As Mayor Pawlowski stood last week across Hamilton Street from the former buildings, now reduced to rubble, I thought of the barbarians sacking Rome. The Knerr Building, constructed in 1892 at 707 Hamilton Street, had withstood many changes in the last 120 years. Built for John Knerr to sell groceries and confections, it's four floors served various businesses over the century. Although this past New Year's eve, the Mayor spoke of Allentown's 250th anniversary, it's a history for which he has limited knowledge and less appreciation. As a student of Allentown's architecture and past, I was offended to hear him and the other mayors boast about the 40 temporary demolition jobs. The wrecking contractor was astute enough to remove the monumental and historic Knerr facade ornamentation, before knocking the building down. He will sell it in some other city, where history is respected and valued.
For those of you who also appreciate our history, please consider joining me this Tuesday evening, February 7th, at 7:00pm in the Library's lower level. We are attempting to preserve the irreplaceable, WPA iconic stone structures throughout the park system.
photo of mayors/The Morning Call/Donna Fisher
photo of facade from former Knerr Building: molovinsky