Until 1964 the most familiar structure in West Reading was the West Reading Hotel on the north side of the Penn Ave. between 5th and 6th.
The three-story structure had been a meeting place for businessmen, farmers, traders and the scene of social gatherings and fox hunts.
The West Reading structure was first operated by John Knorr. He constructed a two-story building in 1819 on what had been part of 300 acres originally owned by John and William Penn. Knorr purchased 2 1/2 acres to construct a “two-story tavern.”
The tavern was sold to Adam Krick about 1850 following Knorr’s death and the name changed to “Krick’s Hotel.” From the Krick ownership it passed into the hands of George Smith in 1867 and then in 1894 to Daniel A. Mosser. Mosser added a third story and since his time it was known as the West Reading Hotel.
Ownership later passed to Frank P. Lauer who leased to several tenants, in 1927 it was obtained by the Delta Realty Co. and modernized. On August 10, 1940 Grant J. Kutz took over as owner.
On December 4, 1963 the West Reading Shopping Center, Inc., a development firm, was issued a building permit to construct a colonial-style complex at the northeast corner of 6th and Penn avenues in West Reading. The complex included a rathskellar-restaurant, a state retail liquor facility, a self-service laundry and a rug firm.
Its completion spelled the end by demolition of the historic West Reading Hotel.
On July 11, 1964 the oldest building in West Reading – the West Reading Hotel – closed its doors ending its 145-year history at 527 Penn Ave. in the borough. It was probably the oldest building in the borough at the time of its razing.
Upon completion of the shopping center, Grant Kutz moved his business to the rathskellar-restaurant. The restaurant is now home to Chef Alan’s American Bistro.