Category: 1950s

  • Warren Street Bypass | 1959 and Today

    Before the Reading Motor Inn, or Berkshire Mall, there was sprawling farmland and a highway system that was still being integrated into the rural roads of Spring Township. On this day in 1959 the Warren Street Bypass reopened after the construction depicted below closed the roadway for an extended period. The bridge branching off from…

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  • Sunset Diner – Route 422

    Sunset Diner (Now Family restaurant) is located on route 422 in Exeter. It has been in business since at least the late 1950s.According to the ad below they had the best Dutch Cooking. Quite a bold claim!

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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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  • May Day Tradition

    May Day was a spring celebration tradition amongst public school kids and teenagers during the mid-20th century in Berks. The day would be marked by outside activities, singing, dancing and the crowning of a May Day Queen and court, similar to homecoming today. It seems like May Day peaked as a tradition in the 1940s…

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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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  • Zeswitz – 812 Penn Street

    Zeswitz is a music store that most Berks Countians recognize, but some of you may remember when one of the locations was in downtown Reading on the 800 block of Penn Street. Zeswitz was founded in 1923 by Philadelphia native William “Bill” Zeswitz Sr. According to Zeswitz’s website he was, “master luthier and maker of…

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  • Bowl-O-Rama

    Bowl-O-Rama opened its doors in 1957; a dream of its five shareholders who bought the land and built the alley on Perkiomen Avenue in Exeter Township. It was home to local bowling leagues, social events and gatherings over the years. There was a bar and grille in the establishment as well as 40 bowling lanes.…

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  • Reading Street Railway Company Strike

    On this day in 1950; the Reading Street Railway Company went on a sudden Bus Strike after negotiations on contracts came up short. This stopped all bus and street-car service in the city of Reading, which as you can imagine caused problems for those who relied on the service. Some of the conferees in a…

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  • Meckley’s Hat Shop

    If you ever visited Sinking Spring to purchase a hat from Meckley’s Hat Shop, you may have been acquainted with my great-grandfather, Ernest Meckley. He grew up in Fritztown and his career began in 1938 at Bollman Hat Factory in Adamstown. Ernie’s career with hats didn’t begin in retail but the manufacturing of the product.…

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Berks Nostalgia