Through the (Alternative) Red Doors: Unbuilt Muhlenberg

Every once in a while, we in the archives come across evidence of Muhlenberg buildings that were planned but never came to be....or sketches that show very different ideas of what campus buildings could have looked like.

This tour is designed to share some of those alternative views, which would otherwise remain hidden in the archives. We hope to add more as we discover them!

"A Greater Muhlenberg" (1916)

In 1915, the Board of Trustees commissioned architect Dr. William P. Laird, Dean of the School of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania, to design a pathway forward toward expansion; a plan that would encompass the spirit of "A Greater…

Muhlenberg College Library (1923)

Dr. Laird's plan for A Greater Muhlenberg called for an imposing library. By 1923, funds had been raised, and architects Ruhe & Lange were commissioned to design the building. These sketches represent the original, wider concept, and then the…

Proposed Gymnasium (1923)

It took almost forty years from the time the Dr. Laird drafted the "Greater Muhlenberg" plan in 1915 for the College to finally have an athletic building. By the time Muhlenberg finally built a field house in 1953 (Memorial Hall), needs and design…

War Memorial Tower and Chapel Development (1944)

The Gideon F. Egner Memorial Chapel (constructed from 1929-1931) was designed by Frank R. Watson. In 1944, a junior partner in the firm of Watson, Edkins, and Thompson, William Heyl Thompson, was called upon by President Tyson to design an expansion…

Dormitory for Women (circa 1950)

We can find very little about the background of this sketch, save that it was created by frequent College architects Heyl, Bond, Miller. Discussions around introducing coeducation at Muhlenberg were recurrent through the twentieth century until it…

Design for new PKT House (1954)

In the fall of 1954, Phi Kappa Tau's plans for a new $100,000 residence, which could house double the number of brothers as their Liberty Street residence, was approved by the Board of Trustees. Designed by architects Wolf and Hahn, the plan is quite…
Thanks to the Muhlenberg College Alumni Trust Fund for supporting this project.