Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg

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For Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg (1750–1801), Speaker of House of Representatives, see Frederick Muhlenberg. For other people named Frederick Muhlenberg, see Frederick Muhlenberg (disambiguation).
Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg II
Frederick A. Muhlenberg, FAIA.jpg
Muhlenberg at his desk at Muhlenberg Greene Architects, 1974
Born (1887-09-25)September 25, 1887
Reading, Pennsylvania
Died January 19, 1980(1980-01-19) (aged 92)
Reading, Pennsylvania
Resting place
Arlington National Cemetery
Residence Wernersville, Pennsylvania
Nationality United States
Education Reading Boys' High School, 1904
Alma mater Gettysburg College
University of Pennsylvania
Occupation Architect
Term January 3, 1947 – January 3, 1949
Predecessor Daniel K. Hoch
Successor George M. Rhodes
Political party
Spouse(s) Elizabeth S. (Young) Muhlenberg
Children Caroline M. (Muhlenberg) Hufford
Frederica M. (Muhlenberg) Bunge
John D.S. Muhlenberg
Elizabeth Muhlenberg
Parent(s) Dr. William Frederick Muhlenberg and Henrietta Augusta (Muhlenberg) Muhlenberg
Relatives great-great-grandson of Frederick Augustus Conrad Muhlenberg
great great grand nephew of John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg

Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg II, FAIA (September 25, 1887 – January 19, 1980) was a leading architect, an American military and political leader who served one term as a US Congressman from Pennsylvania, and a member of the Muhlenberg political dynasty.

Early life and education[edit]

Muhlenberg was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, in Berks County on September 25, 1887. He was the son of Dr. William Frederick and Henrietta Augusta (Muhlenberg) Muhlenberg, grandson of Frederick Augustus Conrad Muhlenberg[1] and a great-great-grandson of Rev. John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg.[2]

A 1904 graduate of Reading Boys' High School, Muhlenberg attended Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, earning a Bachelor of Arts in 1908. In 1912, Muhlenberg earned his Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, followed by his Master of Science from Gettysburg College in 1915. He received an honorary Doctor of Science degree in 1942 from Muhlenberg College of Allentown.

Military service[edit]

During World War I, he was a captain in the 314th Infantry Regiment serving from September 1917 to March 1919. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Purple Heart, the Verdun Medal, the Légion d’Honneur[3] and the Croix de guerre[4] with Palm for his actions in World War I.

Muhlenberg served continuously in the regular army reserves for more than 20 years.[5] He reentered the United States Army in 1940, where he served during World War II as a Lieutenant colonel and Colonel in the United States Army Corps of Engineers, as an aide to Gen. Brehon Summervell, and as district engineer in Cincinnati.


As an architect, Muhlenberg apprenticed with Charles Barton Keen, Magaziner & Potter, and John T. Windrim in Philadelphia. On May 1, 1919, following his service during World War I, he announced a reopening of his Philadelphia office at 901 Flanders Building, Fifteenth and Walnut Streets in Philadelphia. Prior to this, Muhlenberg had been operating independently since 1917.[6] He is listed in the Philadelphia city directories as an architect in 1921, 1922 and 1923, with an office at 807 Flanders Building.[6] Throughout this time, his residential address is given as Reading, Pennsylvania, with his offices at 1713 Sansom Street, room 232.[6]

In 1920, at age 33, and following his service in the military during World War I, Muhlenberg founded the North Sixth Street firm of Frederick A. Muhlenberg, Architect, in Reading, Pennsylvania, presently known as Muhlenberg Greene Architects This second office was located in the Liberty Bank Building at Sixth and Court Streets, Reading. By the mid 1920s, the practice, now located exclusively in Reading, was thriving. The firm continued through several reorganizations to its present form as Muhlenberg Greene Architects.

During the intervening years, to accommodate the reorganizations, the Firm operated for various periods under the following names (dates, in some cases, are approximate):[7]

  • Frederick A. Muhlenberg, Architect, 1920–1930
  • Muhlenberg & Muhlenberg, 1925-1935
(Partner was Frederick Hunter Muhlenberg II, previously of Muhlenberg Brothers)
  • Muhlenberg, Yerkes, Muhlenberg, 1935–1954
(Partners were Simeon M. Yerkes,[8] and Charles Rick Muhlenberg.[9][10][11]
  • Muhlenberg and Yerkes, 1954–1959
  • Frederick A. Muhlenberg & Associates, 1959–1965
  • Muhlenberg-Greene-Veres, 1965–1972
(Partners were Lawrence A. Greene, Jr. and Elmer Veres)[11]
  • Muhlenberg Greene Architects, 1972–1980
  • Muhlenberg Greene Architects, Ltd., 1980–present


In 1946, Muhlenberg was elected to the 80th Congress from Pennsylvania. He became the seventh member of his family to be elected to the U.S. Congress, where he served the House of Representatives from January 3, 1947 until January 3, 1949; but he lost a reelection bid in 1948, defeated by Democrat George M. Rhodes.


In a personal biography he furnished to the Reading Eagle, Muhlenberg listed the accomplishments of a "life built on service in four separate careers: architecture, military, social service and political."[12]

Retiring officially from Muhlenberg Greene Architects in 1977,[11] one week after his 90th birthday, Muhlenberg continued to go to the office daily, in the firm's second-floor suite at the Wyomissing New Home Federal Savings building, until physical limitations prevented him from doing so about a year later.

"You can't actually retire," he said at the time. "There really isn't any such thing."[11][12] In a 1977 interview, he said, "I don't intend to sit on my fanny and do nothing. At 90 years old, you change and have physical limitations. The pace may slow down, but the ideas are still there."[11][13]

Muhlenberg died at 92 years of age in Reading, Pennsylvania on January 19, 1980. As a veteran, he was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

A collection of awards, military medals, paperwork and other items related to Representative Muhlenberg is held by the Historical Society of Berks County.


Frederick Muhlenberg was involved in many organizations, including those beyond professional ones. He was an active member of the T-Square Club while at University of Pennsylvania, serving as a director in 1914 and as secretary in 1915. During his years of architectural practice, he was a member of the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, having joined in 1920.[6]

He was elected to the Reading City Council from 1932-36[14] and he was a councilman for the Borough of Wernersville during the 1920s, where he lived in his later years. He became the Republican Party chairman for Berks County, Pennsylvania from 1935–40,[15] and served as chairman for numerous civic and professional organizations, including the Association of Schuylkill River Municipalities, Director of the American Red Cross Berks County Chapter (1929-), Chairman of the Red Cross Disaster Relief Commission (1935), the State Board of Examiners of Architects, President of the Social Welfare League (1922–1935),[16] Public Charities Association (1927-),[4] and the State Art Commission (1952–1963). Most notably, he served at the Berks County Planning Commission, leading as Chairman from the Commission's founding in 1954 until 1972 when he retired.[17] In addition, he was a member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board.

Muhlenberg served as commander of Gregg Post, American Legion, in 1924,[18][19] and a member of General Hunter Liggett Post, No. 38, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Reading Post, No. 10, Disabled American Veterans.[4][13]


Listed in Who's Who in America, Muhlenberg received scores of educational, civilian, military and social service awards.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Distinguished Alumni Award Citations 1962 - 2012". Gettysburg College. Retrieved 11 Jul 2013. 
  2. ^ "Great-Great-Grandson of Noted Pastor and Soldier, Graduate of College Here, Speaks at Muhlenberg Exercises in Va.". Gettysburg Times. 16 Jan 1926. 
  3. ^ "To Present Medals to Heroes". Reading Eagle. 31 Jul 1919. 
  4. ^ a b c "Muhlenberg and Nuebling Viewed as "Drafted" Candidates for Council". Reading Eagle. 18 Aug 1933. 
  5. ^ "Officer Takes Training". Reading Eagle. 29 Aug 1939. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Muhlenberg, Frederick Augustus (1887 - 1980)". Philadelphia Architects and Buildings. The Athenæum of Philadelphia. Retrieved 18 April 2013. 
  7. ^ "History". Muhlenberg Greene Architects. Retrieved 24 May 2013. 
  8. ^ "Yerkes, Simeon M. (1889 - ca. 1958)". Philadelphia Architects and Buildings. The Athenaeum of Philadelphia. Retrieved 18 April 2013. 
  9. ^ ""YOUNG READING" Takes Another Step Forward". Reading Eagle. 7 Dec 1930. 
  10. ^ "Muhlenberg, Yerkes & Muhlenberg (fl. 1930-1954)". Philadelphia Architects and Buildings. Retrieved 24 May 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c d e Thomas, Heather (30 Oct 1977). "Architect Redesigns Work". 
  12. ^ a b c "F.A. Muhlenberg Succumbs at 92". Reading Eagle (Reading, PA). 21 January 1980. 
  13. ^ a b "Ex-congressman, architect is dead". Reading Eagle. 21 January 1980. 
  14. ^ "Air Relief Criticisms at Social Council". Reading Eagle. 14 Feb 1934. 
  15. ^ "Mt. Penn Citizens to Discuss Sewer Plans". Reading Eagle. 30 Oct 1935. 
  16. ^ "Old City Hall Urged as Site for Charities". Reading Eagle. 25 Aug 1928. 
  17. ^ a b c "Muhlenberg Posts Distinguished Record". Reading Eagle. 10 Feb 1972. 
  18. ^ "Post to Meet Tuesday". Reading Eagle. 3 Dec 1923. 
  19. ^ "Active Figures in American Legion Convention Workers Here". Reading Eagle. 25 Aug 1923. 
  20. ^ "Heim Design Acclaimed". Reading Eagle. 21 Nov 1954. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Daniel K. Hoch
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 13th congressional district

Succeeded by
George M. Rhodes