Campus History Walking Tour

Founded in 1848 as the Allentown Seminary, Muhlenberg College was reconstituted in 1867 as an institution of higher education whose purpose was to educate young men from the Lutheran community. Prior to 1905, the College and the affiliated Allentown Preparatory School were collocated at historic Trout Hall, at 4th and Walnut Streets. In January 1905, the College took up residence at its current Chew Street location, in four buildings that were to provide the foundation for "A Greater Muhlenberg."

The current campus originated with the purchase of fifty-one acres of farmland, previously belonging to Ephraim Butz, in 1902. Today, it spans eighty-two acres and comprises more than thirty academic, administrative, and residential buildings. Take a tour through the history of the campus and explore the buildings, landmarks, and most importantly, the people who have shaped Muhlenberg College.

This tour begins in the fall of 2018 with fifteen of the oldest buildings on campus. Check back regularly for additional locations, updates images and descriptions, and future tours.

Ettinger Building (1904)

Known for many years as the Administration Building, the Ettinger Building was the heart of the new Muhlenberg College Chew Street campus. Dedicated on June 23, 1904, the building served as the sole location for administrative offices, classrooms, a…

East Hall (1904)

While the Ettinger Building was the heart of College activities at the new campus in the early days of the twentieth century, East Hall (then known as “Berks Hall”) was its home. The cornerstone of Berks Hall was laid on October 1, 1903. The…

Services Buildings Complex (1904)

At the dawn of the twentieth century, the sciences were becoming an increasingly important part of the liberal arts curriculum, and the construction of the new Muhlenberg College campus at Chew Street sought to accommodate that need. In planning for…

John Peter Gabriel House (1905)

The John Peter Gabriel House was constructed as part of the original four-building campus at Chew Street in the early twentieth century. Originally the President’s residence, the two-and-a-half story brick home was completed in 1905, shortly after…

John and Margaret Walson Communication Hall (1912)

Prior to the construction of what is now Walson Hall, students at Muhlenberg in the first decade of the twentieth century obtained their meals at nearby hotels and boarding houses, as the College had no accommodations for serving food. The driving…

Brown Hall (1915)

In 1915, Muhlenberg College was joined at its Chew Street campus by the Allentown Preparatory School. Long affiliated with the College and originally known as the “Academic Department,” APS had remained at the Fourth and Walnut Streets location when…

Bernheim House (1917-1997)

One of the earliest buildings on campus is no longer standing, but played a significant role in College life throughout the twentieth century, and is thus represented on this tour. Situated approximately where Trexler Pavilion is today, Bernheim…

Peter S. Trumbower Science Building (1926)

By the 1920s, Muhlenberg’s campus was bursting at the seams. The buildings comprised the Administration Building (Ettinger), Berks Hall dormitory (East), the President’s residence (Gabriel House), the science laboratory (Services Complex), the Dining…

John A. W. Haas College Center (1929)

Muhlenberg College’s library, housed until 1929 in the Administration Building (Ettinger), had its origins in three book collections: those of the Euterpian and Sophronian Literary Societies, and the College Collection, which had accumulated through…

Gideon F. Egner Memorial Chapel (1931)

The Gideon F. Egner Memorial Chapel is recognized as one of the finest examples of modern Gothic architecture on an American campus. Designed by Frank Rushmore Watson, the Chapel was the crowning achievement of President John A.W. Haas’s…

Memorial Hall (1953)

On June 6, 1953, the cornerstone was laid for Muhlenberg’s long-awaited gymnasium. Conceived as one of the three essential buildings for “A Greater Muhlenberg” in the early 1920s (along with a sciences building and a library), this part of the plan…

Martin Luther Hall (1957)

When coeducation was approved prior to 1957, it was decided to renovate West Hall (now Brown) as a dormitory for female students. Therefore, it became necessary to find a new location for male freshman, who had resided in West Hall since 1939. A new…

Walz Hall (1960)

Walz Hall was the first expansion dorm built in the years immediately following the admission of women. In October 1958, after the first full year of coeducation, the Board of Trustees voted to approve additional dormitory space for approximately 60…

J. Conrad and Hazel J. Seegers Union (1963)

Prior to the construction of Seegers Union, Muhlenberg’s dining facilities were confined to what is now Walson Hall, built in 1912 and last expanded in 1943. The College needed a student union, a place of recreation, dining, and community. Dr. J.…

Prosser Hall (1965)

The rapid increase in enrollment at Muhlenberg during the early years of the 1960s was in large part due to the admission of women, beginning in 1957. The first Prosser Hall (now Walz) was added within three years, and the next, the current Prosser…
Thanks to the Muhlenberg College Alumni Trust Fund for supporting this project.

Thanks to Melissa Reph '20 for her research assistance.