Revisiting Reading’s Architectural Past – Harold’s Furniture Store

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.

Harold Furniture Rendering by 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.


Harold Furniture Photo Later


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.


Harold Furniture Photo 1920s

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  1. Jim Boyer says:

    I can remember my Dad taking me along to the Mohegan Market in the late 40’s. Everyone seemed to pronounce that “Mohicken” Worked as an usher at the Astor for a couple of years in the early 60’s. Spent a bit of time in the Harold’s Furniture store. I always liked the architecture of that building. I have a small (one man) company making cast resin building model kits for model railroaders in N scale, 1:160 scale. I just might try one of the Harold’s building

  2. Larry Miller says:

    Fantastic photos. Does the Berks County Historical Society have copies?

  3. MGA says:

    Larry, the Historical Society does not have copies of our photographs, but that is an excellent suggestion! Thank you for your comment!

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