Verus T. Ritter was born in Muncy, PA, the son of William L. and Amelia (Spangler) Ritter. He received his early education in Bloomsburg, PA, and his early architectural training in his brother's office. He launched an independent practice in Williamsport, PA, in 1908 but moved to Philadelphia in 1917. By 1920 Ritter had established a partnership with Howell L. Shay under the name Ritter & Shay, a firm which designed commercial, office and school buildings in and around Philadelphia. Chief among their wards are the U.S. Customs House at 2nd and Chestnut streets and the Francis Drake Hotel, both in Philadelphia. In 1925 the Philadelphia Chapter of the AIA awarded the gold medal for theeir design of the Packard Building at 111 South 15th Street.
Ritter & Shay dissolved around 1936, and Ritter continued in independent practice; but during his last years he was chiefly known for his activities as president of the Delaware Tunnel Corporation, an organization which assertively lobbied for the construction of a tunnel beneath the Delaware River connecting South Philadelphia with New Jersey. This scheme occasioned considerable debate around 1940, but ultimately was rendered moot by the construction of the Delaware River Bridge.
Sandra L. Tatman.
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