Gazebo Dedicated in Honor of Schlossers

Gazebo Dedicated in Honor of Schlossers

Schlosser Gazebo Plaque

Many alumni and friends of Penn State Berks are familiar with the Janssen family and their role in the history and formation of our campus. The names Franz and Frances Schlosser are not as recognizable, but are now much more visible with the dedication on July 16 of the 'Schlosser Gazebo' located behind the Janssen House.

The Schlossers lived in the Janssen House - located along the Tulpehocken Creek - for 34 years and were the caretakers of the home for the Janssen family - more specifically, for Helen Wetzel, one of the daughters of Henry and Wilhelmina Janssen.

Along with Ferdinand Thun, Henry Janssen built the huge textile industries that were a prominent fixture in the Reading area in the first half of the twentieth century. The training institution for those industries was the Wyomissing Polytechnic Institute, which was the predecessor to Penn State Berks.

The Janssen House, along with a barn converted for social use and 25 acres of land, were donated to the campus by Helen Wetzel a few years before her passing in 1980. The barn is now the Janssen Conference Center, and the house, now called the Janssen Office Building, is now home to the offices of the Chancellor, Development, Alumni Relations, and University Relations.

Franz and Frances Schlosser lived in the Janssen's 'country' home from 1936 to 1970. After Franz passed away in 1970, Frances continue to care for Mrs. Wetzel at her home in Wyomissing. The gazebo, a fixture at the Janssen House for many years, was selected as a fitting place to honor the Schlossers and their relationship to the campus. It is commemorated with a plaque with the following inscription: 

Named in honor of Franz and Frances Schlosser,
the live-in caretakers of the Janssen House
who were lovingly dedicated to this property
from 1936 to 1970.

The plaque was unveiled during a brief dedication program by Chancellor R. Keith Hillkirk and Karen Klein '82, a Penn State Berks alumna and granddaughter of Franz and Frances Schlosser. The celebration was attended by close to 50 individuals, including many descendants of the Schlossers, and several Janssen family members.