Pictured is the Quick Clean Laundromat on 747 Carsonia Ave in Mount Penn in the 1960s. It is still currently a laundromat and goes by “Jakes Coin Laundry“. Jake’s is a chain of laundromat’s all over Berks and Lehigh Counties since 1995.
The Dutch Colony Motor Inn started operations in 1964 by Erna and R. Harding “Breity” Breithaupt. Breity Breithaupt was an aviation pioneer and owned Reading Aviation Service at Reading Regional Airport. A few years after opening they added the Antique Airplane Restaurant, named fittingly due to a 1927 Monocoupe, last flown in the 1966 Reading Air Show, hanging from it’s ceiling inside the restaurant.
The Dutch Colony Motor Inn was closed and demolished in 2007, to make way for the Exeter Commons shopping center along Perkiomen Avenue. Now, yet another strip mall stands in it’s place.
What happened to the plane, you ask?
Berks County, PA – The antique airplane that “flew” over diners’ heads for 40 years finally made a landing Tuesday at the Dutch Colony Inn & Suites.
The 1927 Monocoupe had been suspended from the ceiling of the hotel restaurant since 1967 after it was bought and restored by former Dutch Colony owner R.H. “Breity” Breithaupt.
The Exeter Township business closed Monday, and the property is expected to be cleared for a shopping center.
The plane, the namesake of the Antique Airplane Restaurant, was donated to the Golden Age Air Museum in Bethel.
Museum President Paul Dougherty Jr. said volunteers usually pick up old planes in pieces from hangars and garages. This was the first time they extracted one from a restaurant.
Volunteers started removing the plane Tuesday by disassembling the propeller and tail. They lowered the 753-pound plane to the floor using two jacks. Once the plane was no longer airborne, they removed a wing so the aircraft would fit through doorways.
“It was real interesting getting it out,” Dougherty said. “We didn’t have to put butter on the sides of the doors, but it was close.”
Dutch Colony co-owners Kenneth M. and Jamie B. Wagner were anxious about the plane’s departure, but they were pleased it landed safely without a scratch.
The dining room looks vacant without the plane hanging from above, Jamie Wagner said, adding that Tuesday was the first time she had seen it grounded in 40 years.
Museum volunteers loaded the plane onto an open trailer, and another trailer was used to haul the wing.
By next spring, the plane will fly again, Dougherty said, explaining that the aircraft is in excellent condition but will need work to be ready for flight.
Opened as the Fox Theatre on 21, Aug. 1964 and was located in the Muhlenberg Shopping Center on the 5th Street Highway (Rt.222), just north of Reading. The Fox Theatre was renamed the Fox North Theatre when Fox opened the Fox East Theatre on 3 May, 1971. The Fox North Theatre was equipped for 70mm film. It had one screen and boasted 525 seats.
The Fox Theatre was built and operated by Fox Theatres of Reading PA. The original manager of the Fox was Paul Angstadt who later became mayor of Reading.
At that time Fox Theatres of Reading was a weak sister in the Reading market. The Reading market was considered by the distributors at that time to be part of the Philadelphia territory and thus Fox was competing for product with the Colonial (Stanley Warner), the Embassy (Fabian), the Astor (William Goldman) and later the Eric (Sameric). All of these major chains had a large presence in Philadelphia and product was often split and pictures were often ‘blocked booked’ based upon a chain’s control of what was happening in Philadelphia. Since Fox Theatres of Reading did not have any venues in Philadelphia they often struggled to get pictures for the Fox in Reading despite being a premium 70MM house.
“I remember at one time the Fox was reduced to playing Deep Throat in 1972 for lack of product. Although the Fox did play Star Wars for over a year, it was then unable to secure “Empire Strikes Back” which played across the street on one side of the Eric bowling alley twin in mono sound while the 70MM Fox played some third rate piece of junk in 35mm. According to what we were told at the time Empire had been block booked into all of the Sameric theatres in the Philadelphia territory which is why the Fox could not get Empire.” – Muviebuf – Cinema Treasures
The theatre closed in 1988, and the building is currently housed by a Pep Boys.
At the far left is the well-known Jimmie Kramer’s “Peanut Bar”, at 332 Penn St, besides which is Chubby’s Italian Sandwiches, a business also once operated on Lancaster Pike, beyond Shillington. This view dates from April 1st, 1969.
pictures courtesy of the Passing Scene