Establishment of the Purchase Community House
The center of community activities in Purchase is the Community House. Mr. William A. Read first recognized the need for club rooms where the people of Purchase could come together for social and for civic purposes. On October 7, 1915 he informed the Purchase Property Owners Association of Harrison Township, Inc. that he had bought a saloon on Purchase Street, and that he intended to buy additional land which he would present to the Community for the above purposes. He planned to build on this property a Community House which would contain an auditorium, living quarters for a neighborhood nurse and for school teachers, and a gymnasium for men and boys.
Death intervened before Mr. Read could carry out his plans. His widow erected the William A. Read Memorial House. Upon its completion it was leased to the Purchase Property Owners’ Association, which undertook its management and maintenance. After the association cancelled the lease, an organization known as the Purchase Community was formed, largely through the efforts of Mr. Carl Pforzheimer. Mr. Louis B. Ralston was first president of the Purchase Community, and Mr. Carl H. Pforzheimer was its first treasurer. The Community House was leased to the Purchase Community for five years at an annual rent of $1.00 per year on April 1, 1919. Mrs. Read paid the salary of the Director. Other operating expenses were paid for by the Purchase Community from memberships and donations.
Upon incorporation of the Purchase Community in 1926, title to the Community House was transferred to the Corporation by Mrs. Read. The grant was made contingent upon the continued use of the Community House for the following purposes: to foster fellowship among Purchase residents, and for wholesome activities which unite the neighborhood in loyalty and service to the community, the state and the nation. Today, the Purchase Community, Inc. still controls and manages the Community House. Membership in the Community is open to Purchase residents and a Board of Directors is elected at the annual meeting.