5th & Penn – 1962

Reading Downtown

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: The traffic circle in the center of Reading as pictured in 1962; notice WEEU on the north side of the 400 block.

Born and raised in Berks, I am fascinated by the style, design & culture of the mid-late 20th century. I started this website to research and build a collection of the places, things and stories I have heard about my entire life. Read more here.

8 Replies to “5th & Penn – 1962”

  1. Thankfully, a number of the buildings pictured still exist. The Reading Premium Beer sign was fabulous, I wish it would have been saved, along with the Sunshine Beer sign. Imagine seeing them today lit up over downtown as historical references to the city’s past! But, of course, foresight and imagination was in short supply in the days when urban renewal and “modernization” became the trend.

    1. Oh yea, the comfort stations! Remember the fellow who had the white Cushman scooter and sold soft pretzels. He sat across the street at southeast corner.

  2. Geez Reading was sooo much nicer back then. It was fun to take the 15 cent bus ride into the city for movies, shopping and good food!

  3. What I remember of the intersection was in the summer of 1960 when candidate John Kennedy was giving a campaign speech on a platform on the circle, and I, as a silly 12 year old, sat on my friend’s shoulders in the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd holding a Alfred E. Newman For President sign we took from a MAD Magazine, mounted on a piece of cardboard!

  4. I remember it well and traveled around it many a time. At Christmas, the circle held the tree. The Reading beer sign and clock atop the Marvel Ranch at 4th and Penn was a familiar site. My sister and I traveled into Reading by bus from Sinking Spring on a Saturday occasionally to see a movie in the 1960’s on Penn St., particularly at the Embassy or Astor Theaters. We liked the Elvis, Beatles and Dave Clark Five movies seen there. They were such beautiful ornate movie palaces. The arena now there has nothing to compare except a few remnants from the Astor. We would get a hot dog and coke at Grants 5 and 10 cent store and later walk Penn St. and visit the many stores (before the days of the shopping mall). Places like Whitner’s Dept. store, Pomeroy’s Dept. store (with toy land on the 6th floor), Zipf”s Candies, Joseph’s clothes, Kresge’s Drugs and the many other stores that once existed on Penn St. Alas, those days have now faded into history as the shopping malls that replaced Penn St. are also doing so now to online shopping.

  5. Let’s not forget our own Al Paris directing traffic at 4th and Penn in 1962. Candid Camera did a segment on him directing traffic.

    Also, Penn Street was so nice during the Holidays.

    Berks County was such a great place ti grow up and live in during the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.

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