Another chapter of FOOTPRINTS ON THE MOUNTAIN by Corrie Crupi, relates how the William Penn Memorial Tower came in to being. The book is an interesting one, principally about the Pagoda and surrounding points of interest in the Reading, PA area.
On Skyline Drive, a short drive from the Pagoda on Mount Penn, sits the “Tower,” built in 1939 for fire observation. Designed and constructed by Grover Cleveland Freeman it became part of the WPA or Public Works Project, after the Great Depression. It was an attempt to get America working again and the stone used in its construction was from the nearby quarry at the Pagoda site. In fact, the stone walls lining the Skyline Drive were made of that same quarry stone.
The tower stood some 120 feet tall and it was said that on a clear day reflection could be seen from buildings in Philadelphia. A colorful Moravian tile that is patterned after the William Penn family coat of arms, graces the front of the building.
Because of crumbling stairways and other abuses of time, the tower was restored in 1999. Visiting, and the opportunity to see the amazing scenery,are on pre-selected weekends. It is well worth the effort to make the climb to the top to see the panoramic view from all sides.
We can cherish our history and learn from it.