Morton L. (Morton Luther) Montgomery.

Historical and biographical annals of Berks County, Pennsylvania, embracing a concise history of the county and a genealogical and biographical record of representative families, comp. by Morton L. Montgomery .. online

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Online LibraryMorton L. (Morton Luther) MontgomeryHistorical and biographical annals of Berks County, Pennsylvania, embracing a concise history of the county and a genealogical and biographical record of representative families, comp. by Morton L. Montgomery .. → online text (page 50 of 227)
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The P. & R. R. Co. operate all the lines concen-
trating at Reading, excepting the Pennsyltvania
Schuylkill Valley railroad. The passenger sta-
tion was located at Seventh and Chestnut streets



from 1838 to 1874, when it was removed to the
"Junction" where the Lebanon Valley railroad and
East Penn railroad connect with the P. & R. rail-
road. The volume of business is enormous. In
1884, a station was established also at Franklin
street.

The Schuylkill Valley railroad was extended
along the Schuylkill river from Philadelphia to
Reading in 1884, and to Pottsville in 1885. It
is under the control of the Pennsylvania Rail-
road Company.

Street Railways. — There was no street rail-
way in Philadelphia until 1857, but during that
year the first line was put down, and cars began
to run in January, 1858.

The first move in this behalf at Reading was
in 1865, when an Act was passed incorporating
the "Reading Passenger Railway Company," to
construct and operate street railways on Penn
street, from Front to the Mineral Spring; on Fifth
and Centre avenue, and also on Sixth from Canal
street northward to Hiester's Lane, beyond the
cemetery; and ninety-six of the most prominent
business men and capitalists subscribed for stock.
The construction was to be begun within one year
and to be ended in five years, and the fare was
to be five cents ; but nothing was done. Several
years afterward, an effort was made to establish
an omnibus line, which was to run from the foot
of Fifth street to the cemetery, but this also failed,
after being operated for a while.

In 1873, another Act was passed, incorporating
the Penn Street Passenger Railway Company, to
construct and operate the Penn street line from
Front street to Nineteenth. The construction was
commenced early in 1874, working eastward and
westward from Sixth street, and by August the
road was open for travel with a single track. The
cars were drawn by one horse, but soon afterward
by two horses.

In one year, the road was sold by the sheriff
and reorganized under the name of the Cen-
tral Passenger Railway Company of Reading; but
in 1878, this was also sold out by the sheriff, and
for a time the road was not operated.

In April, 1880, another reorganization was ef-
fected under the name of the Perkiomen Avenue
line. New cars were placed on the road, and its
operation proved so successful that extensions
were made along Ninth and Tenth streets, and then
to the Mineral Spring, where a barn was erected
for the cars and horses.

After all these lines had been laid, a consolida-
tion of the two companies was effected in 1889
under the name of the Reading City Passenger
Railway Company. In 1890, the Penn street line
was extended along Perkiomen avenue to Nine-
teenth street from. Thirteenth; and in 1891, a line
was laid along Bingaman and Eighth streets.

At the same time that the Act was passed in
1873 for the Penn street line, another Act was
passed for the Sixth street line, and the construe-



198



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



tion of it was then also started. Extensions were
made as follows : In 1885, to the cemetery ; in 1886,
to East Reading, via Laurel and Cotton streets,
and also along Third, Fourth, Washington and
Walnut streets; and in 1887, along Fifth street
and Centre avenue, and along North Eleventh
street.

In 1893, electricity was substituted for horses
and a marked improvement in the service was irn-
mediately appreciated by the public, and the travel
was increased very much.

The United Traction Company was organized in
1895 for the purpose of leasing and operating all
the lines.

The East Reading line from Ninth street to
the Black Bear Inn and to Stony Creek was con-
structed in 1890, the Reading Electric Light and
Power Company supplying the electric power to
propel the cars. This Hoe was the first at Reading
to use electricity for street car service.

The Reading and Southwestern Railway Com-
pany was organized in 1890 to operate a street rail-
way from Third and Penn streets to Mohnsville
by way of Shillington, a distance of five miles, and
this was constructed in 1891 with an electric power
plant at the foot of Chestnut street to propel its
cars. In 1894 a branch was extended to Eleventh
and Penn streets, by way of Franklin street, and
to Nineteenth street by way of Eleventh, Spruce
and Haak streets, for the purpose of making con-
nection with the Mt. Penn Gravity Railroad. In
1894, a steam railroad was constructed from the
terminus at Mohnsville to Adamstown. In 1901
the Mohnsville line and its connections were leased
to the United Traction Company, and since then
have been operated by this company.

In 1894, a street railway line was extended from
Reading west to Womelsdorf, a distance of fifteen
miles, and since then has been operated by the Unit-
ed Traction Company.

In 1902, a line was extended to Temple, five miles
to the north, by the Reading and Temple Company,
and another to Boyertown, eighteen miles to the
east by way of Jacksonwald, Friedensburg and
Shanesville, by the Oley Valley Railway Com-
pany, from' a point near the Stony Creek terminus
of the East Reading line, both also operated by
the United Traction Company. And in 1904, the
Temple line was extended to Kutztown, thereby
opening connection with the Allentown and Kutz-
town line of street railway, which had been con-
structed through Maxatawny township to Kutz-
town in 1898.

Shortly before the line was laid along North
Ninth street in 1886, Abraham F. Reeser and Lewis
Kremp projected a line of herdic coaches to run
the entire length of Ninth street and these coaches
were run for a while, but not proving successful
the enterprise was discontinued.

Mountain Railroads. — In 1889, the Mt. Penn
Gravity Railroad Company was organized, and in
1890 it constructed a railroad from the east end



of the street car lines to the top of Mt. Penn and
thence by a circuitous route to the point of begin-
ning, altogether eight miles long. The cars are
drawn to the top one and a half miles by a steam
engine, and also by electric power, but they des-
cend by gravity six and two-thirds miles. In
April, 1898, an electrical equipment was supplied to
propel the cars by trolley. A stone tower fifty feet
high is at the top. Total elevation, twelve hun-
dred feet above the sea, and one thousand feet
above Reading. The view from this tower em-
braces an area of territory thirty miles square.
Prominent points can be seen in the six adjoin-
ing counties, Montgomery, Chester, Lancaster,
Lebanon, Schuylkill and Lehigh. A large pavil-
ion for dancing is connected with the tower; and
to the north, near by, there is another for playing
ten-pins, shuffle-boards, and billiards. Investment,
$150,000.

The "Summit House," a three-story stone build-
ing, was erected in 1890, near the tower, by Henry
and William Schwartz. The railroad in descend-
ing passes four other resorts : "Kuechler's," "Stei-
gerwald's," "Spuhler's," and "Mineral Spring."

The Neversink Mountain Railroad Company was
organized in 1889, and in 1890 the company laid
a track eight miles long from Ninth and Penn
streets around and across the mountain to Klap-
perthal. It has an investment of $250,000. Su-
perior views from different points overlook Read-
ing and the surrounding country for many miles.
A power-house was erected at the Big Dam at
the same time to propel the company's cars with
electricity, but it was leased to the Metropolitan
Electric Company, which now provides the neces-
sary power for the cars. A fine pavilion for danc-
ing was erected by the company along the road,
opposite the "Highland House."

Telegraph. — Reading was reached by telegraph
in 1847 along the Philadelphia & Reading railroad,
thereby opening communication with Philadelphia
to the south and Pottsville to the north, and inter-
vening points. As the other railroads were es-
tablished, additional telegraph lines were extend-
ed in the same directions from Reading. In 1879,
this concentrated system was connected with the
Western Union lines, thereby opening direct corn-
munication with all parts of the United States.
The office at Reading has come to do an enormous
business, the commercial messages alone (not in-
cluding the railway business and the extensive
newspaper service) averaging one thousand, eight
hundred every day. It is open all the year.

There are in use in Reading by this company
sixty wires with a total length of two hundred
miles; also the call bell system for messenger and
cab service and to deliver letters and packages ;
and a storage battery and motor generator have
been substituted in the place of the gravity bat-
tery. This company enjoys the distinction of be-
ing the oldest in continuous service in the United
States.




l/,___



READING



199



To accommodate the increasing business, a "du-"
plex" of the largest kind was introduced in 1897
on the direct wire between Reading and New
York, by which two messages can be sent over
the same wire at the same time in opposite direc-
tions. Another is in daily use between Reading
and Philadelphia for the exclusive accommodation
of the railroad business.

The company operates at this office one hundred
self-winding synchronizing clocks, distributed in
different parts of Reading, and regulated hourly
by observatory time from Washington, D. C. These
clocks were first introduced here in 1891.

In 1880, the Lehigh Telegraph Company was
organized and formed connection with Reading.
The line passed through several hands. Now it is
known as the Postal Telegraph Cable Company.
It has at Reading twenty miles of wire, three op-
erators, six messengers, transmits and receives 100,
000 messages annually, and has connection with
39,756 places.

Telephone. — The first telephone company in
Pennsylvania was organized at Philadephia in 1878,
and in 1879 Henry W. Spang introduced the in-
strument at Reading. Obtaining from councils the
right to maintain overhead wires, he established
an exchange in the Eagle building, Sixth and Penn
streets, in October, 1879. He began with ten in-
struments and after carrying on the business until
January, 1881, he sold it to the East Pennsylvania
Telephone Cornpany. By that time he had intro-
duced one hundred and twenty-four instruments
at Reading, seventy-four at Pottsville, and twenty-
three at Lebanon.

In December, 1882, the Pennsylvania Telephone
Company became the owner. By 1895, the wires
overhead had become so numerous that the com-
pany prepared to put them underground where
most numerous in the central part of the city, and,
anticipating this undertaking, purchased a prop-
erty at Nos. 31-33 North Fifth street, altered it to
meet the demands of the business and equipped it
with the most improved electrical appliances.

During 1895, 1896 and 1897 the first conduits
were laid along Fifth, Court, Penn and Cherry
streets, together measuring seventy thousand feet
and containing one thousand miles of copper wire
(there being eight cables, each comprising two hun-
dred and two wires). Reading was the third
city in Pennsylvania where wires were laid under-
ground, Pittsburg being the first, and Philadelphia
the second. The company took possession of its new
quarters in February, 1896.

In 1879, the service was conducted on a single
iron wire, and the longest distance over which a
conversation could be carried on successfully was
from thirty to fifty miles, but the introduction of
electricity for propelling street cars and for public
lighting rendered the telephone service on the sin-
gle wire system practically useless, and the company
was obliged, at great expense, to substitute the two-
wire system, which necessitated a reconstruction



of the whole plant and the use of hard-drawn cop-
per wire and of imported superior cedar poles.

The Reading Exchange in February, 1908, com-
prised 3,332 subscribers at Reading, and 444 in the
surrounding districts of Berks county. It is open
day and night throughout the year; employs 45
operators and answers from 20,000 to 25,000 calls
daily; total employes in the county, 115. The en-
tire territory of the company embraces 38 counties
(36 in Pennsylvania and 2 in New Jersey), and
about 1,000 persons are constantly employed. The
company has altogether nearly 36,000 subscribers,
with communication in all the States reached by the
long distance telephone, from the lakes to the gulf
of Mexico, and from Maine to Colorado.

The Consolidated Telephone Company of Penn-
sylvania established an exchange at Reading in
1902, and since then has introduced all the latest
improvements.

[See Chapter II, Industry of County, under
head of Telegraph and Telephone lines.]

Gas Light. — The inhabitants of Reading used
tallow candles and oil for producing light during
the first and second periods of its history. In 1848
the Reading Gas Company was formed by a num-
ber of enterprising citizens for introducing gas,
and it supplied many dwellings, stores, shops, the
Court-House and streets and the City Hall until
1885, when the plant was leased to the Consumers
Gas Company. The works are situated at the foot
of Fifth street. In 1861 a telescope gasometer was
erected at the works with a capacity of 75,000
feet ; in 1873, another on Elm street, near Fourth,
with a capacity of 360,000 feet; and in 1901 a
third, at the foot of Fifth street, with a capacity
of 500,000 feet. The total capacity of the company
is now over two million feet. The total length
of main pipe in usp covers seventy-eight miles,
and all the consumers number fifteen thousand.
David Fox was the superintendent from 1857 to
1887, and John H. Keppelman from 1887 to the
present time.

Electric Light and Power.— In 1883, the Read-
ing Electric Light and Power Company was formed
to supply electric light and power to the local gov-
ernment and to private consumers, and then it es-
tablished a plant at Eighth and Cherry streets,
where it remained for some years. The company
afterward erected a superior power-house on South
Seventh street, near Chestnut, and- in 1894 leased
the plant to the Metropolitan Electric Company,
which had been organized shortly before. The lat-
ter company largely increased the plant and equip-
ment. It has in use twenty , engines whose com-
bined horse-power is 10,000. It supplies the city
with 800 arc lights and 300 incandescents ; and
private consumers with 950 arc, and 20,000 incan-
descents.

A storage system was established on Chestnut
street, east of Seventh, in 1903, with capacity of
740 amperes.



200



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



A new power plant is being erected at the out-
let of the Wyomissing creek opposite Reading
which will be completed by the end of 1909, and
the total cost of the improvement to the traction
and lighting systems is estimated at $3,000,000.

Steam Heat.— In 1887, Isaac McHose, William
Mcllvain, Levi Quier, John R. Miller, James Nolan
and others, organized the Reading Steam Heat and
Power Company for the purpose of supplying pubHc
and private buildings in Reading with steam heat,
and a large plant was established on Elm street,
near Reed, comprising ten boilers with a capacity
of 1,800 horse-power. Mains were put down alon^
Fifth, Sixth, Elm, Walnut, Washington and Penn
streets, with total length exceeding ten thousand
feet, and three hundred patrons were secured. The
plant has been improved and the patrons have been
increased under the management of Jerome L.
Boyer since 1905. John R. Miller has been the
president of the company since its incorporation,
and Lewis Crater the secretary and treasurer.

Halls. — Before 1846, there were no public halls
at Reading for public meetings or amusements. A
large room on the second floor of the State-House
at Fifth and Penn streets was used for these pur-
poses from 1793 to 1840 and then the large audi-
torium in the Court-House began to be used.

In 1846 the Odd Fellows (a beneficial society of
Reading) erected a four-story brick building on the
southwest corner of Fifth and Franklin streets, to
provide a meeting place for their lodges, on the
third and fourth floors, and also a large hall for
amusement purposes, on the second floor. It was
a popular place for receptions, assemblies, balls, and
public meetings for fifty years. In 1868 it became
the property of the Reading Library Company.

During the succeeding twenty-five years, several
other halls were erected, notably the "Keystone," at
Sixth and Court, the "Aulenbach," on Penn above
Sixth, and "Breneiser's," at Eighth and Penn.

Joseph Mishler erected the first modern hall at
Reading in 1872. It was at No. 533 Penn Square
and many high class entertainments were given
there until 1886. It was called the "Academy of
Music," and had a seating capacity of 1,800.

There are numerous halls at Reading for social
meetings of all kinds, but only those for amuse-
ment and balls can be mentioned.

For amusement : Grand Opera-House, 1873 ;
Academy of Music, 1886 (North Sixth street) ; Y.
M. C. A. Hall, 1895; Masonic Hall, 1897; Bijou
Theatre, 1894.

For balls: Maennerchor Hall, 1874; Deppen's
Hall, 1884; Rajah Temple, 1892; Auditorium, 1895.

Location of City. — The lines enclosing the plan
of Reading form an irregular figure, about three
miles long and two and one-half miles wide; and
the tract contains about four thousand acres. The
eastern boundary line is along the base of Mount
Penn, and the western along the west bank of the
Schuylkill, the latter being nearly five miles long.



The greater part of the area has a gentle declination
westward from Mount Penn to the river and affords
superior drainage. The territory to the northward
and southward comprises the Schuylkill Valley and
that to the westward the Lebanon Valley.

ELEVATIONS ABOVE SEA LEVEL

Mount Penn ' 1,110 feet

Mount Neversink 800 feet

Egelman Reservoir 673 feet

Antietam Lake 510 feet

Hampden Reservoir 415 feet

Charles Evans Cemetery 373 feet

Penn Street Reservoir 345 feet

Fifth and Penn Streets 339 feet

Front and Penn Streets 180 feet

RELIGION AND EDUCATION

CHURCHES

Three religious congregations were organized at
Reading in 1751, Friends, Lutherans and Reformed,
and they then caused churches to be erected. The
last two still maintain their churches in the same
locality with a large membership. The Roman
Catholics began in 1755, and the Protestant Epis-
copalians in 1763. These and other congregations
together contributed an influence in behalf of the
moral and social welfare of the community that can-
not be fully measured. The major part of the peo-
ple of Reading, connected with the denominations,
have always been Lutherans and Reformed, these
two having the largest proportion of congrega-
tions, and the Reformed denomination having the
greatest number of members.

There are twenty-three different religious denom-
inations at Reading, which have altogether seventy-
six churches. In the statement which follows, they
are arranged in the order of priority, and the year
mentioned after each congregation signifies the time
when it was organized, or when the church was
improved. Sunday-schools are conducted with the
several congregations.

STATEMENT OF CHURCHES AT READING
Lutheran

Name Founded Pastor Members

Trinity 1751-1791 Edward T. Horn 1,625

Chapel 1873-1891

St. Matthew's 1844-1890 G. W. Nicely 425

St. James 1850-1892 M. L. Zweizig 660

St. John's 1860-1896 J. J. Kuendig 1,520

Chapel 1874 Philip Kirchner (Junior Pastor)

St, Luke's 1868-1886 F. K. Huntzinger 1,600

Grace 1877-1888 W. H. Myers 1,200

Peace 1885 J. F. Snyder 50

Hope 1885-1904 H. W. Warmkessel 676

St. Mark's 1890-1900 E. S. Brownmiller 490

St. Paul's 1900 M. H. Stettler 295

St. Peter's 1908 H. C. Shindle 50

8,591
Reformed

Name Founded Pastor Members

First 1753-1761-1.8.S2 T. F. Moyer 1,.S37

Second 1848-1853-1898 S. R. Bridenbaugh 690

St. John's 1865-1871-1876 T. H. Leinbach 680

St. Paul's 1872-1905 B. Bausman 900

Zion's 1881-1883 C. H. Gramm 600

St. Stephen's 1883-1899 T. W. Dickert 1 152

Calvary 1889 A. V. Casselman 556

North Reading 1S90 Trvin M. Beaver 112

St. Thomas' 1891 Lee M. Erdman 461

St. Andrew's 1891-1904 H. H. Ranck 889

St.. Mark's 1891-1904 C. E. Schaeffer 1,230

Faith 1891 W. E. Harr 410

9.017




.g£5£3s3



NORTH SIDE OF PENN SQUARE, LOOKING WEST FROM FIFTH STREET




V , — i_^ iiiffeia



NORTH SIDE OF PENN SQUARE, LOOKING EAST FROM FIFTH STREET



READING



201



Friends

1751-1765-1867
Protestant Episcopal



Name Founded

-Christ 1760-1825-1873
Parish Building 1884

St. Barnabas 1860-1889

5t. Luke's Chapel 1894

- 1905



Pastor
William P. Orrick
Franklin J. Clark
Franklin J. Clark
William B. Burk
Harvey P. Walter



Members
427

409
95

77









1,008




Roman Catholic




Name


Founded


Pastor


Members


St. Peter's


1755-1791 )
1845-1904J


Thomas S. McCarty


1,500


St. Paul's


1860


George Bornemann


3,500


St. Joseph's
St. Mary's


1887


James Flanagan


1,200


1888


A. Maluseckl


3,000


Italian


1904


A. Varelli


300


Slavonic


1907




500






10,O0U




Presby


terian




Name


Founded


Pastor


Members


First


1812-1823-1847


R. M. Blackburn


460


Washington St.


(Colored) 1823


William R. Templetor


77


'Olivet


1889-1892


R. H. Kirk


298
835




Methodist Episcopal




Name


Founded


Pastor


Members


Fourth Street


( 1822-1827
1 1868-1900


H. E. Walhey


154


(People's)






St. Peter's


1848-1883


W. A. Ferguson


463


Covenant


1869


W. H. Smith


405


Memorial


1890


J. Richards Boyle
H. T. Isenberger


553


Windsor Street


1904


236


•Grace


1909


Vacant






Baptist




Name


Founded


Pastor


Members


First 1829-1836-1845-1893


James A. Maxwell


790


Berean


' 1869-1879


H. J. Roberts


235


Zion


1905


W. H. Dabbs


46


Memorial


1908


Henry P. Hoskins


65


Shiloh (Colored)


Moses Braxton






Universalist




Name


Founded


Pastor


Members


Church of Our


Father 1831-1889


Hendrick Vossemer


250




Evangelical




Name


Founded


Pastor


Members


Salem


1846-1877


A, N. Metzger


221


Immanuel


1862-1884


W. F. Kline


275


Ebenezer


1870-1885


J. I. Yotter
H. E. Harner


350


St. Matthew's


1883


100


Christ


1901


W. L. Bollman


100
1,046




United Evangelical




Name


Founded


Pastor


Members


First


1894


A. W. Brownmiller


858


"Grace


1894


F. S. Borkey


398


Trinity
St. Paul's


1898


A. G. Flexer


155


1900


George W. Hangen


500


Bethany


1908


J. S. Harper


125
2,036




United Brethren




Name


Founded


Pastor


Members


"Zion's


1847-1898


G. D. Batdorf


310


Otterbein


1856-1879


C. J. Brane


194


Salem


1886


W. B. Fridinger


407


Memorial


1894


H. Jones


196



Church A ttendance at Reading, 1905. — ^At a meet-
ing of the executive committee of the Thirteenth
District of the Berks County Sunday School Asso-
ciation, in October, the committee appointed several
months before to make a house-to-house canvass
of the city for the purpose of gathering statistics
of persons attending or not attending church or
Sunday-schools and the denominations to which
they hold, if any, presented its report.

The canvass was made under the supervision of
sixteen superintendents, one for each ward, and
each superintendent had charge of a corps of vol-
unteer visitors, the whole number being 231. Each
ward superintendent laid out the districts of visita-
tion so as to equalize the work of the canvassers.
As each visitor completed the task assigned, re-
turns were made to the superintendents, who, in
turn, tabulated the cards for the different denom-
inations, with the following result:



Name
Oheb Sholem _
Shomro Habrith



Name



Name Founded

Bethel African M. E. 1837-1869



Hebrew

Founded Pastor

1864-1885 Julius Frank

1888 E. Mayer Kaplan

German Baptist Brethren

Founded Pastor

1895 David W. Weaver

Miscellaneous



Friendship Reformed
Disciples of Christ
Mennonite Brethren
Gospel Tabernacle
People's -Mission
Holiness Christians
Christian Missionary

Alliance
ChnrcTi of God
Scronth Day Adventist



1873
1897
1884
1901



1904



Pastor
J. R. Reed
J. Addison Kutz
Horace G, Weaver
C. H. Brunner
J. H. Von Neida
H. M. Lengel
Adam Sommers

H. Miller Herr



Online LibraryMorton L. (Morton Luther) MontgomeryHistorical and biographical annals of Berks County, Pennsylvania, embracing a concise history of the county and a genealogical and biographical record of representative families, comp. by Morton L. Montgomery .. → online text (page 50 of 227)