In our second installment of our series recognizing some of the early projects of our firm, we dug into our vault and found a couple of very early photographs, and a nice rendering, of another downtown Reading landmark designed by our founder, Frederick A. Muhlenberg.
In 1922, Mr. Muhlenberg was commissioned to design the Harold’s Furniture Store, which was located on the south side of Penn Street at No. 726, just east of the railroad tracks. Our original drawings for this building were dated August 1923, so we believe it is safe to say it was built circa 1923-24.
Harold’s Furniture Store remained on this site and was in continuous operation until 1988 when it finally closed its doors. The building remained vacant for another 10 years before it was eventually demolished. However, during the building’s lifetime of 75+ years, the landscape around it would change dramatically.
As you can see in these early photographs, Harold’s Furniture Store predates the Astor Theatre, which was built in 1928 on the lot adjacent to the building’s east side. Sadly, these two buildings would be forever connected in Reading’s history since they were the last buildings to remain standing in the 700 block of Penn. The shell of these buildings were for a very long time a reminder of Reading’s one-time vibrant downtown shopping and entertainment district.
Harold Furniture Store, along with the Astor Theatre, was demolished in 1998 to make way for the downtown arena, now known as the Sovereign Center.
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