April 18, 2001: Boyertown's Salvation Army Dedicates New Headquarters Funded by Daniel G. Hartman


By Margaret Leidy Harner from her book One Day at a Time: A Social History of Boyertown, PA.

April 18, 2001: The Boyertown unit of the Salvation Army is getting ready to dedicate its new headquarters at 409 South Reading Avenue, thanks to a generous endowment from Daniel G. Hartman, known in Boyertown as the “Walker.”

Described as a tall, handsome, intelligent man, Danny was kind and generous. Although he inherited a fortune from his father, he lived very frugally in the large family home on East Philadelphia Avenue. He owned a car but was usually seen walking in a white T-shirt and khakis, and a day’s stroll might take him to Allentown and back.

A Korean War veteran and a teacher at Albright College, he was pursuing a PhD in history at Temple when his father became ill and Daniel stayed home to help care for him. He never returned to his doctoral studies. It has been reported that he gained considerable weight while serving in Korea, because he said there was nothing interesting to do there but eat, so he assiduously dieted to lose that extra weight and keep it off, presumably maintaining a Spartan diet and exercise routine the rest of his life.

Because of his parsimonious life style, his inheritance of $1,000,000+ grew considerably, and at his death from malnutrition in 1992, Danny blessed the entire community with bequests in his will to a number of Boyertown charities, including churches, the library, ambulance and the Friendship Hook and Ladder Fire Company, but the bulk of his estate was given to the Boyertown unit of the Salvation Army. They converted the former bowling alley into a magnificent tribute to Hartman’s generosity.

In the dedication ceremony, a Colonel from Philadelphia noted that most Army headquarters are located in undesirable urban areas, and it was so pleasant to have birds singing, a stream running by and lots of fresh air surrounding them at the Boyertown facility.

Ray Samsel was the driving force behind the development of the Boyertown unit of the Salvation Army, and all Army business had been conducted in a back room of his house. His wife is very pleased to get her guest room back again. Samsel was honored for his volunteer service in organizing the Boyertown Salvation Army as the 1983 Boyertown Citizen of the Year.

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