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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.


Frank Alb

PCH Community

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  1. enjoyed your blog immensely. have followed pch’s history since its founding by curly, luesther and joyce. our family traveled to sands point, port washington for christmas holidays with my aunt and uncle who lived across the street from the m. have fond memories stuffing envelopes in 1953 at age 8 in the basement. last saw luesther on grindstone island, ny on her way to paris france sometime after joyce’s death. great people.