Before Blue Marsh Lake

To squelch the rumors… no, there are no buildings standing underneath the waters of Blue Marsh Lake; only foundations and forgotten roadways. Many of these homes and farms were taken by eminent domain, ruining livelihoods and uprooting entire families. The whole process took almost an entire decade, with the first survey of acquisition dated January 1, 1970. Acquisition of the land began immediately and was complete by 1973.

1958 Aerial of Pleasant Valley
Blue Marsh Today

The process was stalled briefly in 1972 with Hurricane Agnes causing flooding. Construction of the dam began in 1974 and was completed July 5th, 1979. Below are some images of Pleasant Valley before the dam.

Blue Marsh - Pleasant Valley
Before and after from State Hill Road*
TOP PHOTO – Gretchen Kreitler
BOTTOM PHOTO – Nick Bowen
(A) Pleasant Valley School (B) Old Bernville Road (C) Obold Store, PO and Tavern – many years ago (D) Gruber Wagon Works
Blue Marsh Bridge - Pleasant Valley
PHOTO BY: Bill Carner – test flooding of the dam site*
Blue Marsh - Pleasant Valley
The Gruber Homestead
Blue Marsh - Pleasant Valley - Gruber Wagon Works
BUILDING ON THE LEFT – Wm. Penn Hotel, later the Kreitler Home*
Blue Marsh - Pleasant Valley - Lockmaster's House
The Lockmaster’s House, located near the original location of the Gruber Wagon Works, was one of the last homes in Pleasant Valley taken and destroyed.
Blue Marsh - Pleasant Valley - Octogon House
The unique octagon house
The Weidenhammer Mill dated back to 1741 and served as the main source for cattle feed and other supplies for local farmers
Blue Marsh - Pleasant Valley Hotel
The old Pleasant Valley Hotel, the watering hole of the region for many years.
Blue Marsh - Pleasant Valley - Pyles Store
Pyles General Store
Agnes Flooding stalls process

The sign Water Road in this picture wasn’t kidding. This is the intersection of State Hill and Water roads at the Blue Marsh Bridge, northwest of State Hill, and under the Tulpehocken Creek on Froday – Eagle Photo

Pleasant Valley was dotted with a number of bungalows, used on weekends in the summer by those looking to escape from urban life.

Sources: Historical Survey of Blue Marsh Project Area, Reading Eagle, Army Corps of Engineers, Joe Swope – Author of Pleasant Valley Lost, * Images curated by Steven Potteiger and Marilyn Fox – director of the Freyberger Gallery, 1998 – 2021- BLUE MARSH: LANDSCAPE LOST exhibit

Born and raised in Berks, I am fascinated by the style, design & culture of the mid-late 20th century. I started this website to research and build a collection of the places, things and stories I have heard about my entire life. Read more here.

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Jim Miller
Jim Miller
5 years ago

Thank you so much, my family had a bungalow at Blue Marsh, I don’t remember the name of the raod it was on, but I remember Pyles store and the iron bridge. Oh how often I wish we could go back

Michelle Wyandt
Michelle Wyandt
5 years ago
Reply to  Jim Miller

I think we had a bungalow right beside yours. It was the first one as you turned onto the road and had a big grass area and was right by a corn field. If I remember right you have a brother named Jerry and you had redhair

SUSAN LEFFLER
SUSAN LEFFLER
5 years ago

Wow, are there more photos? I have read and enjoyed the book Pleasant Valley Lost. I never knew that region was called Pleasant Valley. I knew Mt. Pleasant was out on rt. 183. I grew up in Blue Marsh, the simpler times. Please keep it coming so I can share and remember WHEN!!!!

Gary
Gary
5 years ago
Reply to  SUSAN LEFFLER

U want an old photo book. Running waters. 348 old time photos. Complete history of the city of readings water system. Pictures old lake Ontelaunee being constructed. Pictures of reading dating back to the 1800’s

Tim
Tim
5 years ago
Reply to  Gary

WhAts the name of the book

Trudi hoover pagan
5 years ago
Reply to  Gary

Where can I find this book plz

Karen (Riegel) Shollenberger
Karen (Riegel) Shollenberger
5 years ago
Reply to  SUSAN LEFFLER

It was NEVER called Pleasant Valley back then. I grew up on Water Road for my first 23 years.

Karen (Riegel) Shollenberger

Karen (Riegel) Shollenberger
Karen (Riegel) Shollenberger
5 years ago

I grew up on Water Road for my first 23 years and had to move in 1973 by eminent domain by the Army Corps of Engineers. The first picture on this site is our 27 acre farm to the right. We lived across the field from John Essig. I have never looked down that valley from State Hill since moving away. I want to remember that beautiful valley the way it was. I’m afraid if I see the way it is now, that memory will be wiped away.

Many happy memories growing up in that valley. Most don’t know the pain a lot of us endured being forced to leave our homesteads.

Glenn Riegel
Glenn Riegel
5 years ago

Hi Karen,
I think locally residents thought of it as simply “The Valley,” but it was on the map as such and the name of my great aunt’s mill was “Pleasant Valley Roller Mill.” South of there, the reference would have been Blue Marsh…both my grandmothers went to school in Blue Marsh for at least part of their lives.

Linda Finogle Zeimer
5 years ago

Hi Karen, my late sister Connie Finogle Henry dated a Barry Riegel.we lived in Blue Marsh, till 1965 right next to the iron bridge then moved to Justa Rd, near Brownsville, when the house fire ruined most of the living quarters. i was 5! always wondeered what happened to the Drexel family that lived across the street. her son pulled me from a well i fell into. saved my life! my older sister Carol also dated an Essig.

Karen Shollenberger
Karen Shollenberger
5 years ago

Yes, Barry, was my brother and I remember him dating Connie. He passed away in February after a lifetime of poor health. I miss him very much. I dated your brother, Butch, before he passed away. I also knew Larry. Lee Drexel is still around locally, I believe. I am friends with Susie Greth Schrum and we still get together. I remember the Copenhavers, I was friends with Sherry. I went “steady” with Pete Culpepper. Not sure what happened to any of them.

carl orth
carl orth
1 year ago

Linda this is Carl Orth we lived back the road from the Drexel’s. I have 2 brothers you might know Ron and Don. I go out to the lake quite often fishing and go over to look at the old places. It is so grown over now it is had to reconize anything.

Russell Shade
Russell Shade
4 years ago

My grandparents, Arthur and Lena Shade, lived just down the street from Pyles Store – as a young child I often visited there. My grandmother’s sister, Nora Snader, also lived nearby in what was a schoolhouse in the 20’s.

I attended Lower Heidelberg School – and one of my classmates was a fellow named Bruce Riegel. Ring any bells?

Bruce Stowell
Bruce Stowell
3 years ago

Karen, I have some photos of Barrie. From a sixth grade class play at Lower Heidelberg, and from the 50th Reunion of Wilson 1965. Bruce

Josh
Josh
5 years ago

Very cool . Hope to see more like this on local areas . Keep up the great work!

Ed Siekierka
Ed Siekierka
5 years ago

Thank you for bringing back good memories of the past.

Glenn Speicher
Glenn Speicher
5 years ago

I grew up in the Blue Marsh Valley and lived there until 1972. I recognize all the photos. The Octagonal house was my great grandmother’s. Thanks for the memories.
Glenn Speicher

SUSAN LEFFLER
SUSAN LEFFLER
5 years ago
Reply to  Glenn Speicher

Are you Joan and Faye’s brother? I’m Susan (Wehr) Leffler who lived right below you.

Jeff C. Schatz
Jeff C. Schatz
5 years ago
Reply to  SUSAN LEFFLER

Hello Susan. This is Jeff Schatz. I lived a few houses down from you. Your sister Candy and I were in the same class. How are you doing?

Tom Trexler
Tom Trexler
5 years ago
Reply to  Jeff C. Schatz

Hi Jeff it’s Tom Trexler.

Glenn Riegel
Glenn Riegel
5 years ago
Reply to  Glenn Speicher

Hi Glenn,
You must be related to the Reifsnyder’s, correct?

Brenda Kahn
Brenda Kahn
5 years ago

My mother grew up in the “eight cornered house” as she referred to it. While it was destroyed, the site is not under water. As a family we searched for it on what is now state game lands and my mom was able to locate where each building was according to a ground cellar she found and a small spring they had used as refrigeration. Their name was Reifsnyder.

Robin Snook Reeder
Robin Snook Reeder
5 years ago

Lived down the road from Pyles store. Loved riding my bike there to get a candy bar!

SUSAN LEFFLER
SUSAN LEFFLER
5 years ago

Missy? I’m Susan (Wehr) Leffler who also lived in Blue Marsh and enjoyed Pyles! I also worked with Bob Snook.

Tammy Miller Yoch
Tammy Miller Yoch
5 years ago

Tammy Miller Yoch, we lived in the red brick house with the blue roof across from Pyles store.

Linda Finogle Zeimer
5 years ago

Tammy, did your older sister Sherry. date my late brother Bob Finogle?

Linda Finogle Zeimer
5 years ago

Hi Robin, we lived in the big old house next to the iron bridge, unitl it burned, was wondeering what happend to the Culpeppers that used to babysit my younger brothers and I? I think they were some of the last families to move out, in 71-72 when i was in Jr high. Im one of the youngest Finogles. was 5 when we lived there.

Robert Miller
Robert Miller
1 year ago

Hi Linda. Bob Miller here. Our back yard met your back yard. I remember the night of the fire, some of you stayed at our house. My older sister was Sherry (yes, dated your brother Bobby) and my younger sister was Tammy. Many great memories of Blue Marsh. They were very simple times.

Michelle T
Michelle T
5 years ago

My cousin forwarded this article to me and I’m so grateful she did. My great grandparents owned the lockmaster’s house. My mom spent many wonderful summers there with cousins. Thank you for this amazing peek into a place I’ve only heard about.

April
April
5 years ago

Thanks for sharing the historic pictures; I’ve ordered Mr. Swope’s book. My gr-great grandfather built Lamm’s Mill, so I’m very keen for Tulpehocken history. Used to hike with a neighbor through the Valley to the Mill for rabbit feed, past the “8-cornered house” from my mine along Plum Creek. There were wild strawberry fields along the way.

Barbara Koller Krill
Barbara Koller Krill
5 years ago
Reply to  April

Is this April Lamm?

April L Burwell
April L Burwell
5 years ago

Wow! Barbara! Yep! It’s me….Where ARE you now?
I come ‘home’ several X a year – can’t take those Berks roots out…hope we can catch up soon, eh?

Sara Speicher Schell
Sara Speicher Schell
5 years ago

I live on the farm where the octagon house was located. That home was my grand parents. We lived on the second house on that property. Later my husband, Carl Speicher and I spend 4 years in my old home. We than bought a home on Blue Marsh where I lived with my children until relocated by the government, who purchased that home for the Blue Marsh Lake project. We lost all of the homes we had lived in until that time. It was a sad time for us. We can hike around the area but much of it is overgrown now and not possible to return to so many of the places we roamed around all those years ago

April
April
5 years ago

My parents & I moved away in 1969, but always came back to Berks every yr. to visit family. We experienced the tail end of 1972 “Agnes”…wasn’t the Octagon aka 8-cornered House often rented in the late 1960s? Several kids hiked out from there to our bus stop along 183 every school day.

Sara Speicher Schell
Sara Speicher Schell
5 years ago

I live on the farm where the octagon house was located. That home was my grand parents. We lived on the second house on that property. Later my husband, Carl Speicher and I spend 4 years in my old home. We than bought a home on Blue Marsh where I lived with my children until relocated by the government, who purchased that home for the Blue Marsh Lake project. We lost all of the homes we had lived in until that time. It was a sad time for us. We can hike around the area but much of it is overgrown now and not possible to return to so many of the places we roamed around all those years ago

Kerry Moleski
Kerry Moleski
5 years ago

As kids my grandmother took us to Pyles Store often. Their farm was taken for the Lake area. They were some of my favorite memories.
I remember Mr & Mrs Pyle were always nice to us.

Pat Callahan
5 years ago

When I was a boy, spent summers at Pleasant Valley Inn, owned by Hass and Annete Wagonseller. I remember the Schlappich’s, Harvey and Marie. My parents were also friends with Ray and Arlene Shalters, they had Joanie and Larry who were around my age and lived near the Obold store. Great memories for me.

Robin Sternberg
Robin Sternberg
5 years ago
Reply to  Pat Callahan

When did your parents own Pleaant Valley Inn? My parents also owned it in the 1950’s. My parent’s names were Jules and Mary Sternberg. I am Robin Sternberg…would be interested in getting more information on the history of this area and Fox Lake!

Joan
Joan
5 years ago

Grow up in Blue Marsh. Had a lot of family that lost there homes and farms. Went to Pyles store everyday after school for a soda and snack….Thanks for the Memories

Karen (Riegel) Shollenberger
Karen (Riegel) Shollenberger
5 years ago
Reply to  Joan

I am pretty sure I know you. Were you friends with Susie Greth?

Sharon Haas-Organtini
Sharon Haas-Organtini
5 years ago

Karen Riegel—-Suzie Greth– we all rode on the same school bus, and I believe my sister Bonnie, and my brother Bill were more your age. Oh so many memories of times spent in Blue Marsh. 😊😊😣😣

Karen (Riegel) Shollenberger
Karen (Riegel) Shollenberger
5 years ago

Hi Sharon! Yes, they were both a little older than me. Bonnie was my brother, Barry ‘s age (who just passed away recently) and Bill was a year ahead of me. I actually worked at the high school with Bill before retiring. Yes, many good memories.

Kathy Delong
Kathy Delong
5 years ago
Reply to  Joan

Are you Joan Strunk? I am Kathy Ernst.

Linda
Linda
5 years ago

lived in Bluemarsh, next to the steel bridge. first the barn burnt , then the house, electrical wiring gone bad,1965. burnt from 2nd floor walk in closet, into bathroom a bedroom and thru the roof. house was still standing , until, early 70’s. then it was torn down and buried on the spot. Millers, i think it was, had a bar and barbershop on the first floor, still inside when we lived there. moved to Justa Rd, they took that house for game land in ’79.

Karen (Riegel) Shollenberger
Karen (Riegel) Shollenberger
5 years ago
Reply to  Linda

Are you a Finogle? I was good friends with Butch (also knew Carol and your older sister). I actually stood (with many others) and watched your place burn. It was very sad.

Linda Finogle Zeimer
5 years ago

Hi Karen, yes, i was one of the youngest , still at a sitters house when the house burned. watched the barn burn from Drexels house across the street. cried hysterically when the sitter was taking us home, and couldnt get to the house because of all the fire trucks. think the worst when you are 5!, stayed with the Copenhavers, i think , then Susie Greth. for a few weeks. till they found the house on Justa Rd.

Linda Finogle Zeimer
Linda Finogle Zeimer
5 years ago

Hi Karen, I was wondering if you are still in touch wih Susie Greth Schrum? my sister Carol Wentzel has been trying to contact her, they were so close. can you private message me,i can give you her phone or address.(my sisters) or you can send me Susies.please. thanks

Karen Shollenberger
Karen Shollenberger
5 years ago

I do keep in touch with Susie. I tried to message you on fb, but didn’t hear back from you.

Kimberly Hill
Kimberly Hill
5 years ago

My great grandparents owned Pyle’s store! Love to see all of the comments and memories! Sharing them with my mother Sandra Steiger (now Hill)! Thank you for posting this!

Karen (Riegel) Shollenberger
Karen (Riegel) Shollenberger
5 years ago
Reply to  Kimberly Hill

I know Pat. Are you related to her?

Richard Steiger
Richard Steiger
5 years ago

The Pyles were my grandparents. We lived two miles away at Fox Lake, but lm sure half of my youth was spent there at the store! What a slice of Americana growing up in that area was! Many fond memories!

Robin Sternberg
Robin Sternberg
5 years ago

Do you have information and pictures of Fox Lake. It was a beautiful haven…loved it, and miss it so much!

Rod Riegel
5 years ago

Roddy Riegel says:
April 21 at 22 at 10:48 am

I grew up on the farm in the center of the first picture, the Riegel farm between Webb Essigs’ and John Essigs’ farms. Our farm was on Water Road. All of the pictures are intimately familiar. It seemed that I knew everyone who lived there. I guess you might say “I got around”. I left Ble Marsh in 1961, after graduation from Wilson High School, to join the United States Marine Corp.

Christy Zachar
Christy Zachar
5 years ago
Reply to  Rod Riegel

My mom Still lives at the top of Brownsville Road. She has been there for 48 years. I remember the iron bridge and she tells me about the store etc.
She has been tax collector for 46 years up there.
Our woods was bought by the Lake project many many years ago. She also graduated in 1961 from Wilson. Her name is Sandra Bohn Davis.

I love reading these posts

Christenna Stamm
Christenna Stamm
5 years ago

Where can one find the book that was mentioned and who is it by?
This was very interesting. I’m not from this area but have lived here for 42 or so years. have taken my kids out to wander the grounds, fish and cook out at Blue Marsh. Wondered about it’s history.
I have family in Conneaut, OH and have seen a octagon house there.
Thanky for posting this information.

Bill Fidler
Bill Fidler
5 years ago

There was a guy named JOE ( Weeman possibly??) (sp). that lived in the farm, that is in the pics as the homestead ?? I remember going there as a kid with my dad. Joe had old cars, and had a sort of race track made up the hillside that he would let you DRIVE the car on, to determine if you wanted it or not. He was a tall guy, well over 6′.I remember this because I once almost bought an old 4 cylinder Indian with a sidecar from him. He had the barn FULL of cool stuff, cars, bikes, etc. Anybody remember this guy, or the place as it used to be? Ya had to cross a small bridge to get onto his property. As ya left, and went up towards 422 again, there was this shed, FILLED with old license plates, nailed onto the walls.

Jeffrey Kissling
Jeffrey Kissling
5 years ago
Reply to  Bill Fidler

Bill I knew Joe Wieman pretty well. He was one of a kind. His brother Rudy and sister Hanna lived on adjacent farms. I spent allot of my childhood wondering those farms fishing and hunting. I grew up on Lam’s Mill road less than a mile from those farms. I had many friends in the Fox Lake area. I watched all of these wonderful properties, people and memories fade into Blue Marsh Lake. It was a crime

Bill FIdler
Bill FIdler
5 years ago

might you know what ever happened to Joe? I used to love going there with my dad, as they both were into old cars. I can remember my dad taking cars out and running them up & down that hillside. I also almost bought an old Indian from Joe, that had a sidecar attached to it. Instead, I bought Ladd Motors old servicer for less money back then. It was just a fun place to go, that I still remember. Thanks for the reply.

Rod Riegel
5 years ago
Reply to  Bill FIdler

Bill, I lived about 5 miles downstream (Spring Creek/Tully) from Joe’s place. I spent many days racing old cars, which Joe always supplied, around that old track.
I also bought a Cushman motor scooter and Czech motorcycle from Joe. I traded a small wagon load of my youth to Joe to get the motorcycle!

Bill Fidler
Bill Fidler
5 years ago
Reply to  Rod Riegel

Do you know where Joe went after leaving the property?

Jeffrey Kissling
Jeffrey Kissling
5 years ago
Reply to  Bill Fidler

Bill I believe he had moved over near Leesport. I had not talked with him after he moved. I know he passed away some years back. I still go for hikes down around his place. The foundations for the barn and home are all that remain

Glenva Kohl
Glenva Kohl
5 years ago

There were a lot of good and bad memories growing up in Blue Marsh, I lived there till I got Married in 1970, My Parents lived there till they were forced to move, I remember Pyles Store and my Mothers side of the Family lived there all in a row, And all us Cousins would play together .I remember shoveling to whole road open in the Winter because the snow plow couldn’t get through (thats when Familey’s would work together ). and when we couldn’t get out we would go walking up the Telly to get to Pyles store to get what we needed. The bad memories were When they made us all move out for the Dam, And split up the Family. They gave you 3 offers and if you didn’t except them they would condemn your property and just take it. And they also never cleaned out the septic tanks, they just let the water fillup. that is why I will never swim in that water.A lot of people don’t know this, and alot of the fish were sick with growths on them.

April
April
5 years ago

What a story for Earth Day! I used to swim in the Tully with the snapping turtles and guess I should have been more worried about nitrates! I just loved living there in the 60s. Thanks for all these blogs, of both good and bad times, which really help flesh out the Blue Marsh story.

Maryellen Cleaver
Maryellen Cleaver
5 years ago

My Aunt and Uncle lived on the top of the hill West of Blue March. Going up from the lake was the Sterner farm -then the Speicher farm and n up the hill was the Wingert home. On my vacations there I would go down to Speicher’s to get milk, eggs, butter and loved to visit them. I remember there was Leroy, Elwood and another son whose name I don’t remember. I believe he was the eldest. I know they drop the Wingert home into the basement. As you passed Wingert’s, there was the Ohlinger farm. My question is: does anyone know how to access that road from Rte. 183? One time I found the Wingert home by following my nose..Ha! I found that people were still living below where the Ohlinger farm was located. They must have access somehow. Perhaps someone out there knows?

Maryellen Cleaver
Maryellen Cleaver
5 years ago

THE OTHER SPEICHER SON WAS JOHN. ONE OF THE SPEICHERS SHOULD HAVE BEEN RELATED
TO THOSE MAKING COMMENTS ON THIS WEBSITE!!

Michael Snook
Michael Snook
5 years ago

It was a great place to grow up. Remember sitting on the porch of Pyles store sharing 1 or 2 sodas with Glenn and Dale Speicher, Billy and Harvey Marshall Daryl Shalters Jeff Shatz maybe a Finogle or 2 cause we only had enough money between us for 1 or 2 Sodas

Barbara Finogle
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael Snook

Good Ole days. remember the walks to Plyes Store. miss the town, and the old house in Brownsville that got torn down also.

Harvey Marshall
Harvey Marshall
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Snook

Yes and nobody died wow huh talk about the good old days

Carole Miller Sassaman Zweizig
Carole Miller Sassaman Zweizig
5 years ago

Thanks for the memories! My grandparents owned the Pleasant Valley Hotel in the 40’s. I never actually saw the hotel only know it by the stories my dad told me about. My mom still has the ironstone dishes they used there where my grandmother cooked meals!

Frank Boulanger
Frank Boulanger
5 years ago

Good Old Memories. Rod Riegel, Rick Wolf, Butch Adams, Adams Garage, State Hill Beer Garden. Mr Adams driving the school bus. The great old days where have they gone?? I sure miss the place as it was

Karen (Riegel) Shollenberger
Karen (Riegel) Shollenberger
5 years ago

Hi Frank, Rod’s sister, Karen, here. Sure is sad that we lost our homesteads. How are you doing?

Troy
Troy
5 years ago

Is there a list of names that had property bought/taken ?

Tom Trexler
Tom Trexler
5 years ago

It’s nice to see all of these names from many years ago. This is Tommy Trexler. We lived at the end of Green Valley Rd.

Steve Dinatale
Steve Dinatale
5 years ago
Reply to  Tom Trexler

I lived next to the old mill, spent lots of times on/in the Tully. Pyles store was a regular spot for a vanilla Hershey’s twincicle.

Bob Miller
Bob Miller
5 years ago

Hello to All. Such great times growing up in Blue Marsh. Like the Snook’s, (Hello to All) enjoyed many soda’s and a candy bar or two at Pyle’s Grocery Store. How about the many bike races and the bike ride around the tully. In the winter it was riding my sled on the big hill across from Finogle’s home and playing baseball with Billy Marshall and others Still remember the fire at Finogle’s home. Hey, where are the Mecks. Still remember John Essig delivering fresh eggs to our front door. Certainly great times in Blue Marsh. Bob Miller, lived in the red brick house with the blue roof across from Pyles Grocery Store with my sisters Tammy Miller and Sherry Miller. Hello to all! Bob

Glen Klinger
Glen Klinger
5 years ago

I believe Fox Lake was included within the Blue Marsh project, but have not seen any reference to it in the above posts.

Stephanie Deininger
Stephanie Deininger
5 years ago

Hi all.. It was great to read all these remarks about Blue Marsh. I was a late bloomer.. only came to the area in in 1970 but I do remember the area before the dam was open. I remember going down the tully in a raft for the last time. I remember my mom telling me about growing up back there. Her mom and dad had a bungalow back on Palisade road. And my Grandparents worked at an estate on brownsville(?) road. I can’t imagine being told you have to move or else. God Bless you all. Thank you for sharing.

Maryellen Cleaver
Maryellen Cleaver
5 years ago

Isn’t there anyone that remembers Sterners Hill or the Speicher farm?

Linda Finogle Zeimer
Linda Finogle Zeimer
5 years ago

Hi Maryellen. I remember Sterners Hill, we road a bus when i was in junior high, before the last homes were taken, from state hill road, across the flat, where most of the people lived yet, and around to Sterners Hill rd, there were three kids in school yet from their home. always smelled like the smoke house at their place. took us an hour it seemed to get home from Wilson Junior High, that is now part of the senior high. we lived off of Brownsville Road. had to drop off Essigs too, at the house that is now Dry Road Farm. and the Works, that lived on another road back there. many familys, too many to name, lost beautiful old homes . because of some one that didnt want to make the dam closer to bernville. smh

Linda Finogle Zeimer
Linda Finogle Zeimer
5 years ago

we lived at the end of Justa Road.

Maryellen Cleaver
Maryellen Cleaver
5 years ago

Hi Linda, Many a summer my vacation spot was with my Aunt & Uncle. There names were Claude and Adelaide
Wingert.
they lived at the very top of Sterners Hill. Just before there home was the Speicker farm. I would go down to Speickers to get to get milk or eggs for my Aunt . I am 86 years old but there must be grand children or Great
Grandchildren of sons John, Elwood and another son whose name I can’t recall at the moment.

Jeff C. Schatz
Jeff C. Schatz
5 years ago

The third son’s name is Leroy Speicher. Both Elwood and Leroy were honored on August 13 bt the Mt. Pleasant Fire Co. as hometown heros. Both served during World war two. Both are in their 90’s. Also recognized by the fire company was Norman Reifsnyder.

Lori Essig Fidler
Lori Essig Fidler
5 years ago

My family and I lived at the Old Dry Road Farm. My father was Barry Essig. I have many fond memories growing up there and also at my grand parents who lived all g the Tulley as it was referred to then

Linda Finogle Zeimer
Linda Finogle Zeimer
5 years ago

Hi Lori, I remember you. Its a shame they made everyone relocate. road our bikes back there before it was flooded. unbelievable. take my family to Old Dry Road Farm every Sept! Justa Rd used to look like that , back in the day, lol

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John Clark
John Clark
4 years ago

Ah, the good old days. We lived at Fox Lake but spent many summers riding bikes all over the ‘Pleasant Valley’ area and filling up with candy and Mountain Dew at Pyles Grocery store and Reeser’s gas station. We never knew it as that but Frank Gruber used to always call us the Pleasant Valley boys so who were we to argue. I cut Frank’s lawn for two summers. He had a ritual of oiling the lawn mower before every cut. Such a nice gentleman. In the winter we would warm up in his shop area right next to the wood stove. I melted many a sneaker on that stove. So much fun way back when, growing up like Huck Finn. Greetings to my old pals, whose last names are Votoras, Hood, Wagner, Kennedy, Titlow, Kreitler, Steiger, Ebert, Williams. A perfect afternoon after school was getting together for a game of jump creek or firing off some model rockets. Much more fun than texting and playing video games.

Rudy Jopp
Rudy Jopp
4 years ago

If you went from State Hill through the “town” of Blue Marsh, and just before the iron bridge took a right onto what I guess was Water Road, just a little distance down Water Road, there was a sign that read “Hidden Valley”. Anybody remember that? I lived in Berkshire Heights, but I was a fisherman and travelled around. I had a small Harley 125, and I met Joe Weimar, and remember that he was a character. He had a daughter who graduated from Wilson in 1954, one year ahead of me. I also remember taking the “Bernville Bus” from near the Berkshire Mall, out State Hill Road, up through State Hill, down through Blue Marsh, across the iron bridge, past the bungalows and Pleasant Valley Roller Mill, Gruber Wagon Works, up through Mt. Pleasant, and on towards Bernville.

ROD L RIEGEL
ROD L RIEGEL
4 years ago

I read your memories of Blue Marsh(BM) with great interest. I lived on the second farm on the south side of Water Road. The first farm was Barry Koch, the second was us (Riegel). I lived at,and roamed BM from 1949 util I joined the U S Marines in 1961. I worked for Warren Lamm (a Lower Heidelberg Twp.icon) during my high school (Wilson) years. It was hard work! Got me ready for the Marines!
I knew Joe Wieman, hung out, bought motorcycles from him, and raced on his track many times. My memory is, rumor had it, that the young woman at Joes’ was his wife, although he may have had a daughter also, but she would have been much younger than you or I.
I hunted, fished, camped, hiked and explored every inch of the area that would eventualy be covered y the water. I am so thankful that I spent my youth at Blue Marsh.

Rod Riegel

Russ Shade
Russ Shade
4 years ago
Reply to  ROD L RIEGEL

ROD, are you by any chance related to Bruce Riegel. He was a friend and classmate of mine at Lower Heidelberg Elementary back in the mid to late 50s?He’d be about 68 or 69 today.

ROD L RIEGEL
ROD L RIEGEL
4 years ago

No, I am 75. I believe that Bruce was Mark Riegel’s brother. They lived on Riegel Road which is not in Blue Marsh.

Karen Shollenberger
Karen Shollenberger
3 years ago

That’s awesome. Unfortunately, Barry passed away two years ago.

Franklin Starkey
Franklin Starkey
1 year ago

Hi Karen
My name is Frank Starkey. So sorry to hear about Barry. He was my bestie at Wilson. We were on the stage crew together. We loved to go to Schell’s in West Lawn for Bar B Que’s instead of hamburger joints. Do you remember me spending Sunday evenings with Barry at your house? I remember your parents having an Amana Radar Range, The first microwave oven. In 1966 I joined the Navy and lost contact with every body. I came home on leave in Sept 1967 to get married (still am) and Barry was at our wedding. I think your brother Rod lived on Fritztown Rd, just outside of Sinky. I believe your mom worked at Narrow Fabric. I worked there for 3 months in late 1975.Barry had a 1960 Chevy with 429 cu.in. engine that he bought from Walt Zong on Lancaster Ave.

Barry lived in Adamstown and shopped at Weavers Market. Wife and I shopped there also, seems the same day and would meet there. This was in the late 1980’s. I know he had health problems.So Sad.
Frank

Karen Shollenberger
Karen Shollenberger
1 year ago

Wow, what a memory you have. I do remember your name. I think Barry called you Starkey. Cannot remember what you looked like, were you tall? He loved being on the Stage Crew. Remember Mr. Griesemer? Barry used to manage The Beats and then Soul, Inc. groups. I miss him a lot. Yes, he had Crohn’s for years and died of complications of COPD. Nice to hear from you.

Franklin Starkey
Franklin Starkey
1 year ago

Yes I was 6′ 2″. I do remember Mr Griesemer. We would go down to his farm in Oley on a Sunday afternoon. I remember the band The Beats. The stage crew was our life. Ironic he had Crohn’s, as I suffer from it myself.

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[…] loaded on a county truck to be taken to storage. The structure must be removed because it is in the Blue Marsh Lake Project area. – Eagle Photos by B. Franklin […]

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[…] street in the heart of the city. When Agnes hit, they were still in the process of constructing the Blue Marsh Dam, which was built to try to prevent flooding of this magnitude. Hurricane Agnes still goes down […]

Sherry Strough
Sherry Strough
2 years ago

I can’t find where I replied

Sherry Strough
Sherry Strough
2 years ago

I’ll try again
I remember going to Pyles store with my brothers and sister to get candy. I know we were the last people to leave we left in December of 1975 I was only nine. I remember a lot of these last names but I think since we were the last people to move most people left when I was only six or seven. The only people I remember visiting because we were some of the last to leave were bubbenmoyer’s across the street and baney’s in the property next to us. ( pretty sure those spellings are wrong) some of you would probably remember Phil Brett and Robin Strough. I remember we spent a lot of time at the lower Heidelberg Fire Hall. Everyone probably just remembered me as Phil Brett and Robin’s annoying obnoxious little sister. I remember we used to have to walk a mile to lower Heidelberg Elementary School because the buses wouldn’t come back and get us anymore because we were the last ones. Phil Brett and Robin had to walk up to the elementary school just to get the bus for the high school. I remember walking down the street to pick wild strawberries but then again since everyone had moved they probably weren’t wild strawberries they were probably someone else’s strawberry field set just didn’t live there anymore. Since we lived up on the hill halfway down Blue Marsh Road. They said the water wouldn’t hit us but we wouldn’t have a way out of our driveway but then the water ended down the street at that next intersection. So I had the opportunity to have one of my daughters go with me. we parked up at the elementary school and we walked (because the roads were still there) to the bottom of our driveway of course we couldn’t get up our driveway because it was all grown in but my daughter now agrees “yes Mom you did walk a mile to school in the snow uphill both ways”

Steve Dreibelbis
Steve Dreibelbis
2 years ago

I live in a home that was moved when the sate took over the land. I often wonder if anyone has pictures of my house in it’s original location or of it being moved. From what I understand, it was just off of Penn Bern road, near where the hunting parking lot is currently located. My house was owned by Haybecker’s at the time.

My neighbors, the Neuins, used to talk about that guy mentioned above, Joe Weiman and his cool place and cars! Sound slike a neat place that I would have loved to go to!

John C Clark
John C Clark
2 years ago

Steve, when you say Penn Bern road do you mean the road across from the Blue Marsh Italian Restaurant?

John C Clark
John C Clark
2 years ago

“To squelch the rumors… no, there are no buildings standing underneath the waters of Blue Marsh Lake”

That is true. However, I’m not so sure that the debris was hauled away. I recall that they would bury the demolished structure in a hole that was dug nearby. I know our house had asbestos shingles but I don’t believe that was a concern back in those days. We also had a community dump at Fox Lake that was used by the residents. That too was buried. For what it’s worth.

John C Clark
John C Clark
2 years ago

Russ, are there any photo’s of the Fox Lake area in the Blue Marsh photo book?

Russell Shade
Russell Shade
2 years ago

Not. Sure. I believe you can page through the book at the link i posted.

John C Clark
John C Clark
2 years ago

Thanks for the reply. I did page through but it looks like it’s only a sample. Which makes sense since they’re in business to sell books ; )

Berks Nostalgia