Ferdinand Winter, who for many years was a well-known business man of Reading, and a member of the leather manufacturing firm of Winter & Goetz, retired to his home at 900 Centre Avenue.
Below: Ferdinand Winter Residence, 900 Centre Avenue, as it appeared in 1897.
Mr. Winter’s birth occurred in 1838, in Austria, son of Anton and Marie (Ansorge) Winter. After receiving a good education in the schools of his native country, Mr. Winter learned the process of tanning chamois and other fine hides for glove and shoe purposes, and followed this occupation as a journeyman for eleven years in Bavaria.
On Aug. 28, 1867, he emigrated to America, landing at Castle Garden, on the steamship “Northern Light,” and settled in Philadelphia for two and one-half years, after which he came to Reading and entered into a partnership with Anton Blatz, who had established, a short time previously, a small tannery. This partnership existed under the name of Blatz & Winter from 1869 to 1875, when Mr. Winter purchased the business, and admitted as a partner Ferdinand Goetz. They carried on the business on the Canal street site of the Pennsylvania railroad.
The reputation that Mr. Winter made for his goods was far reaching and much of the leather passed inspection and sold in Philadelphia, New York and other large cities as imported leather, and was in many instances superior to imported goods. He also exported to foreign countries, including Germany, France and England.
In 1904, Mr. Goetz died and Mr. Winter retired from the tannery business but not from business. A 1917 report of the Reading Brewing Co. lists him as president.
After his death, wife Clara remained living at the residence as did other family members, until the early 1940s, when it became an apartment house.
This was a splendid residence in its day. It has been described as Chateauesque-styled with some Gothic Revival details. Reading fresco artist Berthold J. Imhoff took great pride in the artistic work he did here soon after the house was completed in 1889. That work is no longer in evidence.
The building still stands at 900 Centre Avenue.