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

On this day – Nov 24th, 1993 – Cumru Township Gas Explosion

A water pumping station along Old Lancaster Pike in Cumru Township owned by Citizens Utilities Water Co. was destroyed in an explosion Tuesday night, leveling the structure to concrete slabs. The force of the explosion, heard up to five miles away, blew the doors off the building through the containment fence.

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Fearing that the blast had triggered a chlorine leak, police evacuated some 200 residents from about 40 homes after the 10:15 explosion.Read Full Article

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 Full Article

Route 222 Expansion

Colonial Hills Bowling
Route 222 Expansion
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Many businesses along the Lancaster Pike were taken by eminent domain by the state in the early 2000s, when PennDot was making the final connection of 222 from 422 south toward Lancaster.

Owners of businesses and homes that impeded the construction of the highway were offered compensation for their properties, though generally in situations like this the state’s offer is a complete lowball.

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