What's Historic About Brookville, Pennsylvania?

George I. Reitz and Sons,
"The Spirit of the Community"

By Tiffany Gumpher

"A father and his two sons are to be honored this evening for their outstanding achievement and the willingness to take a most active part in their community's development," said William Hampton of Diamond Products on the occasion of an award to George I. Reitz and his sons, Alton and Lawrence, in 1976.

It was not the first time, or the last time, this enterprising Brookville family would be honored.

George I.Reitz received his apprentice training as a boiler maker for the Pittsburgh and Shawmut Railroad. Utilizing his knowledge, he purchased his own welding machine and operated out of his father's chicken coop in 1920. He repaired machinery, drilling equipment and other steel items. The quality of his workmanship put his services in high demand. He soon was able to leave the railroad and go into business for himself.

In 1944, he erected a new 28x60 building for his growing business. His personal life also blossomed. He married the former Althea Dempsey and the couple had three children. The eldest, Alton served with the Seabees during World War II. When he returned home, he joined his father's business.

Soon the company was building basement storage tanks for home heating oil. The tanks were so well built that Charles Taylor agreed to buy all of the tanks the company produced for his pennzoil distributorship. That led to a change in production and a new design the skilled Reitz family originated. From a limited production of 10 tanks in 1947, the part of the business grew to produce over 2,000 tanks in 1971.

In 1951, the youngest son, Lawrence entered the business. Soon Brookville tanks were being exported all around the globe. The labor force had grown from three to 26 in 1972.

The family was not just involved with their work. Community service has always been important to them as well. George I. Reitz was deeply involved with the erection of the Evangelical United Methodist Church in Brookville. His sons followed his example.

It is difficult to find some aspect of the community the father or his sons were not involved with; from Little League and the Boy Scouts, to the school board and United Fund, they have served on them all.

This family and their achievements stand as shining examples of the impact one family can have and it all starts with a dream.


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