Josiah Dives & the Ghosts of Folly Farm

Josiah Dives was born in 1851 in Chartham, Kent, England. He started his business career after moving to London at the age of 13 following his Father’s death. When coming to America in 1872, his first residence was Hartford, CT. This is where he met George Pomeroy and John Stewart. Together they came to Reading and founded Dives, Pomeroy, and Stewart Deptartment Store, which later became known as just “Pomeroy’s”. … Read Full Article

Pensupreme

Pensupreme was the trade name of Penn Dairy; which originated in Lancaster County. The dairy had restaurants referred to as “Pensupreme Shoppes” which served food and ice cream. They also branched into “Grocerettes” which were basically convenience stores in various places around eastern PA. The main milk processing plant was in York, PA. In Berks County, there was one “Shoppes” style restaurant/ice cream place located on Lancaster Avenue on the border of Shillington, Kenhorst and what is considered Reading proper.… Read Full Article

Berks County Almshouse

Berks County Almshouse

The Berks County Almshouse was located just outside of Shillington along route 724 or Philadelphia Avenue. The land on which the Almshouse was built in 1824 was owned by Governor Thomas Mifflin. His actual residence, the location of which has been long debated amongst local historians, was rumored to be one of the buildings on the Almshouse grounds.

Berks County Almshouse
Looking west at route 724/Philadelphia Avenue roughly where the entrance to Shillington Park is today

The Berks County Almshouse opened officially in 1826, when a state law was passed requiring every county in the state of Pennsylvania to have a “poorhouse”.… Read Full Article

Far East Chinese Restaurant

Far East Chinese Restaurant
Source – pictured in 1967

In 1920, the very first Chinese cuisine restaurant opened in Berks County at 739 Penn Street in Reading by Chee Yuen Hong and his father Sik Que Hong. Back then it was called the Far East Tea Garden and was ran by various members of the Hong family through the following decades and moves. In 1929 the family moved the restaurant a block away to 837 Penn Street where it remained for over three decades and became Far East Chinese Restaurant.… Read Full Article

Shillington Theatre

Shillington Theatre
Shillington Theatre
Shillington Movie Theatre pictured in 1957

The Shillington Theatre was located at 29 E Lancaster Ave between Liberty and Brobst St. It opened Sept. 3rd, 1949.

Shillington Theatre
Sept 3rd, 1949 Reading Eagle Ad for Shillington Theatre
Shillington Theatre
1956 ad

It was not until the late 1960’s that the Shillington was able to run movies on Sundays due to the local municipality refusing to repeal and continuing to enforce Pennsylvania’s antiquated “blue laws”.… Read Full Article