Family and Store History

Family History

     On August 28, 1733 the first Longenecker family arrived in Philadelphia aboard the ship Hope of London, which departed from Rotterdam, Netherlands May 6, 1733. The father, Ulrich Loninnacre/Langenegger  was 69, and was a book-binder-printer in Zurich, Switzerland at the time. He and his wife, and two of his sons were proceeded by three other sons who arrived in 1719, 1727 and 1729. In 1736, Ulrich’s family settled along a tract of 229 acres on the west bank of the Schuylkill River in Chester County, PA (now N. Coventry Township near Pottstown). He sold this land in 1746 and moved with his wife to Lancaster County to live with his son Ulrich, Jr. Ulrich Sr. was born on a farm in Langnau, Bern, Switzerland on October 7, 1664. Langnau is in the Emmental Valley near Luzerne and Zurich, and close to the Bernese Alps and the Jura mountains. The family was of Swiss-German background and of the Mennonite faith. 1




Countyside of Langnau





View over Zurich and Lake Zurich





Countyside of Langnau


Store History

     Benjamin S. Longenecker (7th generation) was  born January 29, 1899 in Elizabethtown, Lancaster County, PA. (near Bachmanville, PA.) The family moved to Palmyra in 1902. In 1904 his father Joseph died. Ben worked on his Aunt and Uncle’s farm. In his early teens he left the farm to work for the Kreider Shoe Factory in Palmyra, PA. He later worked as an assistant window trimmer for the Bon Ton Department Store in Lebanon, PA. He was employed by several sales companies before he married Gladys Himmelburger in 1922. They lived in Philadelphia and Pottstown where he was employed as a window trimmer in a haberdashery at 42nd and Market Street, Philadelphia and the Singer Department Store in Pottstown. Prior to opening his own “Clothes for the Man Who Works” in Reading, PA, he was employed by Nogar Clothing Manufacturing Company based in Reading, PA.  1
    During the busy store years Benjamin was active as Chairman of PA State Committee of Evangelism Fellowship, Chairman of Berks Committee of Child Evangelism Fellowship and from 1948 to 1953 he was President of the PA State Gideons Association. He also served on the Board of Trustees of Bob Jones University, Greenville, SC for twenty years. 1
     Longenecker’s Clothing Stores were a footwear and apparel retail company based in Reading, Pennsylvania that was founded by Benjamin S. (Ben, B.S.) Longenecker in 1927. Prior to this he had sold his merchandise out of his vehicle and at the old Reading Fairgrounds market. Within 3 years of the companies inception, there were five Longenecker’s Clothing Stores selling footwear and apparel “For The Man Who Works”. Longenecker’s continued its tradition through The Great Depression, during which three stores were liquidated and two stores remained open in Reading, Pennsylvania.
     During the late 1960’s and early 1970’s the stores added brands of casual/active footwear and apparel while continuing its tradition of footwear and apparel “Clothes For The Man Who Works”. In 1991 the last store trading under the Longenecker’s name was sold. In 2012, Tim Longenecker the grandson of the founder and the son of Robert, started branding the Longenecker’s Clothing Store name as an online retail store at . The online store draws inspiration from past brands promoted within the company's 85 year long history since its inception.

1 -"The Longenecker Family", compiled by Janis (Longenecker) Gould, Dec. 19, 1980

  • In 1927, founder Benjamin S. Longenecker open his first store at 227 Penn St. Reading, PA and shortly after, he opened a second store at 1019 North 9th St., also in Reading.
  • In 1928, Ben opened two stores in Allentown, PA. One store at 529 Hamilton St. and the other near the train station.
  • In 1929, Ben opened a store in Elizabethtown, PA.
  • In 1930, both Allentown stores were liquidated, caused by The Depression.
  • In 1931, the Elizabethtown store was sold, caused by The Depression.
  • In 1957, son Robert P. (Bob) purchased the 9th St. store and James A. (Jim) purchased the Penn St. store.
  • In 1961, the founder Ben retired.
  • In 1968, Bob relocated his store to the Fifth St. Highway at the Muhlenberg Shopping Plaza.
  • In 1971, Jim remodeled the Penn St. Store.
  • In 1974, the founder Ben passed away
  • In 1980, Jim expanded by opening a new store in Greenville, SC. Jim’s son Don managed the operations.
  • In 1982, Jim closed the Penn St. store in Reading.
  • In 1985, Bob expanded the footwear line and discontinued the clothing line at Fifth St. store.
  • In 1988, Bob retired and sold the Fifth St. store to his son Tim, who remodeled the store to the Longenecker’s - Red Wing Shoe Store.
  • In the mid 1980’s & 1990’s Jim and Don’s company grew to five stores called The Woods.
  • In 1991, the Fifth St. store was sold to the Red Wing Shoe Company.
  • In 1994, The Woods stores were sold.
  • In 2003, Jim passed away.
  • In 2012, Tim, grandson of the founder and Bob's son, starts a Longenecker’s Clothing Store as an online retail store at
  • In 2015, Bob passed away.



    Robert P., b. 10/24/1922 – d. 3/14/2015
    Son, Timothy P.,  b. 2/16/1957 - living


    Benjamin S. Longenecker
    b. 1/29/1899
    d. 7/15/1974

    < Sons and grandsons of Benjamin who were owners of a Longenecker's store >




    James A., b. 8/20/1927 – d. 12/30/2003
    Son, Donald L., b. 8/5/1952 – living

                 Back to Store History



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