A few weeks ago I posted about 4th & Penn before it was demolished to make way for the then new CNA building. There was a great shot of the old B. & J. Saylor Food Store, which was a hot spot to get fresh produce and other foods. Above you can see an old shot of the interior of the building.
B. & J. Saylor was founded in 1866, and enjoyed 100 years of success in the heart of downtown Reading. However, the Great Depression compounded by a July 20th fire in 1933 set them back, albeit briefly.
They also had another fire just three years later on November 21st, 1935, which also happened to be the same day the Rajah Theatre was damaged by a fire.
Saylor Food again was rebuilt and operated for another 32 years until 1967, a year after it’s 100th birthday. It stood empty for over a decade until it was razed to build the CNA building.
Municipal Stadium hosted it’s first baseball game in 1951.
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
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.
Completed in 1908 at a cost of $50,000, this pagoda was intended to be the hotel/restaurant centerpiece of a luxury resort. When plans for the rest of the resort were abandoned, the 7-story wooden building on 10 acres of land was donated to Reading in 1911. It is now part of the Mount Penn Reserve, 1,595 acres of municipally-owned land. – Source
There was originally another building built just down from the Pagoda in the same style, and was know as an “Out building”. Does anyone remember this structure, or what it was used for?
These photos were sent in by Ron Shurr, he worked in the Camera department at Pomeroy’s in the early 60s and had a passion for photography. Thanks for sharing these, Ron.
A few memories from Ron:
I worked in the camera department, my first job out of high school. Photography was a hobby and was a staff photographer and yearbook photographer at Exeter HS class of 1960. Later became store manager and buyer in the photographic industry for Hollywood Photo Reading and Classic Photo Allentown, both then owned by Classic Photo. I managed Reading branch, bought for both stores and was in charge of all their retail advertising. We were the leading supply of photo equipment for the Reading Eagle and Western Electric and Bell Labs, major players in Reading. I would meet most of the Eagle photographic staff at Jimmie Kramers for nickel beer night on Wednesdays. Lots of stories and memories from Reading. The location of Hollywood Photo then was 529 Penn Street, which was the building with cellar rooms and it was told to me that Baby Face Morgan, the gangster was shot, while playing cards, in one of those rooms below the store. We used the downstairs as storage and stockroom, and there were two rooms still there, but without doors.
Before 4th and Penn was torn down in 1980 to give way for the construction of CNA, there were multiple businesses on the block. On the corner all the way on the left was Saylor Food, a fresh produce and goods store. To the right of that was a State Liquor store, which was once Liner’s Furniture, and besides that was an Acme Food Store.