The triangular-shaped building at the intersection of 8th and 9th streets was once known as the Flatiron Building, although its original name was the Hotel Junction, with the address 1012 N. 9th St.

Reading has a few of these triangular structures, but none with a point as sharp as this.

Below: Hotel Junction.

Hotel Junction

Daniel Zwoyer, a local councilman, built the Hotel Junction in the 1860s. For many years, he ran the bar and rented out 14 rooms on the two top floors to boarders and lodgers. Fred Fisher, one of the city’s top contractors at the time, built the triangular three-story brick house. It runs 56 feet between 8th and 9th streets and is only seven feet wide at the intersection. Its widest point, nearer Spring Street, is 40 feet.

The bar’s entrance was at the seven-foot intersection, which was only large enough for a barroom door. There was a “ladies’ entrance” on 9th Street and a door farther south for the Zwoyer family, who lived on the first floor. Upper-floor rooms were accessible by another entrance on 8th Street.

For over a half-century, the Hotel Junction was one of the city’s most popular destinations. Workingmen from the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad shops stopped there for refreshments on their way home before facing the difficult climb up Spring or Marion streets to their residences on 10th, 11th, and 12th streets. Fred Fisher later worked at the stores and lived at 1122 North 9th Street.

Many political meetings took place at the Hotel Junction. All candidates were welcome, and there was no fee to hire the rooms for their presentations. However, the candidates were supposed to “set ’em up” for their audiences. The Hampden and Marion Fire Companies had their organizational meetings at the Hotel Junction. There were numerous parties and dances over the years.

Horses could drink from a water trough along the 9th street curb. Farmers from all over the county would stop here to water their horses on their way to or from the markets at 10th and Windsor or 9th and Buttonwood. Meanwhile, they could grab some drinks for themselves.

After Zwoyer died, his wife remained at the house. She hired a bartender but ran the rooming house alone. Phillip Bissinger’s Reading Brewery owned the real estate at the time.

Later proprietors of the Hotel Junction, under lease from the brewery, were William Becker, K. Schitler, James Katzenmoyer, Edward Orth, and John Ganter.

Then, in October 1919, prohibition closed the saloons. Michael and Cornelius Maloney operated the historic Hotel Junction during the time. They lived in the top stories. It did not take long to find a new tenant. The Pennsylvania Trust Company purchased the site and established a branch bank. The bank occupied the Flatiron Building until 1933, when the Great Depression forced the closure of banks.

Pennsylvania Trust Company

Several establishments have occupied the building and corner over the years. Some of them are:

Helen Heck owned and operated Flowers by Helen Heck at 1004 North 9th Street from the 1950s until her retirement in 1983. Flowers by Helen Heck remained under separate ownership until the 1990s.

Little is known about the Triangle Outlet Center. The Outlet Center does not appear on any maps of outlets located in the city and surrounding area when Reading was known as the Outlet Capital of the World.

Flowers by Helen Heck

Triangle factory Outlet

Olive and Harry Parenti owned and operated Ollie’s Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge on the corner of 9th and Spring Streets from 1963 until Harry’s retirement in 1989. Ollie’s Cocktail Lounge was well-known for its ambiance and welcoming environment. In case you hadn’t guessed, the cocktail lounge was named after Olive Parenti.

Ollies' Cocktail Lounge

The Idaho Spud Bar took over the restaurant for a few years until the 1990s. It is now occupied by Island Beverage Inc.

Idaho Spud Bar

Arlene and Betty Gift owned and operated the Gift Sisters School of Dance at 1012-1014 North 9th Street from the late 1950s until 1977, when they moved to 1015 Penn Street. Prior to starting their school, the Gift sisters traveled the United States and Canada as professional dancers. The school taught tap, ballet, acrobatic, and jazz dance, as well as baton twirling.

Gift Sisters School of Dance


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