Mount Penn was known as “Dengler’s” from 1841 to 1902, having been named after George Dengler, Esq., the first prominent citizen of that vicinity; who, in 1840, purchased fifty-six acres of land and a tavern which stood at the intersection of the Philadelphia and Friedensburg Pikes (now 23rd and Perkiomen Avenue) from Mr. Keehn, who had owned it for many years.
Below: Map of 1876,
The tavern was built in the late 1700s and served as a popular stop for the drivers of the wagons and stage coaches bound for Philadelphia. It was known as “White Bear” in those days. George Dengler’s purchase of the land and tavern in 1840 was received warmly and in a short time George became the Justice of the Peace in Alsace Township in 1855. His popularity was so great the area became known as “Dengler’s” by those living in the vicinity. He held this position until his death in 1865.
The properties went to his son George Dengler, Jr. The Denglers’ acquisition of land was to cease in 1877 when it was divided into many small lots and put up for sale. George’s son Charles became the owner and operated the hotel until December 15, 1900 when he sold it to Walter K. Greisemer. Charles during this period also operated a hotel in the Glen on the southeast side of Neversink Mountain.
George Dengler had a home in the late 1800s which still stands at 2502-2504 Perkiomen Avenue. Another Dengler home stood at 2458 – 2460 Perkiomen Avenue and was torn down in 1980 and a Wendy’s was erected on the spot. This was the residence of the George Dengler who owned the tavern at 22nd and Perkiomen on the northeast corner and who also had a Cut Rate Drug Store in Reading. He was married to Katherine, whose brother Clarence Hartman had won a bible in a contest in 1902 to name the proposed Borough. Their daughter Mary lived in the house until 1980. Their son George, who was the last direct descendent, died in Wyomissing in 1990.
Mount Penn was established as a borough on Nov. 7, 1902.
Below: Dengler Home, 2502-2504 Perkiomen Avenue, circa 1880. George Dengler, wife Catherine, daughter Katie and son Aaron. The building (still standing) is used as a doctor’s office.
In 1909, the borough included 140 dwellings; about 400 inhabitants; two churches (Lutheran and Reformed), a two-story brick school building, two carriage factories, an organ factory, paper-sack factory, coal yard, two hotels, four stores, and a restaurant.