Swinging Bridge to Reading’s Outer Station

The Swinging Bridge - Reading Outer Station

Built in 1874 by the same firm that designed the Brooklyn Bridge, Reading’s rail bridge was heavily used by pedestrians to get over the train yard to Reading’s Outer Station. According to this Reading Eagle article,

The Outer Station, which stood off North Sixth Street, handled passenger and freight service on Reading Company lines.

and yes, the bridge did swing…

“You and your friends could actually make it swing if you had the right rhythm,” he explained. “It would swing enough to make mom nervous.”

The Outer Station closed in 1969 and fell victim to arson nearly 10 years later. Still, the swinging bridge survived until 1983 when Conrail, the successor to the Reading Company, tore it down.

It turns out that when word got around that Conrail was going to tear down the bridge, a group of local engineers approached the company about taking the span, said Joel Caves, an engineer with Spotts, Stevens & McCoy in Wyomissing.

Not all of the bridge could be salvaged, but the group moved both towers to the Berks County Heritage Center in Bern Township.

The metal stood there until the early 1990s, when members of the United Labor Council were looking for a project to honor union workers, Caves said.

The Worker’s Memorial was completed in 1991, and the one tower has stood at Heritage Park ever since.

The Swinging Bridge - Reading Outer Station

The Orange Car – Produce Stand

The Orange Car was a fresh fruit and produce business along the waterfront. It was located at 30 N Front Street, at the intersection of Front and Washington. It was right down from Stichter Hardware and Schindlebeck’s Coal Yard. All kinds of fresh fruit and produce were brought here from Florida by rail. As you can see the tracks went right past the Orange Car, and goods were unloaded right from the freight car. Did you ever grab some fresh produce from the Orange Car?

The tracks in the foreground are the Reading’s Schuylkill and Lehigh Branch, and the Pennsy’s Schuylkill Division, both continuing northbound along the river to pass by the Dana Parish Auto Frame Plant.

The Orange Car - Reading PA

 

The Orange Car was closed sometime in the late 80s or early 90s, when RACC expanded and tore it down to build a parking lot next to the then new Yocum Library.
Images from Readingmodeler.com

 

The Orange Car - Reading PA