Category: Industry

  • Berkshire Knitting Mill

    The Deadly Berkshire Knitting Mill Strike of 1936 – Part 1

    A Storm is Brewing It is dawn on October 1st, 1936. It’s a crisp fall morning and a damp rain adds to the heaviness of the air. The sun begins rising at 5:52 a.m. and thousands of workers are gathering in the morning light around the Berkshire Knitting Mills plant in Wyomissing to protest what…

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  • Reading Railroad sold to Conrail – On this Day 1976

    On this day in 1976, the ownership of the monopoly-board famous Reading Railroad was changed to ConRail. They purchased Reading Co. and other seven other rail lines which were in bankruptcy. At the time of sale, Reading Co. operated on 66% of Pennsylvania’s tracks. A brief History on the Reading Railroad The Reading Co. was…

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  • 503 Penn Street

    The building located at 503 Penn Street in its footprint dates back to the 1800s and has hosted numerous businesses over the proceeding centuries. In 2016 this building was purchased by Weidenhammer Systems Corp and redeveloped by Muhlenberg Greene Architects. In 1872 there was a fire which wiped out the entire north side 500 block…

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  • C.K. Whitner’s Department Store

    On December 2nd 1980 management announced that the 103 year old C.K. Whitner’s Department store located on the 400 block of Penn Street would be shuttering permanently in January of 1981. Declining foot traffic downtown was cited as the reason why the business was no longer having success in that location. At this time Whitner’s…

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  • Berks Beryllium Lands on Moon – On this day in 1969

    On November 14th 1969 the second crewed flight to the moon, known as Apollo 12, launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It successfully made contact with the moon on this day, November 19th 1969. When it landed, so did small but significant pieces from Berks County. A number of components on the lunar lander…

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  • Ronco’s Pharmacy

    Michael Ronco, RPh first opened his pharmacy in June of 1956. The original pharmacy was located at the corner of Dwight Street and Cleveland Avenue in West Lawn. In 1967, the pharmacy moved to 3311 Penn Avenue in West Lawn, where it remained for nearly half a century. Michael retired from his pharmacy business in…

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  • A.T.V. Bakery

    Their beginnings can be traced back over a century ago when Paolo Alberti came to America from Palermo, Sicily and opened “Alberti’s Bakery” in the early 1900s. In the beginning Alberti’s competed with two other local Sicilian bakers; Tomasi and Vecchio. Paolo’s son, Joe, decided to join forces with the rival bakers and in 1941,…

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  • Millionth Case of Reading Beer in 1965 – On this Day

    The millionth case of beer this year rolled off the assembly line at the Reading Brewing Co. yesterday and Harry Fischman, president of the company, right, was there to mark the occasion. Fischman is seen showing the case to Thomas Ames, left, packaging engineer, and E. Edward Messer, center, brewmaster. Fischer noted that the millionth…

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  • Reading Brewing Co Closes – On this day 1976

    On this day in 1976 the Reading Brewing Co. shuttered permanently. Employee’s cited miss-management for the bankruptcy of the company. Management blamed industry giants killed the small-guy brewers like Reading. Maybe a little bit of both are true. All local breweries that were once popular met their demise around this time due to heat from…

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  • Pensupreme Soda Machine

    Pensupreme Soda Machine Mystery

    A reader wrote to me regarding a piece in their possession which was once used by Penn Dairy for trade shows. It is an automated soda fountain with characters which move when plugged in. It still functions and as you can see from the photos below appears to be in impeccable condition. Roughly three feet…

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Berks Nostalgia