A 100 Year Review of Berks – Happy New Year 2020!

Happy New Year Berks County! Not only is it a new year but also the beginning of a new decade. As we leave behind the 2010s, let’s look back on the beginning of the last 10 decades, and some of the events that we experienced together as a community during them. The past is important and sometimes comforting, but it is also important to look forward. There is so much more nostalgia yet to be made!

1920

Notable Events from this Decade

1930

Notable Events from this Decade

1940

Notable Events from this Decade

1950

Notable Events from this Decade

1960

Notable Events from this Decade

1970

Notable Events from this Decade

1980

Notable Events from this Decade

1990

Notable Events from this Decade

2000

Notable Events from this Decade

2010

Notable Events from this Decade

Reading Hospital Photo Mystery

I got an email asking for help to solve the mystery of where the below photo was taken. The photo is of the back of the Reading Hospital around the time it was built in the mid-late 20s.

I checked out a few aerial photos I have of the area from 1927 and 1940. Due to the angle of the shot being straight on, I concluded it have to be on the museum grounds, and had to have been taken in the general area circled below.

When I looked a little harder at the photo the below things popped out at me. I believe a stone wall, Wyomissing Creek and Parkside Drive North (which was just a dirt road then) are visible in the photo. The stone wall is still at the museum, it runs along the Museum side.

Stone wall today

However, the image doesn’t appear to be taken from the museum itself. Does anyone remember another structure being on the museum grounds? Maybe some sort of stone gazebo with the swan decorative railing? Any information would be appreciated.

Reading Public Museum – 1950s

Image & caption from “Berks Countians; The Wonderful Way We Live”

Mrs. James Woodward enjoys an informal afternoon reading to a group of children on the spacious front lawn of the Reading Public Museum and Art Gallery. The Museum and Gallery house an important collection of art masterpieces, as well as an impressive scientific and historic collection. A particularly appealing feature is the garden surrounding the handsome building that borders the Wyomissing Creek. Here young children delight in feeding the ducks and swans that inhabit the area,.

Carsonia Park Aerial – Then and Now – 1937

1937

2018

Carsonia Park opened in 1896 and operated until 1950. It’s extensive history can be read here. It appears that the only thing that remains is the pool and lake. The main midway was built over by housing many years ago.

seasonal grand opening in 1931

Monday Mystery: The Hot Air Balloon

Found this image in my family’s album, but no one seems to have a recollection of what, where or when this image was taken. It was likely taken in the late 60s/early 70s, and appears to be summertime by people’s apparel. It looks to be some sort of fair or carnival at a local park. Do you recognize the location or event? Doesn’t that hot air balloon seem a bit too close to the power lines for comfort?

UPDATE 8/16/18: Mystery solved! Thanks to Richard Douglass and the nice folks over at the Early Years of Sport Ballooning facebook group, we have found the location and timeframe of the photo. According to Richard:

The balloon was a small Piccard hot air balloon made in 1966 by Don Piccard, and registered N1513U. It was purchased in 1968 or so by Robert Dodds Meddock. He and his family brought it to the Kutztown, PA Pennsylvania Dutch Folk Festival for many years in the late 1960s and 1970s. This photo was taken by the sausage tent at the fair, visible behind the balloon. Likely 1969 or early 1970s.