On this day March 11th 1962

Above the fold in the March 11th, 1962, Reading Eagle.

Berkshire Knitting Mills Building 202 – better known perhaps as the “clock building” – has been sold to Schoener Candies, Inc., 216 Buttonwood St., it was announced yesterday by BKM. The building faces Reading Avenue in West Reading and will be occupied by the Schoener firm in mid-summer, with more than 200 persons being employed there, it was disclosed. BKM said that since seamless hosiery knitting machinery requires less space than full-fashioned machinery, the building has not been needed by Berkshire for several years. It had been leased previously by Hershey Chocolate Corp – Eagle Photo

Mrs. Albert J. Lauter Jr. of Five Points, Reading, Den Mother to Den No. 5 of Mount Penn Pack No. 158, reviews a scouting achievement book with two of her Cubs, Daniel J. Essig, left, and Daniel F. Metzler. She is one of 630 housewives who serve as Den Mothers to 3,642 Cub Scouts in the city and county.

Al Paris gained national fame when footage of him directing traffic at 4th and Penn aired on Candid Camera on March 11th, 1962.

The Glockenspiel Restaurant – Rt. 222 – Richmond Township

The Glockenspiel was landmark Pennsylvania Dutch restaurant in northern Berks County. It originally dated back to 1751, built as a two-story farmhouse and later added on dining facilities and offices. It was located along Route 222 between Fleetwood and Kutztown. The restaurant specialized in Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine, and served a famed fruit & cheese tray with dinner. It also had a gift shop and the “Dutch Tavern” which was a bar area.

1971 Aerial Shot

Above, an aerial photo of the Glockenspiel Restaurant along 222 in 1971. Below, the famous fruit and cheese platter served with every meal.

The French Room

View of the French Room and waitress with a cheese tray, in the 1950s. Source

The “French Room” pictured on both above Postcards, was located in the basement of the building. The Glockenspiel was described in a 1984 Morning Call article as, “Decidedly colonial with traditional antiques, barn wood paneling, stone walls, and open beamed ceilings, the restaurant’s atmosphere helps diners lose track of cares and concerns of the everyday world. “

On the above image: Dutch Tavern on top right, Gift shop on bottom right.

Some fondly remember warm cider was served from the pot at this large fireplace just inside the entrance to the restaurant.

Bankruptcy

The Glockenspiel Restaurant had financial troubles starting in 1981 and was pulled out of bankruptcy in 1983.

It was closed briefly in 1981 by a state police task force when a previous owner, American Leisure Services Inc. of Austin, Texas, was cited for failure to pay sales taxes.

In 1982, problems with back taxes prompted state agents and deputies from the Berks County sheriff’s office to seize financial records at the restaurant.

The Glockenspiel was brought out of bankruptcy proceedings in 1983.

After renovations it reopened that year by the Glockenspiel Management Corp.

1986 Fire

Smoke billows from one of three adjoining structures destroyed Tuesday night in a blaze at the Glockenspiel Restaurant complex on Route 222 in Richmond Township -Eagle Photo
Blair Eakin, an assistant manager of the Glockenspiel Restaurantm escaped the flames by leaping from a second-floor window of this building. – Eagle Photo

More than 150 firefighters battled the multi-alarm blaze that destroyed the historic Glockenspiel Restaurant along Route 222 southwest of Kutztown Tuesday night. The damage, including many antique furnishings, was estimated at more than $2 million.

The Glockenspiel Restaurant was a total loss, and the owner stated initially that there were intentions to rebuild and add a motel with other facilities on the site. This never came to fruition.

1992 aerial showing the remains of the Glockenspiel. It would decay for another 13 years before the property was redeveloped. -Google Earth

The ruins remained standing until nature took course and slowly covered them. In 2005 the property was sold and redeveloped; a Shed Manufacturer built a new building on the property and has remained there since.

Sources: Morning Call, Reading Eagle

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

The Hitching Post – 3337 Penn Ave – West Lawn

The Hitching Post was a very popular restaurant located in the Springmont section of West Lawn. Built in the 1930s, it was originally a Howard Johnson’s. It then became an establishment called the Imperial Club. Finally, it became the Hitching Post in the 1960s. Countless anniversaries, birthdays, organizational meetings and other celebrations were held here over the course of 4 decades.

The Hitching Post in 1975

When it opened as the Hitching Post it was owned by Charles Schwambach, who also owned the Queen of the Valley Diner, located east up Penn Avenue by the old Iron Bridge.

1958 Aerial of Howard Johnson’s
2017 Google Map Aerial

The Hitching Post in West Lawn closed its doors in mid-1997.

Redevelopment

In February 1999 Wawa finalized development plans for a Wawa Convenience store to be built on the site of the Hitching Post, and in July they purchased it.

Reading Eagle July 27th 1999

Wawa opened it’s West Lawn location shortly after New Year 2000. Not everyone was happy with Wawa’s rampant takeover of Berks.

January 2000 Reading Eagle

As much as I love Wawa, maybe Kyle has a point. We sacrifice history for convenience all the time. Many of these places that take us back to a different time are gone, but my goal with Berks Nostalgia is to make sure they are never forgotten.

A Revival

The Hitching Post returned in 2011, under a new generation of the Zeppos family, who owned it in West Lawn from 1979-1991. It is located in Bern Township along Route 183. It is still in business today and has great reviews.

January 2011 Reading Eagle

Miracle Mart – 2101 Centre Ave

Miracle Mart - Reading

Miracle Mart was a 50,000 square foot department store on Route 61/Centre Ave in North Reading. There is very little information online about Miracle Mart or its origins, besides that there was a more well-documented and unrelated Canadian department store chain by the same name. Looking at aerial photos of the area leads me to believe this location in Reading, Pennsylvania was opened in 1959.

October 1958 Aerial

The aerial photograph above was from October 1958, and it appears the building in the location of Miracle Mart is much smaller and shaped differently than the aerial below from July 1971. Perhaps it was under construction or it is another building entirely. Also cropped in the above photograph is Reading Municipal Stadium, which sits diagonally across Route 61 from the department store.

July 1971 Aerial

The newspaper ads below are from the November 1959 Reading Eagle. So its fairly safe to assume the store was built and opened at some point in the year between the aerial and ad.

1959 Reading Eagle Ad

Miracle Mart was just another face in the sea of discount stores that exploded into popularity in the mid-century. The market became over-saturated and like many others, Miracle Mart was eventually consumed by a bigger fish. In 1973 Miracle Mart was bought out by King’s Discount Department store, which operated over 100 other stores across the country at the time.

July 1973 Ad from Reading Eagle

Aside: These ads from 1973 have King’s listed at the junction of Routes 61 & 422, but surely they meant route 61 and route 12/Warren St Bypass? I’m not sure why the bypass there would have ever been considered 422. Even before the Schuylkill bypass 422 business ran East – West through Reading on Penn Street. If you know what’s up with this, feel free to drop it in the comments.

August 1973 Ad from Reading Eagle

Completing the circle of retail life; King’s Department Store filed for bankruptcy in 1982 after it reached a pinnacle of 190 stores nationwide and went defunct by 1984. Eventually this location was converted into office space.

2101 Centre Ave

Currently, the building is occupied by Berks County Intermediate Unit.

Another Company located in this office park is Fromm Electric. I found this Retro signage from Google street view in 2015. It looks like they recently updated the sign and covered their old logo up. Bit of a shame, the cursive “Fromm” is in a lovely mid-century style.

Fromm Electric Retro Sign