Hard to believe I launched this site half a decade ago today. As with any milestone it is time to reflect on the past five years of how my content has transformed and grown.
There are currently over 7000 of you following along between email subscriptions and social media platforms. This is roughly the digital equivalent of me standing on stage of a sold-out Santander Arena every time I publish something…but I try not to think about that too much.
The first article I ever posted was on the Sinking Spring Drive-In. The object of my own affectionate nostalgia. The feeling intrigued me.
Back in the first few years it was mainly screenshots of newspaper articles and ads I found interesting. This almost immediately led to the conception of “On this Day“; a series of Reading Eagle articles of past significant happenings that occurred on the date of posting.
Ultimately I consider the pandemic to be the catalyst in the direction Berks Nostalgia has taken since.
Summer 2020 I pumped out the largest fully comprehensive series I have ever done – maybe thats ever BEEN done – on the history of secondary education and the formation of local school districts. I spent that entire summer with my head in old yearbooks, spending all of the free energy I could muster cranking out articles on each institution. A new dimension to the hobby? A diversion from an uncertain outside world? Why not both?
Two years later and the world is no less uncertain though we seem to be winding down with the pandemic and jumping straight into the next global crisis without skipping any beats.
Defunct places have always been the main focus but more recently I have been expanding to profiling people. Specifically people who were the basis of local lore and legend.
How much can I find out about who they were? How much of the legend can I prove to be true? The process of piecing together their lives, and the thrill I get solving that mystery is the direction I currently find myself gravitating.
All the hours I have spent – writing, shooting video, digging for information – are an endless grind which often leave me burned out by the time the piece is finished, but…
Professionally it has led to making connections and collaborating with local businesses and organizations.
Personally it has been a way to satisfy my fascination with the way hyper-local culture creates our foundation – and continues to remain rooted so deeply within us for the entirety of our lives.
The amount of people who have contacted me to tell me they have long since moved away but consider Berks home is astounding. Almost as much as it is flattering that they are grateful my blog can provide them a little slice of it.
Thank you to those of you who have reached out to me to tell me you enjoy what I do. I don’t always get the opportunity to respond but I do read and appreciate every single email.
Whether you have been here since I was finding my footing with interesting newspaper clippings or joined somewhere along the way since, thanks. I hope you find you like where we are going.