History of PCH: A Port Washington Office Building Turned Community Center

A few weeks ago I posted a blog story titled, “The History of PCH Told in Buenos Aires”. In that post I shared a brief history of PCH and promised to continue posting pictures and stories that I uncovered in my research of the Publishers Clearing House story. The History Channel, per a blog reader’s suggestion, has yet to approach us for a TV series on the history of PCH, but that hasn’t stopped us from telling the story here on the PCH blog!

Harold Mertz portrait
LuEsther Mertz

I figure there’s no better place to start than with Harold and LuEsther Mertz, the founders of Publishers Clearing House. As mentioned in my previous posts, it was their vision back in the early 1950s that sparked a revolution in the way magazine subscriptions were sold. While the Mertz family is known for their success in business, they are better known for their generous donations and other philanthropic efforts. One beneficiary is Port Washington, NY, which is where PCH is headquartered today, almost 60 years after being founded in the Mertz family basement not too far away.

Harold mertz community center
Harold Mertz handing over key

One classic example of the Mertz’s generosity can be found only 10 minutes from our current office building in the form of a Community Center. Pictured above, the Harold Mertz Community Center, was the original Publishers Clearing House headquarters. In the late 60’s the Mertz family already realized that the growth of Publishers Clearing House would require additional space, so they decided to build a bigger building down the street and around the corner. Instead of simply selling the old building, they donated it to Port Washington to be used as the town Community Center … as it continues to be used today. Their generosity didn’t stop there, but we’ll save the rest of the story for another blog post.

I hope you enjoy these snippets of the history of PCH. Please respond with any questions or comments below.

Regards,

Frank Alb

PCH Community


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Showing 26 Comments
BILLMAUDE said...

I THINK THIS IS A SAD, I’M TRYING TO TURN IN MY TOKENS AND THEY WON’T LET ME CAUSE THEY SAY I’M NOT IN THE USA.
MINNESOTA????????

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Deborah Holland said...

Hi Billmaude,
The PCHGames system does not recognize you as a U.S. citizen as you have not yet selected your country in your profile. To change your account information on http://www.PCHGames.com, please sign in and click on the “My Account” link at the top of the page. Then click on the “Info” tab followed by the appropriate “Edit” button. Enter the changes you wish to make and, finally, click the “Save Changes” button. We apologize for any confusion that may have been caused.
For any future PCHGames questions or concerns, please use the “Contact Us” link on the PCHGames website FAQ page and be sure that the “PCHGames.com” site is selected or use the following link to ensure a prompt reply:
http://pch.custhelp.com/app/ask/site_id/3

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terry russ said...

Mertz is a very good man the world thanks you

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Jeff P said...

What did Harold and LuEsther Mertz think of the idea of Todd and Dave doing the 1st video taping of there SuperPrize Winners?
I also think,The History Channel and PCH Bio will be in the works some time soon.

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gail said...

i would like to turn my van into a suv a ford escape that would be nice. HA HA HA

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gail said...

hey at least the place didn’t get taken down it went to use for something good thanks for letting them do that

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SISIFO.TAAMILO said...

I HAD NOTHING TO COMPLAIN ABOUT IT,BUT I WOULD LIKE TO BE THE WINNNER OF THE PCH-N-TURN THE OLD LIFE INTO A NEW LIFE THAT I EVER BEEN BEFOR,THANKS PCH,-N-GOD BLESS.

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Jeff P said...

Be nice to be a part of PCH History by being a Winner

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Frank Alb said...

Thanks for your comments everyone! I hope you enjoy learning about the history of Publishers Clearing House. There’s more to come so keep an eye out.

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NATIVIDAD MASCARENAS-GALLEGOS said...

Dear PCH Community & Mr. Frank Alb,

In the Year 2004 I studied and became a Living History Interpreter- From the 1800′s to the present in the Mexican-American History and so whenever I see the history, especially something so “Big” as the PCH Family I just feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to educate myself. I think Mr.& Mrs. Mertz had a dream and it became much larger than they could have ever imagined. For this, I am most thankful as I can never get enough of the “Wonderful Blessings” that allowed this “Great Dream” I honestly cry tears of joy when I see and feel for those who have been blessed. I also learned that PCH goes on to do so many other things, like the homes for young children who have no place to go. The list goes on and on! Thank you for sharing this wonderful “Success Story”! WHAT A LEGACY!

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LeighAnn% said...

Mr. And Mrs. Mertz, would be proud to know of the ongoing of what Once they had started..is now still going! They also, would Love to see their Superprize Winners, .. Make the same choices, as to do Great things with The SuperPrize money that they have made possible to give,.. And for SuperPrize Winners to give back! Just as they did. Its a circle.. Keep it circulating, and give to Great purposes in their name! By God, it was He that created such Great and Giving People. It was their Purpose! LeighAnn Adams.. :) Thank you, Sir and Lu..

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Shawn Mertz said...

Shawn mertz, its interesting to finally learn some facts about about my family and how pch originated, I’ve heard bits and pieces through out my life but never seen written down facts. I must say im impressed with the generousity that my late relatives displayed and the company following in their footsteps.

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CR in the "show-me" state said...

Salutations given in rememberance of Harold, LuEsther and Joyce Mertz!

we know they’re still working them dreams from beyond! lol

to think my dreams were taking shape back BEFORE I was born in the basement of the Mertz family is soooo world-rocking. lol…still the work goes on today putting SANTA to shame as he only works one day a year. lol

thanks for the sweetest chance that could ever come-a-knockin!

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Boots Baird said...

Enjoy playing the games, but there are times when some will freeze and then I can’t continue. Also in playing for the sweepstakes there is never enough SPINS to truly win anything… Story or legacy of the Mertz is a wonderful story. Thanks

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ebune ayenuwa said...

Hi pch, i want to use this medium
to thank you for bring pch program
to my reality world it is like a
miracle to me i never expect it
and how am been accepted into is
programs is remarkable to me and the
messages been send to me is incredible, since i have been born
i have never seen such a thing it
is a wonder of the 21st century it
is fascinating, i have chance for
dream house, car and million dollars. thanks and best regards

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vanessaowens said...

i vanessa owens never’ed won anything ever before two see some people enter the pch and is already rich and have a pocket full of money and just greedy and in my case i’m just needy even though i did’nt win not this time i have’nt won anything from pch sense i been playing it i been playing it for along time now i don’t win money i just win tokens wind i play the games i enter all the sweepstakes but i still have’nt won any money yet i’m not going to give up on the pch because as my family alway’s say wind one door close’s another one open’s and i do be’leave in god and i know god he will make away for me and my children for us to be happy to and not poor no more and be able to pay our bills on time and never be late again and pay them on time so many people needs to win but i want to win for i can pay to have weight loss surgery and still enjoy my life with my children and still be alive and healthy for my family.

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Harold Ziel said...

Did you read my comment?
I published it just a few minutes ago, I hope you take action. Thanks for the prize. I am visiting my bank today to find out if my prize was deposited.
It is now November.

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Cynthia Gonzalez said...

TO PCH
MARCH IS “WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH” THIS YEAR THEME IS WOMEN INSPIRING INOVATION THROUGH IMAGINATION: CELEBRATING WOMEN IN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MATHEMATICS.

SALUTATIONS GIVEN IN REMEMBERANCE OF MRS. MERTZ. SHE BECAME A GENERAL PARTNER IN PUBLISHER CLEARNING HOUSE, THE MAGAZINE -SUBSCRIPTION BUSINESS, SOON AFTER ITS FOUNDING IN 1953 BY HER HUSBAND, HAROLD E. MERTZ, AND THEIR DAUGHTER , JOYCE MERTZ – GILMORE. SHE AND HER HUSBAND WERE LATER DIVORCED.
“SHE WAS THE CHAIRMAN OF JOSEPH PAPP’S NEW YORK SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL FROM 1973 TO 1987 AND UNDER WROTE MOVING SEVERAL OF ITS PRODUCTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC THEATER TO BROADWAY, INCLUDING “TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA “AND ” A CHORUS LINE”
“IN 1961 SHE FOUNDED CHOICE MAGAZINE LISTENING IN PORT WASHINGTON FOR SEVERAL WHO ARE UNABLE TO READ REGULAR PRINT. THE ORGANIZATION SELECTS ARTICLES, FICTIONS AND POETRY FROM CONTEMPORARY PERIODICALS, RECORDS THEN ON CASSETTE TAPES AND DISTRIBUTES THE TAPES FREE. TO ENDOW THE ORGANIZATION, SHE SET UP A PRIVATE FOUNDATION, THE “LUCENA FUND”.
“SHE WAS A MAJOR CONTRIBUTOR TO MANY NEW YORK CULTURAL AND EDUCATIONAL INSTUTIONS, INCLUDING LINCOLN CENTER AND THE NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDEN, AND RECEIVED THE MAYOR’S AWARD FOR ARTS AND CULTURE IN 1983 AND THE NEW YORK STATE GOVERNORS’S ARTS AWARD IN 1986.
“IN RECENT YEARS, SHE WAS CHAIRMAN OF THE JOYCE MERTZ GILMORE FOUNDATION.

LUESTHER MERTZ DIED DEC. 9,1991 AGE 85.

REFERENCE:

LUESTHER MERTZ 85,ARTS PATRON AND PARTNER IN MAGAZINE BUSINESS ACCESSED DECEMBER 9, 2010.

GOD BLESS YOU ALL AND ALL THE WOMEN DURING WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH’PCH THEME SONG COMPOSED BY DAVE SAYER “THE HOUSE WHERE DREAMS COME TRUE’

A” WOMAN ‘TEXAS “PECAN PIE CYNTHIA GONZALEZ “

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Kathy Smith said...

Thank you for sharing these authentic pictures….a thought to add them with pictures of the “Big Check” all in black and white in the dream room make over sweepstakes…..Wishing you and yours a future of further success…:)

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Agustin said...

An acquaintance, not a friend, he told me I was wasting my time. And I said:

_ The history of the company Publishers Clearing House transfers the wall so fascinating to become a touching story and representative of the last 60 years in the United States. This story, starring in the wonderful real world of New York in the 50s, has its genesis in the then seller of magazines and Swarthmore College student, Harold E. Mertz, who along with his wife and daughter edited in the basement of his house magazine Publisher Clearing House. The Mertz family, symbol of sacrifice and persistence of the American family, despite all the vicissitudes, remained united in the purpose of your project exaggerate. And since then … Since then, since I found this touching story, I’m wasting my time.

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Deborah Fannon said...

What a blessing the Mertz have been to so many people

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harold scott said...

it is nice to get this story of
how it began! ever day mail is
drop in the box and you don’t
have this info on how this money
got started it nice to have my
name Harold ? could we be family! well mister Mertz have done a great job to so many people hope have that dream
having not to work hard again!

I hope it will be me Harold

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harold scott said...

add your comment here

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cheryl boudrie said...

Well for sure the man had a special gift! and has touched the world from his heart how more beautiful of a human being is there!I’m sure some if not all employees knew him or of him!may he rest in God’s arms,my condolences to all that were touched by him “God bless”,the world would be a lot better place if we had more of “Harold’s heart”

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