Stirling (Reading, Pennsylvania)

Coordinates: 40°21′9″N 75°56′3″W / 40.35250°N 75.93417°W / 40.35250; -75.93417
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Stirling, March 2011
Stirling (Reading, Pennsylvania) is located in Pennsylvania
Stirling (Reading, Pennsylvania)
Stirling (Reading, Pennsylvania) is located in the United States
Stirling (Reading, Pennsylvania)
Location1120 Centre Ave., Reading, Pennsylvania
Coordinates40°21′9″N 75°56′3″W / 40.35250°N 75.93417°W / 40.35250; -75.93417
Area0.5 acres (0.20 ha)
ArchitectTheophilus P. Chandler Jr.
Architectural styleLate Victorian, Renaissance, Gothic Revival
NRHP reference No.80003427[1]
Added to NRHPApril 17, 1980

Stirling is an historic, American mansion that is located at 1120 Centre Avenue in Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania.

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.[1]

History and architectural features[edit]

Built between 1890 and 1892, this historic residence is a three-story, twenty-four-room, Châteauesque-style dwelling that was designed by noted Philadelphia architect Theophilus Parsons Chandler Jr. (1845-1928).

Created for industrialist James Hervey Sternbergh (1834-1913), the owner of the American Steel & Iron Manufacturing Company, and his second wife,[2] it was named after Stirling Castle in Scotland and was built using squared granite ashlar. Located at 1120 Centre Avenue in Reading, Pennsylvania,[3] it features a number of eclectic decorative elements including tall chimneys with decorated caps, a balustraded verandah, steeply pitched gable roofs, and roof dormers.[4]

During the 1930s, Stirling served as the setting for high teas, salons and other society events that were hosted by James Sternbergh's widow.[5][6]

Following the death of James H. Sternbergh, ownership of the mansion and a significant portion of his wealth were transferred to his widow; following her death, the mansion and much of the family's remaining fortune were inherited by their youngest daughter, Gertrude Sternbergh (1899-1996). A classically-trained concert pianist and graduate of the Juilliard School of Music,[7] Gertrude Sternbergh also became one of the first women in Berks County, Pennsylvania to become a licensed airplane pilot and was a well-known patron of artists, authors and musicians across and beyond the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.[8][9] Among her beneficiaries and friends were American pianist Andre Watts[10] and Metropolitan Opera star Jerome Hines. A soloist with the Reading Symphony Orchestra between 1924 and 1971, she frequently held fundraisers for the ensemble on the grounds of the estate. Through her support and the support of her friends, the ensemble was able to recruit a significant number of Philadelphia Orchestra members during the early phases of their careers to serve as the RSO's principal section chairs during the twentieth century, enabling the RSO to achieve prominence as an ensemble that was respected in its own right.[11][12][13]

This property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.[1]

Present day[edit]

Stirling is now operated as a bed and breakfast.[14][15]


  1. ^ a b c "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ "Deaths: Former Y.W.C.A. Officer Succumbs: Served as Red Cross Executive Secretary." Reading, Pennsylvania: Reading Eagle, November 28, 1950, p. 22.
  3. ^ "Symphony Officers Installed." Reading, Pennsylvania: Reading Eagle, July 2, 1962, p. 14.
  4. ^ "National Historic Landmarks & National Register of Historic Places in Pennsylvania". CRGIS: Cultural Resources Geographic Information System. Archived from the original (Searchable database) on 2007-07-21. Retrieved 2012-09-08. Note: This includes Michael J. O'Malley (October 1979). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: Stirling" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-09-08.
  5. ^ "'Evening of Music' Attracts Several Hundred Guests." Reading, Pennsylvania: Reading Eagle, February 19, 1935, p. 8.
  6. ^ March, Lilly. "As Seen by Her." Reading, Pennsylvania: Reading Eagle, December 22, 1936, p. 16.
  7. ^ "RSO receives Sternbergh grant for fall concert." Reading, Pennsylvania: Reading Eagle, Reading Eagle, January 20, 2002, p. E2.
  8. ^ "Berks Volunteers to Be Honored." Reading, Pennsylvania: Reading Eagle, December 21, 1973, p. 14.
  9. ^ McCann, Nancy. "World-Famous Woman Pianist Visits Gertrude Sternbergh at 'Stirling.'" Reading, Pennsylvania: Reading Eagle, November 30, 1958, p. 15.
  10. ^ Flippin, Paula M. "Pianist Watts Temporarily Residing in Reading." Reading, Pennsylvania: Reading Eagle, September 9, 1970, p. 45.
  11. ^ "Gertrude Sternbergh fostered music, art and writing from her Reading mansion." Reading, Pennsylvania: Reading Eagle, January 28, 2018 (retrieved online June 4, 2023).
  12. ^ "The Reading Symphony 'Horseless' Carriage Show," in The Carriage Journal, Vol. 16, No. 4, p. 3, Spring 1979. Salem, New Jersey: Carriage Association of America (retrieved online June 4, 2023).
  13. ^ Flippin, Paula M. "This Heifetz Eyed Medicine." Reading, Pennsylvania: Reading Eagle, December 8, 1973, p. 9.
  14. ^ Coffman, Cathy. "A Family Guest Hotel: The Stirling." Reading, Pennsylvania: Berks County Living, January 7, 2019 (retrieved online June 4, 2023).
  15. ^ Pena, Susan L. "New arts program at Stirling in Reading will honor Gertrude Sternbergh’s legacy." Reading, Pennsylvania: Reading Eagle, March 22, 2020 (retrieved online June 4, 2023).

External links[edit]