I thought it would be fun to create a series of posts showcasing some of the incredible projects in Reading that are a part of the history of Muhlenberg Greene Architects. It wasn’t until I started searching our photo archives that I was reintroduced to some of the buildings I remember so vividly, and others I wish I could remember. Among our records are photographs of renderings and sketches that were drawn by our founder, Frederick A. Muhlenberg, or Henry E. Muhlenberg (his partner in Muhlenberg Yerkes Muhlenberg). It is not known if these were commissioned by the client at the time the project was designed or if they were completed at a later date; we suspect a combination of both. Whatever the reason, I am certainly glad they exist because we have some gems to share.
There are many examples we could present, but in this series we will focus on some of the well-known Reading landmarks that are part of the legacy of our firm.
First up is one of my absolute favorite buildings Mr. Muhlenberg designed. As a little girl in the mid-1960s I remember “window shopping” along Penn Street with my grandmother, and Croll and Keck’s store was one of the must-see stops on our walk.
Croll & Keck, a store specializing in men’s and boy’s apparel, was located on the south side of the 600 block of Penn Street, situated next door to Pomeroy’s Department Store. The Croll & Keck store was designed by Mr. Muhlenberg in 1927. As you can see in these photographs, its claim to fame was the beautiful lobby ceiling, which was what I was drawn to as a child. I’m told the colors of the ceiling tiles were blue, but my memory can’t recall this exactly. What I do remember as a child is how different this store was from all the others in town.
Unfortunately this building, along with (too) many others, was demolished around 1971 in order to make way for the proposed Reading Downtown Mall which never materialized.
If anyone has any stories they would like to share about their visit to Croll & Keck, or if anyone has any knowledge of the history of the store, please feel free to leave us a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you!