UPPER BERN TWP., Pa. - As faces from the past fade away, they'll, at least, be kept somewhere, if not in the place where generations of people have come to love them.
"Change is the only constant," said Bill Howze, owner of The Renaissance Auction Group. "It's the thing we know will be there in our lives."
Unable to be saved entirely, or find a new home, the one and only Roadside America is being broken up into pieces and sold by way of a public online auction.
Howze is the man entrusted with that daunting task.
"...Which has been one of the great privileges," said Howze. "To be able to walk among this and really study it, catalogue it, hold it, picture it, photograph it."
Through Jan. 23, about 700 pieces will be auctioned off, from hex signs to the buildings that have made the display the visual wonder it's been for 85 years. The trains will be sold in a separate auction later this year.
"The single most consistent comment was, 'I just want to own a piece of it,'" said Howze.
After decades of delighting visitors both young and old, Roadside America, a popular attraction off Interstate 78 in Berks County, is putting …
Howze let WFMZ's Jim Vasil and photojournalist Chad Blimline up onto the display, a big deal; this is hallowed ground, where only few feet have trod. He wanted to show them the incredible attention to detail of its original designer, Laurence Gieringer, that auction winners will get to enjoy.
"You're going to be able to notice the quarter coins, you're going to notice the keystones on the window headers, you're going to be able to notice how carefully he crafted every one of the raised panel shutters. That's going to be the difference," said Howze. "There's going to be a lot of train layouts in Berks County, in Pennsylvania, and all over the country that have a little piece of Roadside America in them."
Though you'll never be able to go back in time, now is your chance to own a piece of time that we'll never see again.