As a successor to an architectural practice begun in 1920, Muhlenberg Greene Architects, Ltd. traces a lively, continuous history which mirrors, in any decade during that period, the then contemporary development occurring in Reading/Berks County Community. The past client list is rich in the names of the area’s major public and private institutions. All told, since its inception, the Firm lists to its credit over 3,500 commissions. Such local landmarks as Berks Heim, the Medical Arts Building and Stokesay Castle are products of the Firm’s historic past.
Frederick A. Muhlenberg, Architect
The founder of the Firm, Frederick A. Muhlenberg, FAIA, was noted for his endeavors not only in architecture, but also in community and social services, politics, and the military. He graduated from Gettysburg College in 1908 and from the University of Pennsylvania in 1912 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture. He later obtained a M.S. from Gettysburg in 1913 and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Muhlenberg College in 1942.
On May 1, 1919, after an apprenticeship served mainly in the Philadelphia office of John T. Windrim, Architect, and after serving as a captain in the 314th Infantry during World War I (incidentally with great distinction and was awarded decorations to prove it), Mr. Muhlenberg opened an architectural office in Philadelphia. Within a year of that beginning, a second office was opened, located in the Liberty Bank Building, Sixth and Court Streets, Reading. By the mid 1920s the practice, now located exclusively in Reading, was thriving, and the firm that Mr. Muhlenberg founded has continued through several reorganizations to its present form as Muhlenberg Greene Architects, Ltd.
During the intervening years to accommodate the “several reorganizations” mentioned, the Firm operated for various periods under the following names (dates in some cases are approximate).
Frederick A. Muhlenberg, Architect, 1920 – 1935
Muhlenberg, Yerkes, Muhlenberg, 1935 – 1954
Muhlenberg and Yerkes, 1954 – 1959
Frederick A. Muhlenberg & Associates, 1959 – 1965
Muhlenberg-Greene-Veres, 1965 – 1972
Muhlenberg Greene Architects, 1972 – 1980
Muhlenberg Greene Architects, Ltd., 1980 – Present
During his years of practice, Fred Muhlenberg was involved in many organizations beyond just those related to his profession. He served as a Colonel with Army Corps of Engineers during World War II, and was a councilman for both the City of Reading and the Borough of Wernersville, where he lived in his later years. He served as chairman for numerous civic and professional organizations including the Association of Schuylkill River Municipalities, the Red Cross Disaster Relief Commission, the State Board of Examiners of Architects, the State Art Commission, and, most notably, the Berks County Planning Commission, where he served as Chairman from its inception in 1950 until 1972 when he retired from the Commission. In addition, he became the seventh member of his family to be elected to the U.S. Congress, where he served in the House of Representatives from 1946 – 1948.
Retiring officially from the Firm in 1977, one week after his 90th birthday, Mr. Muhlenberg continued to appear at the office daily until physical limitations prevented him from doing so about a year later. Frederick Muhlenberg died at 92 years of age on January 19, 1980.
Muhlenberg Greene Architects
After Mr. Muhlenberg’s retirement, the Firm became the sole proprietorship of Lawrence A. Greene (who had, at that time, been a partner for 12 ½ years) until January 1, 1980 when the present professional corporation-form of organization, and name, was established. The three original principals (stockholders) of the reorganized Firm were Lawrence A. Greene, Howard Quaintance, and James E. Dockey. In 1983, Dennis W. Rex was added as a principal/stockholder of the Firm; likewise, John R. Hill became a principal/stockholder in 1998.
Lawrence A. Greene, AIA, Chairman of the Firm, obtained his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Syracuse University in 1957 and is a registered architect in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, New York, and New Jersey. During his early career he worked for architectural offices in Syracuse, NY and Allentown and Bethlehem; he became associated with this form in 1960, left for a short period a few years later, and returned permanently in 1964. He is an active member of the American Institute of Architects, having served as a member, and formerly chairman, of its national Committee on Architecture for Commerce and Industry (1973-1981); he is also past president (1972) of AIA Eastern Pennsylvania and served on the Board of Directors of AIA Pennsylvania from 1987 through 1992.