The Crystal Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge, well known on Penn Square, offers an excellent cuisine, fine service and delightful dining to hundreds of daily customers. Owned and founded by the Mantis Family, the restaurant recently celebrated it’s 50th anniversary with the opening of the elegant Anniversary Room. This beautiful dining room, with its fine appointments of silver linens and china, is available or banquets and social and civic affairs. It’s spacious area seats approximately 400 guests. Pictured in the Anniversary Room are: Mr. and Mrs. Mantis and Mr. and Mrs. Clifford W. Brooks.
“In 1907, the dairy industry began to flourish in Berks County with a number of prominent dairy farms in Muhlenberg Township including Fairfield, Fink, Keystone, Luden, Muhlenberg, St. Lawrence, Dietrich and Clover Farms. The Muhlenberg Dairy opened its doors for operation as a manufacturer of dairy products in 1916.
According to a 2011 Reading Eagle article, Muhlenberg Township was “…a big area for milk delivery, with three major dairies working in neighborhoods along Route 61″ during the 1950s and 1960s. These three dairies were Muhlenberg Dairy, Clover Farms and St. Lawrence Dairy. Home delivery in Berks County ended in the late 1980s (according to the same article). Clover Farms, who bought the Muhlenberg Dairy in the 1980s, still operates on Rt. 61 today.
The Muhlenberg Dairy produced a number of dairy products including a popular Berks County treat called the Cho-Cho, a chocolate malt dessert. Cho-Chos have been popular in Berks County for at least 60 years and are a nostalgic reminder of a time when children relied on corner stores and the ice cream man to satisfy their summer sweet-tooth cravings. This old-fashioned treat was reinvented in 2006 at Intel’s Sandwich Shop in Muhlenberg Townshipby Randy Gilbert and Julie Sansary, who later established Julie’s Olde-Tyme Cho-Chos.”
The building is now Bean Funeral Home, and its address is 3825 Penn Avenue. The restaurant’s address was formerly 425 Penn Avenue.
“Our Sinking Spring funeral home has a fascinating history. The two story early-colonial structure was constructed in 1802 as a farmhouse, and was used through the years as a private school for boys and girls known as the Charter Oak Academy. The late Thomas K. Oberlin was Founder and Headmaster of the school until he operated the Oberlin Peony Gardens on the site until his death sometime after World War 2. In 1963 it was purchased by Edgar L. and Janet Paulsgrove, former operators of the Riveredge restaurant, who renovated the building and operated a very popular restaurant known as the Ye Old Spring House.”
This home was built in 1802 by Aaron and Henry Mull. Since their death in 1843, was deeded to their direct descendants, until the first purchase was made in 1963 by Edgar and Janet Paulsgrove. The first deed still remains in the medallion at the bottom of the stair rail.
This historical building, which before the turn of the century, approximately 1884, housed what was known as the Charter Oak Academy, a private school for boys and girls, which was named after an old oak tree on the grounds.
The headmaster and founder was the late Thomas K. Oberlin, who later went into the flower business on this site specializing in lilac trees and imported rare peony bushes and trees from the Orient and Holland. This site was then known as Oberlin Peony Gardens, which was the largest of it’s kind in the world. Each springtime thousands of people visited this magnificent display of peonies and lilac trees.
There remains lilac trees and peony trees and bushes on these grounds from the fruitful efforts of Mr. Oberlin.
Special thanks to reader David Procter who gathered this information