Lost and Found features brief profiles of historic landmarks and structures, one lost and one saved.


The manufacture of bricks in Reading and surrounding Berks County dates to at least 1790, and several historians contend that the industry in the area predates the American Revolution. The region’s dense clay soil encouraged a proliferation of companies, which by the mid-1840s, numbered seventeen and produced nearly ten million bricks each year. By the close of the nineteenth century, ninety percent of Reading’s houses were built of locally made brick. Established about 1860, the Wernersville Brick Company, located southwest of Reading, manufactured primarily red brick. The company ceased operations by 1890, and no trace – except for several rare images – of the once-sprawling brickyard exists today.



Historic Mechanics Hall in Doylestown, Bucks County, was built in 1910 for the Doylestown Council Number 166 of the Order of United American Mechanics. According to original plans for the handsome three-story brick building, archived by the Bucks County Historical Society, it was designed by prominent Doylestown architect A. Oscar Martin. The building’s second floor housed the fraternal organization’s spacious lodge room and the first floor was occupied, in 1921, by the William Fretz and Company Clothing Company. Despite a succession of owners and a number of uses, Mechanics Hall remains virtually intact. Recognized as one of the finest historic buildings in the community’s cultural district, it is currently being restored.