This mid-20th century “Penn State Homes Sales” office has sat on North Atherton Street, just a few minutes from Downtown State College, for decades. I wondered about it when first arriving at Penn State in 2005. In driving by it when leaving State College on Monday I noticed lots of equipment surrounding it, and thought this might be one of the last times I see it if it’s scheduled for demolition. I hopped out of my rental car and took this photo:
I emailed a friend who grew up in the area to ask about it, and here’s what he wrote:
Yes, it was the rental/sales office for what was the mobile home park that existed back there up until the mid 2000s or so. I have a vague memory of visiting my aunt who lived there for a year sometime in the mid 80s… Although it was run down toward the end of its life it was actually pretty decent in the prime of days. There also wasn’t a ton of non-student housing available in the State College area back then either (believe it or not considering the expansion of housing options today).
The last of the North Atherton Street mobile home parks is closing.
Franklin Manor Mobile Home Park is shutting down, according to a letter sent Friday to residents and Patton Township officials. The 22 families that live in the park were informed that they have until Oct. 1 to find new homes.
The park is next to the former Penn State Mobile Home Park, which closed July 31.
Natalie Corman, Centre County Office of Adult Services director, was informed Friday that the mobile home park is closing, and she said officials already are organizing assistance for residents.
Owner Ed Temple, when reached Friday, said the condition of the park’s infrastructure is failing, as are many of its trailers, and that ultimately led to the decision to close.
“This winter was a tipping point,” Temple said. “So many people had failures, frozen-up water lines broke. It just became evident they were just not functional anymore.”
He said closing the park is a “difficult decision.” It was established by his father in 1953, and Temple grew up there.
“It’s been a situation where I had generations of people there — parents and now their children,” he said. “We’ve tried to facilitate it. It’s just come to the point where we have to do something.”
Temple said the park was not being closed to make way for development, but did not rule that out as a possibility in the future.
I hope this little office survives and is repurposed into something more publicly useful someday. It’s such an aesthetically distinct park of North Atherton Street, compared to the derivative shopping centers and hotels that line both sides the whole way north.