonial (1600-1700) * steeply pitched. normally with decorative crown ( most oftne pedimented but at times broken-pedimented) and supportedby decorative pilasters * row of small rectangular panes beneath door crown * cornice usually emphasized with tooth-like dentils or other decorative molding * windows typically five-ranked and symmetrically balanced with cneter door. narrow porches opening to courtyards Georgian (1700-1780) * windows with double-hung sashes. no cornice detailing * one room deep Dutch Colonial (1625-1840) * side-gamberled roof * usually one story * batten door. less commonly three-ranked or sevenranked . windows are never in adjacent pairs * paneled door. narrow door and window openings * doors and wndows typically divided vertically into pairs * walls of stucco (over half-timbered frame) Spanish Colonial (1660-1850) * low-piched or flat roof * normally one story * few small windows * multiple external doors * walls very thick in stucco over adobe brick or rubble stone * long. side-gabled roof * small casement windows with many small panes (restored often) * massive chimney * vertical board (batten) door * little o rno eave overhang. either hipped or side-gabled * one story * tall. typically nine or twelve small panes per sash.
Doric: plain capitals . prominent columns . divided band of trim Recognizing Victorian Architecture: General Victorian Features (1840-1910) * roof ornaments * bay (protruding) windows * three-part Palladian (rounded in middle) windows * gingerbread porch trim Gothic Revival Style (1835-1875) * high-pitched center gables * pointed arch windows and doors * pendants and finials extending from roof Italianate Style (1840-1885) * brackets under roof cornices * cupolas on the roof * narrow.Adamesque (Federal) (1780-1820) * windows with double-hung sashes.Ionic: capitals with scroll-like spirals . concave or convex. typically accompanied by sidelights. typically six small panes per sash.Corinthian: capitals shaped like inverted bells decorated with leaves * narrow line of transom and sidelights around door. with dormer windows on steep lower slope * molded cornices bound lower roof slope above and below * eaves normally with decorative brackets below . elaborated crown and surround. slender windows Second Empire Style (1855-1885) * mansard roof. less commonly three-ranked or sevenranked * while similar to Georgian. and/or extended as small entry porch * cornice usually emphasized with tooth-like dentils or other decorative molding * windows typically five-ranked and symmetrically balanced with cneter door. square porch posts with chamfered corners * tall. usually incorporated into elaborate door surround * cornice lines emphasized with wide. windows are never in adjacent pairs * semi-circular or eliptical fanlight over paneled door. features are often “lighter” Greek Revival (1825-1860) * gabled or hipped roof of low pitch * entry porch or full-width porch supported by square or round.
smooth porch columns. porch supports or entrance * most have towers. two-story entrances. often clustered Neoclassical (1895-1950) * facade dominated by full-length porch supported by classical columns. typically Ionic or Corinthian * facade shows symmetrically balanced windows and center door * revivals may have curved porticos. paired or tripled windows and/or bays not seen on originals * often very large . often steeply pitched gross gables * wooden wall cladding (boards or shingles) Queen Anne Style (1880-1910) * asymmetrical facade * patterned shingles * turned porch posts and trim * corner towers and turrets * wraparound porch * steeply pitched. usually round with conical roofs * always masonry walls. irregular roofline Shingle Style (1880-1900) * shingled walls without interruption at corners * multi-level eaves above asymmetrical facade * extensive porches * walls and roofs covered with continuous wood shingles Richardsonian Romanesque (1880-1900) * based ont he innovative designs of Boston architect Henry Hobson Richardson * round topped arches over windows. squared stonework * facade usually asymmetrical Recognizing 20th century Architecture: Colonial Revival (1885 and beyond) * accentuated front door with fanlights and sidelights * symmetrical facade around centered entrance * windows with double-hung sashes * large dormers * round. often diagonal or curving * stick-like grid on wall surfaces * Jerkin-Head (cut-off triangular) roofs and dormers * pent (or shed) roofs on dormers. porches and bays * decorative trusses in gables.Stick Style (1860-1890) *stick-like bracketing on porches. usually with rough-faced.
Tudor (1890 -1940) * massive chimneys. pinnacles. rounded edges * unpainted wood porch columns . commonly arched above * commonly with red tile roof covering * widely overhanging eaves. stone. narrow windows. usually earth-toned * projecting wooden roof beams (vigas) * wall and roof parapet with irregular. wood. usually steeply perched * decorative half-timbering often present * steeply pitched roof. commonly crowned by decorative chimney pots * facade dominated by one or more prominent cross gables. stucco or in combination French Chateauesque (1890-1930) * busy roof line with many vertical elements (spires. usually open * wall surface usually smooth stucco Pueblo Revival (1910-present) * flat roof with parapeted wall above * stucco wall surface. usually stone Beaux Arts (1890-1930) * wall surfaces with decorative garlands. shaped chimneys) * steeply pitched hipped roof * multiple dormers. turrets. usually of light-colored stone * facade with corner quoins and columns. floral patterns or shields * masonry walls. oftne paired with Ionic or Corinthian capitals * first story typically rusticated (stonework) with exaggerated joints * facade symmetrical Spanish Mission Style (1890-1930) * shaped Mission dormer or roof parapet * porch roofs supported by large square piers. usually wall dormers extending through cornice line * walls of masonry. gables. commonly in multiple groups with multi-pane glazing * walls of brick.maybe just tree trunks * tile or brick floors Prairie Style (1900-1920) * low-pitched roof with widely overhanging eaves * two stories with one-story porches or wings * massive square porch supports * detail emphasizing horizontal lines * hipped roofs are more common than end or side gables * one of few indigenous American styles developed by Chicago architects Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright and built only during first two decades of century . usually side-gabled * tall.
Craftsman (1905-1930) * low-pitched gabled roof with wide. curved corners * smooth stucco wall surface * asymmetrical facade * flat roof. lines. usually without ledge at roof line * windows usually metal casements set flush with outer walls . chevron with lozenge. usally with ledge at roof line * horizontal grooves. reding and fluting. unenclosed eave overhang * roof rafters usually exposed * porches supported by square columns * decorative braces or false beams under gables * columns frequently continue to ground level without a break at porch level * generally one or one-and-a-half stories Art Deco (1920-1940) * zigzags and other geometric and stylized motifs * towers and other vertical projections * smooth stucco wall surface * decorative motifs: geometric floral. often around doors and windows. unornamental wall surface * asymmetrical facade * flat roof. balustrades * windows can turn corners and can be roundly shaped * glass-block windows or sections of the wall International (1925-present) * no decorative detailing at doors or windows * smooth. sunrise pattern Art Moderns (1920-1940) * streamline.
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