On this day, Jan 15th, 1994: Two 4+ Magnitude Earthquakes shake Berks

Two earthquakes – the first measuring 4.0 on the Richter Scale and the second recorded at 4.6 – shook the Berks County area Saturday night. The quakes are believed to be the largest ever recorded in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, according to officials.

The Associated Press reported that shocks from the second quake were supposedly felt as far north as New York City and as far east as Philadelphia and as far south as Baltimore.

Officials said the first quake hit about 7:43 p.m., and the second struck at 8:49 p.m. The epicenter of both is believed by officials to be in the Wyomissing Hills area. Waverly Person, a geophysicist at the National Earthquake Information Center at the U.S. Geological Survey in Boulder, Colo., confirmed that instruments recorded the 4.6 figure.

His colleague, John Minsch, said the same instruments got the 4.0 reading on the first quake. Minsch said Saturday night that Berks residents could expect several aftershocks.

The first quake caused a water main break at the Victoria Crossing development in Spring Township. The second triggered a reported water main break in the Kenhorst area.

UGI Utilities Inc. officials reported responding to a minor natural gas leak in the 1300 block of Garfield Avenue in Wyomissing.

Streets department crews in Reading said they found a crack in the 1700 block of Fairview street and one in the 600 block of Clinton Street.

Several residents in the western sector of the county reported cracks in ceilings, furniture moving, dishes falling from china closets, and pictures dropping off walls.

In the downtown area, tall buildings shook, including the Berks County Courthouse, where dispatchers for the Berks County Communications Center on the 18 th floor were flooded with calls on the 9-1-1 emergency system from people clamoring for information.

City and Wyomissing police departments also reported that their phones were jammed. Several area telephone exchanges were slowed by thousands of callers trying to reach loved ones or friends.

The second quake hit with more intensity than the first, according to Dr. Charles K. Scharnberger, a Millersville University geologist, who reported that it knocked the pen off his seismographic equipment at the Lancaster County campus some 35 miles from Reading.

“We really didn’t get a good record of it,” Scharnberger said. “We had about the first 30 seconds of it and then the pen hit the edge of the drum and went off the paper.

“I’d say it was at _least 4.5 to possibly 5.0.”

Scharnberger said his seismographic instruments measured the magnitude of the first quake at 4.5 on the Richter Scale.

He explained it is difficult to determine the intensity of the earthquakes until a day later because those living near the suspected epicenter have to be interviewed about what they felt and the extent of the damage.

A May 10 earthquake, measuring 2.5 on the Richter Scale, shook the Wyomissing Hills-Spring Township area and was followed by several temblors.

-January 16th, 1994 Reading Eagle

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.

On this day – Nov 24th, 1993 – Cumru Township Gas Explosion

A water pumping station along Old Lancaster Pike in Cumru Township owned by Citizens Utilities Water Co. was destroyed in an explosion Tuesday night, leveling the structure to concrete slabs. The force of the explosion, heard up to five miles away, blew the doors off the building through the containment fence.

Click to enlarge

Fearing that the blast had triggered a chlorine leak, police evacuated some 200 residents from about 40 homes after the 10:15 explosion. Police told residents to leave the area for a brief time. No Injuries were reported. Residents were allowed to return a short time later after officials determined there was no chlorine in the station.

Cumru Township Fire Marshal Timothy M. Dougherty said the explosion may have been sparked by a malfunction in either a gas generator or furnace operating inside the 30-by-30-foot concrete pumping station near Trusty’s Lawn & Garden Equipment along route 222.

On this day Nov 18th, 1959

Future site of Western Electric purchased in Muhlenberg Township

Nov 18th, 1959 Reading Eagle

TV Stereo Advertisement from Pomeroys

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Costa Rican Group Visits Textile

Harry Swartz, atop stairway, apprentice supervisor for the Textile Machine Works, points out the working of a machine to a Costa Rican apprenticeship team that visited the local plant today. Left to right, are: Manuel Maria Granados, labor inspector II, Ministry of Labor; Roberto Fernandez, manager of the Rupublic Tobacco Co. in Curridabat, office, Ministry of Labor; Antonio Gonzalez, cheif vocation education secretary, Ministry of Education; Shwartz; Adolfo Bagnarello, chief mechanic I, Ministry of Public Works; Alfredo Rodriguez, director general, Ministry of Labor, and John Moyer, an employee of Textile. (Eagle Staff Photo)

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On this Day – October 16th, 1959

Above the fold in the Oct 16th 1959 Reading Eagle:

Goodbye, Tower Hotel

Outside razing work by city workmen is now under way on the Tower Hotel on the crest of Mt. Penn. All usable wood and stone from the historic structure will be stored for future city use. A pavilion is scheduled to be built on the site, when razing work is completed. This coming winter, city carpenters will build picnic tables at the site. (Eagle Photo – Oct 16th, 1959 Reading Eagle)

Well, that’s a problem

Charles Danta examines the well opening into which he descended 30 feet yesterday afternoon to rescue Michael Evans, 5, Boyertown R.D. 3, after the boy had fallen through rotten planking into five feet of water. Michael, shown in inset, was unhurt. The well planking will be replaced. (Eagle staff photo)

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