Kmart – 45 Years in Berks

Kmart has been a staple nationwide big box store since the 60s. The company, originally called S. S. Kresge Corporation, dates back to 1899. It wasn’t until 1974 when it broke into the Berks County market, opening a store at the 94,500-square-foot Cumru Township location in Shillington Plaza.

Kmart Berks
Source – pictured in 1983

According to the Reading Eagle, it featured an auto service center, a garden shop and a self-service snack bar.Read the rest

5th Street – 1971 Then & Now

Below are Aerials shots from 1971, showing what Fifth street highway/Route 61/Kutztown Road looked like just north of the city. A few of the notable  structures are the Reading Fairgrounds, Bellevue Diner, and Gethsemane Cemetery. The Warren Street Bypass was also noticeably not extended past 5th street at the time of this photo. Five years after this photo, the bypass was connected up to Pricetown Road, as it is still today.… Read the rest

Rosedale Knitting Mill

Rosedale Knitting Mill was once Berks County’s third largest knitting mill, behind Berkshire and Textile. It was opened in 1914 as a manufacturer of men and women’s stockings by a man named William C. Bitting. By 1921, Rosedale employed nearly 3,000 people who settled close to the site of operations within areas that eventually became Laureldale Borough. – source

Laureldale Borough was officially incorporated as a municipality in 1930.… Read the rest

The Reading Drive-in Theatre

 The Reading Drive-In Theatre opened on August 26, 1949. It cost 65 cents to per adult to watch “Perils of Pauline” on opening night. The Reading Drive-In was located on the 5th Street several miles north of Reading in Temple, Pa. The opening day newspaper ad boasted that the cost to build the entire outdoor theatre and amenities cost $200k. In 2020 that would equate to about $2.15 million. … Read the rest