West Wyomissing House Relocation

In the early 1970s (’70/’71) , houses were relocated  in West Wyomissing to make way to the future Route 222 to be built.  My mother was a kid living on Girard Avenue at the time, and remembers the houses from Reading Avenue and Cleveland being moved to both sides of the most eastern section of Reading Boulevard. She fondly remembers playing at “Dead Mans Cliff” and in the woods south of West Wyomissing, until one day she came home from school and it was all bulldozed by the State. Construction on the highway dragged on nearly three decades due to lack of funds. According to PAhighways.com,

After numerous delays in the 1970s and 1980s, Governor Tom Ridge and the General Assembly secured new funding in 1997, which enabled construction of the link between the Lancaster County line and US 422 to continue through final design engineering and construction.

In 1998, construction began on the missing segment from the Berks County line to US 422/Business US 422 interchange west of Reading. The construction was divided into three sections:

Southern: Lancaster County line to Old Lancaster Pike
Central: Old Lancaster Pike to PA 724
Northern: PA 724 to US 422
The Northern Section was the first to see construction with demolition of structures beginning on October 28, 1998 and work on the actual expressway beginning on December 4, 1998. Final paving of the travel lanes began on August 16, 2000 and finished a month later.

West Wyomissing House Relocation 1974

Taken from my Family AlbumWest Wyomissing House Relocation 1974 West Wyomissing House Relocation 1974 West Wyomissing House Relocation 1974

Pictures Courtesy of Gerry Kline

Huge thanks to Lori Ruppert for sending these last two in

Below is an aerial of where the houses were taken from and where they were placed and have resided since. Reading Avenue and Cleveland Avenue used to extend beyond their current end points. Disclaimer This is an estimation  of distance and location based on what I have been told. Might not be 100% accurate.

 

Miss Shillington – 1958

Came across this image of Miss Shillington and Miss Greater Reading standing next to an antique car. The image is from 1958, and taken in the parking lot of the Shillington Shopping Center. It appears to be some sort of antique car show going on in the parking lot. If you have any more information on this picture, please share in the comments.

George Field

George Field is located at 1801 North 5t Street. I cannot find an exact date for when this stadium was built, but the front gates say, “Class of 1914”. One can assume it was around then. For football games It was replaced by the newer stadium right behind the school for  in 1938. Though it is still used for baseball games, from little league to Reading High Games. Anyone have more information on the history of George Field?

George Field 1940s
In the 1940s

 

2017

A 1938 article about it being replaced by a newer field behind the the High School:

Fox North Theatre

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.

Fox North Theatre
Grand Opening article in the August 21st, 1964 Reading Eagle

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

Fox North Theatre
Fox North Theatre pictured in 1982

The theatre closed in 1988, and the building is currently housed by a Pep Boys.

On this Day – August 24th, 1970

Executives of C.K. Whitner Co. hold the doors open for early-bird shoppers as Whitner’s new store in the Berkshire Mall formally opened today. The men are, left to right, James B. Mercer, vice president, F. Ward Coburn, treasurer, and Calvin K. Whitner, secretary.

 

(Left) The progress of contruction of a relocated and wider Lancaster pike between the City of Lancaster and a point south of Shillington is shown in these aerial photographs. Work now is being done on that portion of the project in Lancaster County. Contracts will be let by the state later on that portion north from the Berks County line at Adamstown to Mohn’s Hill.

(Right) At least four bridges can be seen in the above photograph of that portion of the Lancaster pike which is being relocated in Lancaster County. The bridges carry area access roads over the proposed controlled-access, high-speed roadway project.

 

(Left) Heavy construction equipment was used to move the earth and grade it for the embankment shown in the foreground which will carry a portion of the relocated Lancaster pike from the City of Lancaster north into Berks County. The existing U.S. 222 can be seen to the left of the construction mark.

(Middle) This go-around was construction to carry temporarily traffic on the Lancaster pike around where a bridge is being buil to carry the relocated U.S. 222 across the road near Ephrata. The view is looking north toward the borough.

(Right) The bed of the relocated Lancaster pike is shown here as it crossed the existing U.S. 222 in the vicinity of the Reading interchange of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which can be seen in the background at left.

(Left) This view shows the northern terminus of the relocated Lancaster pike near the PA Turnpike’s Reading interchange, which can be seen in the extreme background. The present U.S. 222 is located about mid-way between the turnpike and the bridge seen in the middle background.

(Middle) The above photograph shows one of the several huge landfills that were graded to accommodate construction of twin bridges along the line of construction of the relocated Lancaster pike in Lancaster County. The present pike can be still [seen] above the construction track.

(Right) This is another view of a twin bridge being constructed along the line of the relocated Lancaster pike. The view looking south from a point near the Pennsylvania tTurnpike shows the path of the relocated pike toward the city of Lancaster. – Aerial Photographs by Edward G. Schneider