Reading PA

(Not about language, but about my life.)

From Eleanor Houck, this photo from the Berks [County PA] — where we both grew up — Center, showing a

close-up … of Pomeroys {department store] c.1941 [from the northeast corner of Fifth St. and Penn Ave.] as depicted in this painting by Jim Holton. What was your favorite Penn Street store?

Oh my, memories of my early life.

There were two department stores, Pomeroys and Whitners, both long gone. Whitners was west of this scene, more or less across the street from the Reading Eagle newspaper (still functioning), where I worked when I was in college. (Whitners had an especially nice lunchroom. I remember its pepperpot soup with pleasure.)

East of this scene, on the north side of the street, was a chain of movie theaters, some quite elaborate, and all now gone or transformed. West of this scene, on the south side of the street, was a series of five-and-dimes, of which many commenters noted fondly, especially Grants. Also gone, of course.

The Reading Railroad came through town, quite literally, stopping traffic. No more. The station has apparently been converted to a bus terminal.

My parents’ little costume jewelry store, the Memo Shop, was just around the counter from the vantage point of this scene — on N. 5th St., a few doors from Penn Ave.

In the picture, you can see a bit of Mount Penn in the background — a notable feature of the city, with a pagoda on its summit.

(I gew up mostly in West Lawn, on — no surprise — the west side of the city, beyond West Reading and Wyomissing.)

3 Responses to “Reading PA”

  1. Pepper pot | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] posting on Reading PA mentioned pepper pot (or pepperpot) soup / stew. We’re talking Philadelphia pepper pot here; […]

  2. More Reading PA | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] Earlier posting with a dowtown view from 1941, here. […]

  3. Kurt Fatzinger Says:

    My grandfather owned the Marvel Ranch at 359 Penn Street throughout the 1970’s. I can remember doing all of my clothes shopping at Joseph’s with my mother and then stopping over at the Ranch for a burger. Those are some great memories for me.

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