Building History

Located in Perkasie, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, our main shop was built in the early 1920's for Branch Moving & Storage. The building has been used as a hosiery mill, carpet store and furniture repair shop. In the 1970's it housed a slot car track and for 25 years was the home of Dudley Baseballs, the maker of the official baseballs for the American and National Leagues. It was also home to an automobile dealership in the 1950's.

The back of the building when first constructed in early 1920's for Branch Moving and Storage.

Branch Storage Company (1923-1938)

Eastern U.S. truck transportation was developed with the key help of a Perkasie family. It began in 1916 when Robert T. Hendricks took a load of pants from Perkasie to New York in a Model T Ford truck. Doing this enabled him to create a motor truck company called Branch Storage Co. with his brothers Eugene and Harvey. They called the company Branch Storage because it was located near Branch Creek.

By 1922 Branch Storage Co had ten trucks going between New York City and and Bucks County. They sold their business to the Butensky Brothers of New York City in the early 1930's and changed the name to Branch Motor Express Co.

For many years Eugene Hendricks was manager of the Allentown Depot. The Branch trucks were seen for many years on major highways throughout the Eastern United States.

Philadelphia Silk Firm (1938-?)

In 1938 the building was leased to Albert and Thomas Doughty to operate a Philadelphia silk firm and filled with 20 machines, mostly footers and leggers for making hosiery, and employed 75 people.

Unfortunately there is not a lot of information available about the war years but it is assumed that the silk firm remained in the building until the late 40's or early 50's possibly making parachutes.

Earl S. Bachman Chrysler - Plymouth (?-1953)

In 1953 the Berger & Berger Chrysler - Plymouth automobile agency was formed to purchase the franchise formerly held by Earl S. Bachman. Berger & Berger is located at the same site used by the Bachman Agency on S. 4th St. in the former Branch Storage building.

Berger & Berger Chrysler - Plymouth (1953-1957)

From 1953 through 1957 the building was leased by Bob and Russell Berger, who operated a Chrysler-Plymouth dealership until they added DeSoto and moved to 124 N. 6th St. In 1953 Berger & Berger had the privlilege of furnishing a new Chrysler ambulance for the Dublin Fire Company. The fact that Dublin replaced their ambulance with a Chrysler was indicative of the service offered by the the car and the agency.

 LeMans Model Car Raceway (1960-1968)

In the 1960's it housed a slot car track, and we recently received a visit from the son of the owner of LeMans Model Car Raceway who provided some newspaper clippings and photos of the race tracks in the building. Herbert and Lucille Hausmann set up the raceway in May of 1966 offering fun and prizes for “Moms and Daughters as well as Dads and Sons”. There were two ‘Official Championship Raceways’ certified by the American Model Car Racing Congress, as well as a drag strip running the full length of the building.

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On November 5th they had the first ‘Big Time’ event where the local Perkasie team beat out the State Champs from Sellersville and they were awarded prizes in front of “over 100 spectators”.

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Unfortunately, at 4:40pm on June 12th 1968 a fire started downstairs in what was then a machine shop making parts for Ametek, a gauge manufacturing operation in Sellersville. The raceway tracks were damaged by the water that was used to extinguish the blaze and caused an estimated $7,000 damage. In August 1968 they held a ‘Fire Sale’ where you could purchase race cars, tires, chassis, power controls for ½ the regular price as well as folding chairs and a Coke Machine.

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Claude Bowen’s Metal Shop (1960's?-1968?)

At some point in the 60's Claude Bowen operated a machine shop that made parts for U.S. Gauge/Ametek, a gauge operation in Sellersville. Unfortunately, at 4:40pm on June 12th 1968 a fire started downstairs in the machine shop causing Claude Bowen to possibly close his doors or he may have been able to continue his operation. The information about this business is hard to find. The raceway tracks were also damaged by the water that was used to extinguish the blaze and caused an estimated $7,000 damage.There is still evidence of fire damage to the beams downstairs. The water from the hoses damaged the tracks and LeMans Raceway closed its doors.

Dudley Sports (1968-1990)

From 1968 to 1990 Dudley Sports leased the building from Sam Doughty. The building was called the Samalto building. Sam Doughty was involved with the Mt. Alto coal yards, thus Sam…Alto. Dudley Sports installed cutting tables and machines used to cut covers for softballs and baseballs.

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The Hubbert Family (Pennridge) – About 1920 Ed and Walt Hubbert arranged with A. G. Spalding Company to stitch the covers on American and National League baseballs in their home in Perkasie.

 

 

 Through the years the family business grew until about 50 stitchers worked in the baseball factory and about 300 stitchers worked in their homes. After 1950, a new softball was developed – the Dudley softball – and it became the most popular softball in the U.S.A. The Hubbert’s were local sponsors of many town teams and generous with donations of balls to many Pennridge area groups.

You see, major league baseballs were made in this town during the Babe Ruth era.
When The Perk’s owner Larry Nacarella was asked about the possibility that Babe Ruth could have
hit a home run with a ball from Perkasie he didn’t hesitate to answer.
“No question about it,” he said.

That’s some serious sports talk which is why Nacarella decorates his restaurant with baseball
memorabilia in honor of the family who started it all.
“Dave Hubbert, Hubbert is the family name, his father and his uncle did a lot of the baseball
stitching in the area,” said Nacarella. “That’s something we’re proud of.”
Even more special on this evening, 94-year-old hometown boy Dave Hubbert himself was at The
Perk to tell me about making baseballs.
“I was stitching baseballs when I was a kid in high school and getting 25 cents an hour,” said
Hubbert.
Hubbert’s dad and uncle started the business in the early 1900’s with his mom stitching ball
covers.
“I was practically sitting on her lap when she sewed baseballs,” he said.
Dave worked in the family business as a kid.
When he grew up he developed a ball called the Dudley Softball that is sold nationally today.
“The covers are cut very precise to keep the leather at the same thickness,” Hubbert explained.
“Because it would affect the flight of the ball when you hit it.”
“It’s the bottom of the 9th, you can only put one batter up to hit one of your balls out of the park,
who do you put at the plate?” asked Woodill.
“Oh boy, one of the best for that, Ted Williams and Babe Ruth, I’d put those guys up,” said
Hubbert.

The Shop at the Dry Sink Antiques / Wright Flooring (1990-1995)

A furniture store in Chalfont called The Shop at the Dry Sink Antiques started a wood-working / furniture repair shop and rented the upstairs.  Also in the rented building carpets were stored downstairs by Melvin "Rocky" Wright of Wright Flooring that still exists in Silverdale. When the furniture store went out of business they closed the repair shop in 1995.

Ragtops & Roadsters (1995-present)

In 1990 Mike Engard strarted a business that restores and services British Automobiles in the small building located in the alley between 4th and 5th Streets. We moved into this building, 203 S. 4th St, in 1995. Since then we have grown to become one of the top British automobile restoration shops in the country. We currently have 13 employees working to provide our customers with top quality restoration and service.