Happy Thanksgiving! November 28th, 1974

Thanksgiving Day also fell on November 28th in 1974. Here is a look at that day’s Reading Eagle:

Walter S. Shearer, who owns a poultry farm in Sinking Spring R.D. 6, holds one of his flock. To find out what eventually happened to this turkey turn to page 31 – Eagle Photo

That homemade taste of goodness was plentiful in Berks County today as thousands celebrate Thanksgiving with families and friends. And, of course, Thanksgiving means turkey time for many. Mrs. Donald E. Horning, above of 25 Larchwood Road, Wyomissing, is delighted with a turkey she selects at the Shearer poultry stand in the Shillington Farmers’ Market. Helping her with the selection is Carmen S. Rolinski, son-in-law of Walter S. Shearer, owner of the Sinking Spring R.D. 6 poultry farm. Mrs. Horning, right, gives her husband a sneak preview of things to come while, below, Mr. Horning reacts to that stuffed feeling of Thanksgiving feast. – Eagle Photos by Richard T. Miller

Demolition Under Way

The former fire damaged Reading School District supply house at 933 Walnut St. is being demolished by Rossi Welding Inc., 316 Franklin St., which will use the area for a parking lot. The firm purchased the structure for $9500. -Eagle Photo

Santa at the Berkshire Mall

Santa Claus will make his magic entrance tomorrow morning at 9:30 on our 2nd level then wisk down the glass elevator into his snowy Christmas Village in the Center Court. The first 1,000 children to greet jolly old St. Nick will receive a special gift box of Christmas Candy to sweeten their Holiday spirits.

Santa’s whole gang is back this year including his elves and his giant toy soldiers and his train and workshop and reindeer barn and a whole mallfull of splendid holiday trimmings. So we sure to get the kids up early tomorrow and plan to spend the day shopping through beautiful Berkshire Mall where 87 fine stores are busting and brimming with holiday values for all.

Woolworth’s – Penn Street / Berkshire Mall

Image & caption from “Berks Countians; The Wonderful Way We Live”
When this photo of the interior of Woolworth’s 5¢ and 10¢ store – 530-534 Penn, around 1911 – this was a “5-and-dime” emporium in the true sense. Everything in the place was priced at a nickel or dime. A sign visible near the rear of the aisle clearly states that “Nothing in this store over 10 cts.” Photo by John. B. Woods.

Woolworth’s 6th and Penn Reading store was opened on September 20th, 1884, under the name, “Woolworth & Knox”. It was just three doors across 6th street from the successful Pomeroy’s department store.

Woolworth’s moved to the Berkshire Mall when it opened in 1970, as did many of the successful Penn Street department stores. Woolworth’s was again next to Pomeroy’s (first Lit Brothers, but only 1970-1975) near the center of the mall. It could be accessed from the outside of the mall, and was also a restaurant called “Harvest House”.

Woolworth’s occupied store space #27, outlined in yellow.

Woolworths chain started declining in the 80s due to over-expansion, and it is believed the Mall location closed for good in the mid-late 90s. The inner-mall part was subdivided into a few more store spaces. The back half that was accessible from the outside was divided off.

Above is the outside entrance to what was the Woolworth’s at the Berkshire Mall as it is today, next to the defunct BonTon. As long as I can remember this space has been unoccupied. If you remember it being anything since Woolworth’s closing, please post in the comments.

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Kaleidoscope at the Berkshire Mall – 1970s

The Kaleidoscope was a store in the Berkshire Mall in the 70s. It sold jewelry, black lights and other psychedelic things. You could also get your ears pierced there. Do you remember this store?

circa 1973

Gadgets at the Berkshire Mall

From 1982-1984 there was a cutting edge restaurant called “Gadget’s” upstairs at the Berkshire Mall. It featured animatronic singing robots as entertainment. For kids, Looney Tunes was the featured presentation. It was also targeted to adults, featuring a LaBARatory bar and evening shows as well. Below is the only footage online of the restaurant, though at a location in New York.

The idea was fairly short lived. After brief expansion to roughly 6 locations in the US, the idea proved too costly to make a profit, and ultimately closed down. According to a comment on this website, the location at the Berkshire Mall was rumored to have a particularly shady end:

Does anyone remember the shady Gadgets disappearing story? They were behind on rent (owed 10s of thousands) and just packed up and took off in the middle of the night, leaving behind lots of the fixtures in the restaurant.

Menu pictures courtesy of Matt Heffelfinger

Do you remember Gadgets? Do you have any images or stories to share? Can you validate the rumor of how it left? What happened to all of the animatronic pieces left behind?