The Historic Preservation Trust of Berks County was organized on April 30, 1964 by a group of public-spirited individuals under the leadership of Dr. Arthur D. Graeff, a well-known teacher, newspaper columnist, and local historian. As an active member of the National Trust of Historic Preservation, the Berks County Trust initiated a survey of 180 local structures in order to identify, investigate, and evaluate their historical importance in relation to our larger American heritage.
In-depth research revealed a number of architecturally significant buildings whose very survival was threatened by deterioration or community development. The gravity of the potential loss of these historical structures to the community clearly indicated the need for the Trust to develop an aggressive agenda for their preservation.
By 1966, the Trust was pressing forward to preserve and maintain historic sites and structures in Berks County on its endangered list. In addition to protesting forcefully the destruction of numerous important buildings, it offered advice and the benefits of its own experience to individuals and communities in need of professional help. On several occasions it enlisted the aid of the Commonwealth, placed markers on numerous key sites, and gathered historical information, land surveys and old photographs.
Today the all-volunteer membership of the Historic Preservation Trust of Berks County continues this important work. The Trust currently owns and maintains eight historic properties in Berks County. In realistic financial terms, the Preservation Trust recognizes it is impossible to save every old building. So today, the organization is reaching out to establish strategic linkages and partnerships with other organizations, property owners and local communities having similar goals to develop realistic approaches for protecting and preserving history. Then, utilizing creative approaches, marshal the needed resources to help make it happen.