On this day in 1990 – Dempsey’s Dutch Boy Stolen

On this day, April 7th 1990 the Dempsey’s Dutch Boy statue was stolen from it’s location on the 5th Street Highway in Muhlenberg.

Dempsey's Dutch Boy

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.

Fifth Street 1971
Fifth Street 1971

Some notable places:

Fifth Street 1971
intersection of 5th Street and Bellevue Ave; the Bellevue Diner
Fifth Street 1971
Muhlenberg School Campus. You can see the current high school building was under construction, and opened in 1972.
Fifth Street 1971
The Fairgrounds

Blockbuster Video – A Relic of the Past

Blockbuster Shillington
Old Location on RT. 724 in Shillington.  Photo Source

There were once four Blockbuster locations in Berks County, one being the above on Route 724/Lancaster Pike in Shillington. The others were at 4860 Penn Ave in Sinking Spring near Redner’s Market, 3262 N 5th Street Highway in Muhlenberg Shopping Plaza, and 3985 Perkiomen Avenue in Mt. Penn/Exeter.

Berks county Blockbuster Video
RT. 724 Blockbuster after bankruptcy & closure. Turned into a Walgreens
4860 Penn Ave Sinking Spring Blockbuster, all the way on the left.
Perkiomen Ave/Exeter Promenade Blockbuster Location

Blockbuster, was an American-based provider of home movie and video game rental services through video rental shops, DVD-by-mail, streaming, video on demand, and cinema theater. Blockbuster became internationally known throughout the 1990s. At its peak in 2004, Blockbuster employed 84,300 people worldwide, including about 58,500 in the United States and about 25,800 in other countries, and had 9,094 stores in total, with more than 4,500 of these in the US.

Competition from the Netflix mail-order service, Redbox automated kiosks, and video on demand services were major factors in Blockbuster’s eventual demise. Blockbuster began to lose significant revenue during the 2000s, and in 2010, the company filed for bankruptcy protection. The following year, its remaining 1,700 stores were bought by satellite television provider Dish Network. While the Blockbuster brand has mostly been retired, Dish still maintains a small number of Blockbuster franchise agreements, which allows some stores to remain open in a few markets. – Source

There are still a few Blockbusters around, but if you want to visit one you might need a plane ticket. Most locations are in Alaska, two are in Oregon, and one in Texas. They are still very successful in Alaska due to certain streaming and internet services still not being offered there. The only way to get movies in some parts of Alaska are still a Blockbuster video store!

My future children will never know the excitement of walking into a Blockbuster Video on a Friday or Saturday night to pick out a movie for a friend sleepover, family movie night, or date night. For that reason, we can officially file Blockbuster (and family video rental stores in general) under “Nostalgia”.

Reading Municipal Memorial Stadium

Municipal Stadium hosted it’s first baseball game in 1951.

Municipal Stadium - 1950s

On March 28, 1945, Reading City Council voted unanimously to purchase 27 acres of ground known as Cathedral Heights at a cost of $64,491 for the purpose of building a municipal stadium. In 1947 the grading of the land began and by 1949 the initial stages of construction could be seen. With a final price tag of $656,674, the stadium was completed on April 15, 1951. Named in honor of the service men and women who gave their lives for our country, Reading Municipal Memorial Stadium was dedicated on July 15 that same year.

The stadium was originally known as Reading Municipal-Memorial Stadium before corporate sponsorship resulted in its current name.

Mike Schmidt made his professional debut at the ballpark on June 17, 1971 in an exhibition game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Reading Phillies. The Phillies had signed Schmidt on June 11. In the exhibition game, Schmidt played the whole game at shortstop for the Phillies and hit the game-winning home run against Reading.

On July 13, 1977, The Reading Municipal Stadium hosted a concert by the band Chicago. To date, this was the only major entertainment event held at the 9,000-seat facility.

Prior to Municipal Stadium, Reading’s professional baseball teams played at Lauer’s Park. – Source

Municipal Stadium - 1950s

In 1989, Municipal Stadium underwent the renovations for new seating, grandstand and a roof overhead. Since the early 90s, many food stands have been added, along with pavilions and a face-lift to the exterior front to modernize the park. By the time the mid-2000s rolled around, there was a pool, various weight rooms and other picnic areas added.

The two black & white photos above were taken by my Grandfather, sometime in the 50s or 60s.

Reading Municipal Memorial Stadium

Berks County Christmas – Day 20 – Christmas 1960

This is what Christmas looked like in the December 25th,  1960 Reading Eagle.

Christmas 1960

For the residents of Muhlenberg Park, jolly Santa Claus this year added a new twist to his visit. He arrived three days ahead of schedule and, instead of going about his duties in his usual secret way, he enlisted the help of Girl Scout Intermediate Troop 177. These girls, wearing little elf hats, helped St. Nick deliver over 400 candy-filled stockings to youngsters on the list. As a part of the borough’s fifth annual Christmas parade sponsored by the Muhlenberg Park Civic Club, Santa, in the person of Edward Wielkopolski, and his caravan traveled 10 miles, visiting almost every home in the community.

Wearing his shiny black boots and bright red velvet suit decorated with white fur, St. Nick made personal visits to shut-in children who were not able to greet him at the door to receive their stocking. In the accompanying picture, Santa takes time out from his rounds to read a Christmas story to 7-year-old Edward Thompson, son of Mr. and Mrs. George W. Thompson, 644 Linden St., Muhlenberg Park, who had come down with the chicken pox.

Christmas 1960 Christmas 1960

(Left) Three little girls who anxiously awaited the arrival of Santa Claus in the annual visitation by the Muhlenberg Park Civil Club greet him at the door of their home. Receiving candy-filled stockings from the jolly gentleman are these daughters daughters of Mr. and Mrs. William R. Eaken Jr., 3250 Harrison Ave., Muhlenberg Park, Left to right: Barbara, 3; Karen, 5; and Deborah, 6.

(Right) Santa’s helpers, complete with elf caps, stop by a gaily decorated lampost at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Harold R. Hain, 3254 Harrison Ave., Muhlenberg Park, to sing Christmas carols. Members of the Intermediate Girl Scout Trool 177, these girls helped Santa dekuver the candy-filled stockings. Left to right: Sandra Adams, Sandra Mertz, Fay Drehrer, Blair Wielkopolski, Patricia Peck and Susan Levan, all of Muhlenberg Park.

Christmas 1960 Christmas 1960 Christmas 1960