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

. (page 51 of 227)
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 51 of 227)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Isaac Becker
J. H. Krumm



1,107



Members
240



Members
■70

Members

76

85

115



DENOMINATIONS ^

Advent 37

Baptist , 866

Catholic, Roman 6,551

Christian (Disciple) 85

Christian Science 21

Church of God 101

Congregational 7

Dunkard 80

Episcopal (Protestant) . . 1,088
Evangelical Association... 1,180

Friends (Quaker) 19

Friendship Mission 64

Gospek Tabernacle 44

Hope Rescue Mission.... 46

Holiness Christian 76

Hebrew 581

Lutheran 14,653

Mennonite 105

Methodist Episcopal 3,129

Methodist, Primitive . : . . . 10

Moravian 3

Neversink Mission 81

No preference 849

Not at home 7,192

Presbyterian 1,473

Reformed Church 13,912

Refused information 166

Salvation Army 53

Spiritualist 28

United Brethren 1,577

United Evangelical 3,052

Universalist 306

Home Department

Cradle Roll



a
3 o



252

2,212

35

3

43

23

390

399

2

33

16

15

35

343

4,917

56

944



29

359

2,384

464

4,358

55

16

6

577

1,107

73



ho rt






28
495
4,130
71
17
67

34

685

803

12

46

18

8

25

283

8,474

60

1,960

3

24

281

4,046

853

7,389

83

28

7

946

1,826

109



a

ho.2

c 3
'■Zl bo

C u

V



17

419

1,853

60

3

45

21
405
740

43

34

12

38

77

5,677

52

1,470

1

1

28

268

3,414

553'

5,638

63

9

11

760

1,678

133

1,509

1,446



57,435 18,850 33,611 36,446



203



HISTORY OF BERKS' COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



SCHOOLS

Early Education. — Education was encouraged at
Reading from the beginning of its history. It was
carried on mostly in connection with the churches.
Two of the earliest teachers connected with the
Lutherans, who taught for many years, were Jo-





.1". . " ' ■ -^■' '■ '?■'



FIRST SCHOOL HOUSE AT READING

seph Fleischer and Paul Fuegner. John Philip
Foesig was the teacher with the Reformed for over
fifty years, having begun in 1751. The Trinity
Lutheran school at Sixth and Washington streets
was used for educational purposes for nearly one
hundred years, 1765 to 1855.

The Reading Academy was a prominent school
for sixty years. It was incorporated in 1788 and
given aid by the State. The building stood on the
southwest corner of Seventh and Chestnut streets.
The trustees sold it in 1838, and then erected an-
other at Fourth and Court streets (site of Girls'
High School), which was occupied as a private
school until 1853, and since then as a public high
school

'', %^ ) ■^n^™ F til U3HI T^




FIRST PUBLIC SCHOOL

Common School System. — The common school
system of 1834 was adopted at Reading in 1836.
The first directors had been, however, elected in
1835. Then there were seventeen schools, seven-
teen teachers, and 1,439 scholars. The first public
school buildings were erected in 1838, four in num-
ber, and the illustration given represents the build-
ing at Sixth and Walnut streets.



The High School was organized in 1853, and
the co-education of boys and girls was carried on
from 1857 to 1881. The Boys' High School was
erected in 1883 at a cost of $65,500; the Girls' (iii
place of the Reading Academy) in 1895, at a cost
of $110,000; and the new Boys' High School in
1905, at a cost of $375,000.

The revised char;ter of 1864 for the city, consoli-
dated the five wards into one district, under the
name of the Reading School District. The city
charter of 1874 made provision for school affairs,
but it was not accepted. The district is therefore
a separate organization. Under the provisions of
the Act of 1864, the district is authorized to assess
and collect taxes for school purposes. The manage-
ment of the school affairs by the board since then
has 'been very successful.

A local normal school was organized in 1853.
The first city superintendent was elected in 1867.
COMPARATIVE TABLE, 1854-1908











-3


u


i -


m




aj


ti)


a,








rt


<u


<;


'


J=


rt


Pi


J






■ u


o


X


X






OJ




rt


rt






H


m


H


H


m


1854


38


1,976




$ 10,764


$ 746


1865


83


6,449


.008


26,238


1,791


1875


128


6,328


.015


74,733


6,750


1885


162


7,113


.004


98,000


10,266


1895


233


10,235


.004


145.707


58,047


1908


353


13,869


.004


230,939


64,156



The city superintendent reported
attendance in the schools during the
ruary, 1909:'

Male

High School for Boys 484

High School for Girls

Eighth grade 262

Seventh grade 333

Sixth grade . ; 533

Fifth grade 801

Fourth grade 834

Third grade 799

Second grade .-...., 856

First grade : 1,072

Ungraded schools 34

Normal senior class

Normal junior class

Total 6,008

Evening High 218

Evening Grammar m

Evening Elementary 139

Total 468

Grand Total , 6,476 5,993 12,468

The annual expenditures were reported at $400,-
561 ; of which $196,237 were for teachers' salaries,
and $14,494' for 'books and supplies.

Institutes. — The first County Institute comprising
the teachers of the county was held at Reading in
1867, and annually thereafter.

The first City Institute, comprising only the
teachers of Reading, was held in 1 885 and annually
thereafter.

The Pennsylvania State Educational Association



the following


month of Feb-


Female


Total




484


508


508.


305


567


376


709


483


1,016


658


1,459


847


1,681


783


1,582


810


1,666


978


2,050


3


37


28


28


27


27


5,806


11,814


96


314


54


165


36


175



186



654




GIRLS' HIGH SCHOOL, READING




BOYS' HIGH SCHOOL, READING




PUBLIC SCHOOL BUILDING, ELEVENTH AND PIKE STREETS, READING




ftfiXi!



■ • J i





tt-ii



:*<» IiiS fo



II 1 1 ■ ■ ■



^yg M



I' I



-.«ae«..^='.^.-ii^fc^ ^' ^-




PUBLIC SCHOOL BUILDING, FIFTH AND SPRING STREETS, READING



READING



303



held three meetings or conventions at Reading, in
1863 ; in 1878 ; and in 1905. And to show the won-
derful increase in attendance of the delegates, in
1863 there were only 80 ; in 1878, 348 ; and in 1905,
1,306.

Prof. Samuel A. Baer, of Reading, was the presi-
dent of the Association in 1884; and Prof. E. Mac-
key, of Reading, in 1899.

City School Buildings. — In 1908, the school de-
partment had forty-six buildings which were occu-
pied by schools, and one (formerly the Boys' High
School) for administration purposes. Their total
value, including furniture, was about one and one-
half milHons of dollars. Their situation, value, and
capacity appear in the following table :



BUILDINGS


-^




ft


3— ri


=1




rt


at


i&


rt u w


H 3




^


RW


wU


>««


>f^


Jesse Orr


1


189-0


360


$ 20,000


$ 1,200


Thomas Severn


2


1880


360


15,000


1,200


Ninth & Spruce


2


1896


360


20,000


1,200


Bingaman & Orange.


a


1854


270


15,000


900


J. H. Hagenman ....


3


1875


360


16,000


1,000


Park


3


1898


270


24,000


900


George Lerch


4


1868


450


23,000


1.200


Chestnut Street


5


1890


360


20,000


1,000


Franklin Street . . . •.


5


1868


360


18,000


1,000


Washington Street . .


6


1886


540


27,000


1,800


Ricktown


6


1889


360


18,000


800


Buttonwood & Pear.


6


1897


360


23,000


1,300


High School for Girls.


7


1896


600


125,000


6,000


Lewis Briner


7


1873


360


19,000


1,300


Elm & Madison Ave.


7


1899


180


9,800


400


Administration


8


1883




61.500


600


High School for Boys.


8


1906


1,000


329,000


45,000


Poplar Street


8


1891


360


16,000


1,200


Henry S. Eckert


8


1873


360


16,000


1,200


Elm and Moss


9


1901


500


35,000


1,300


12th & Buttonwood..


9


1895-


360


21,000


1,200


John S. Richards '


10


1872


360


13,000


1,200


Maple & Cotton


10


1904


180


16,800


650


Mulberry Street


11


1892


360


23,000


1,200


Tenth & Green


11


1904


540


40,000


2,000


Mount Penn '.


11


1899


180


13,600


600


Edwin Ziegler


12


1882


360


18,000


1,200


12th & Greenwich . . .


12


1895


360


26,000


1,200


Ninth & Windsor...


12


1900


360


23,600


1,200


Spring & Moss


13


1899


360


23,000


1,000


Eleventh & Pike....


13


1898


360


19,100


1,200


Marion


13
13
13


1870
1889


860
360


16,000
20,000
16,000


800


Site




Twelfth & Windsor.


1,000


Tenth & Union


13


1890


360


21,200


;,200


C. B. McKnig-ht


14


1880


180


6,000


600


Spring & Church


14


1894


180


12,000


600


Site


14
14


1900


360


1,200
25,000




Fifth & Spring


1,200


2d & Oley, No. 1


14


1894


180


9,000


600


2d & Oley, No. 2


14


1898


360


18,000


1,000


J. H. Jacobs


15


1880


180


7,000


400


SchuylkillAve., No. 1,


15


1894


180


10,000


600


SchuylkillAve., No. a.


15


1898


360


21,300


1,200


Douglass & Weiser. .


15


1903


360


23,000


1,200


Site


15
16


1875


360


4,600
15,000




Samuel Frees


1.000


17th & Cotton


16


1884


.180


10,000


600


Sixteenth & Haak. . .


16


1898


360


■ 20,700


1,200


Perkiomen Ave


16


1892


360


38,000


1,200


Total






16,230


$1,381,400
$


$97,450
1,381,400






Total Valuations .




'




$


1,478,850



Private Schools. — Private schools have been car-
ried on at Reading since the beginning of the town-
They were well patronized until 1840, when the
effect of the common system began to be felt. But
the growth of the public system did not cause the
private schools to be abandoned, for patronage of
them has continued to be more or less active. Of
the non-secular class,, there are the Bena^de school
for children, started in 1870; and Mrs. Adele
Ruenzler's, in 1877; Stewart Academy, founded by
J. A. Stewart in 1881, and conducted successfully
by his daughter Anna since his decease, iti 1890;
Inter-State Commercial College, founded by Rev-
Henry Y. Stoner in 1885; Schools of Stenography
by Eteer W. Deck in 1890, by J. T. Kerst in 1898-
and Rev. J. V. George in 1900 ; and L. C. McCann>
The last named has been at Reading since March,
1908; pupils, thirty-six; came from Mahanoy City,
where he had conducted a school for thirteen years.
His place was former School of Commerce (con-
ducted by Strickler & Shoop) and George F. Klein-
ginna's Business College, carried on altogether up-
ward of ten years.

The sectarian schools are Academy of Immacu-
late Heart, founded in 1859 ; St. Peter's Roman
Catholic, in 1859 ; St. John's German Lutheran, in
1865; St. Paul's Roman Catholic, in 1869; St.
Mary's Polish Roman Catholic, in 1895 — all of
which are largely attended and successfully con-
ducted.

Schuylkill Seminary. — The institution was found-
ed by the East Pennsylvania Conference, in the city
of Reading, August 19, 1881, and removed to Fred-
ericksburg, Pa., in September, 1886. The location
of the institution there was due to the liberality
of Col. John H. Lick, a native of the place, by
whose munificence, together with the contribu-
tions of the Conference and of the community,
a large and beautiful structure was erected, iEur-
nished with apparatus, supplies and furniture, and
made attractive by the beautifying of the grounds..
The institution remained at Fredericksburg un-
til the close of the academic year, June 19, 1902.

A few weeks prior to this, the property known
as the Selwyn Hall School, comprising over seven
acres of land at Thirteenth and Exeter streets,
Reading, Pa., was taken under consideration by
the trustees of Schuylkill Seminary as a profit-
able investment and a providential opportunity for
removing the school to Reading. The trustees and
the entire Conference had thought for some time
that the school would have a larger sphere and
greater patronage in the vicinity of a city, made
easily accessible by good railroad facilities. They
accordingly secured an option on the property,
■ and at a meeting of the voting members of the
.East Pennsylvania Conference, held July 1, 1903,
on the proposed site, it was unanimously decided
to purchase the property. The members at the



204



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



same time requested the city of Reading to raise
a certain sum of money needed to purchase the
property and make the necessary repairs. An ac-
tive canvass had been instituted presumptive of
favorable action by the members of the Confer-
ence for the removal of the school. A large por-
tion of the sum had already been subscribed. It
was decided that the canvass should be continued,
the assurance being given that the city would meet
every expectation, thus reflecting great credit up-
on its liberal citizens and thereby showing an in-
tense zeal in the cause of education and the wel-
fare of its promising youth.

Schuylkill Seminary is uniquely located at the
base of Mt. Penn, near Thirteenth and Exeter
streets, Reading. The campus, consisting of nearly
■eight acres, is admirably adapted for school pur-
poses. The excellent tennis courts, the baseball
diamond, and the croquet plot, furnish ample op-
portunity for the necessary outdoor exercise of the
student. On the grounds is a spring of the purest
water. That, in itself, is an invaluable aid to the
institution.

The buildings are three in number, consisting
of the main building, the chapel and the gymna-
sium. In the main building are the office, the li-
brary, class-rooms, the dining-room, dormitories
for ladies, etc. The second' floors of both the
chapel and the gymnasium are used as dormitor-
ies for men. All the buildings are lighted with
electricity, heated with steam and provided with
'hot and cold water. These well-equipped build-
ings, together with the beautiful grounds, make
-the Seminary a very attractive institution. It has
an endowment of $65,000.

The purpose of Schuylkill Seminary is to pre-
pare young men and women for college and for
life. For those who do not intend to enter col-
lege, the courses offer special advantages to those
preparing to enter theological or other professional
schools. Though originally opened as a Seminary
of a higher grade, which nature it still retains, it
was the desire of its founders that it should grad-
ually mature into a college, by raising the standard,
of scholarship for admission, extending its courses
of study, and completing its equipment in the way
of increased apparatus and facilities for instruc-
tion. This plan has met with a marked degree
of public favor, and is now in progress of ful-
fillment.

The Seminary is under the patronage of the
East Pennsylvania Conference of the Evangeli-
cal Association. Bishop S. C. Breyfogel, D. D.,
is president of the trustee board. Rev. W. F.
Teel, Ph. M., is principal.

NEWSPAPERS
From the beginning of the town until 1800, som.e
inhabitants received the Pennsylvania Gazette, pub-



lished at Philadelphia, which gave them foreign
news, and events of surrounding places which oc-
curred weeks before. Local news was not reported.
An occasional letter from Reading was published;
but the important happenings, such as we are now
accustomed to read daily, were not noticed, for
they were communicated by social intercourse at
stores and taverns.

The first newspaper at Reading was issued in
1789, but did not continue long. It was printed
in the German language and was called Der Neue
Unparteiische Readinger Zeitung (The New Impar-
tial Reading Newspaper). The next appeared in
1796. In that year several were begun and one of
them has been published until now, the Reading
Adler. Another, the Weekly Advertiser, was pul>
lished until 1816, when the Berks and Schuylkill
Journal took its place. Afterward, for forty years,
many were issued, but with few exceptions they
were not published many years. They were all
weekly publications, issued on different days of the
week, but mostly on Saturday. Until 1847, the
daily newspaper was not issued, not even suggested.
The first English daily was established in 1858,
and the first Gemian daily in 1868. [For list of
Newspapers of County, see Chapter III.]

ASSOCIATIONS

Associations have occupied a prominent place in
the social life of Reading for over a hundred years.
At first they were few in number, but as the popu-
lation increased a desire to organize bodies of vari-
ous kinds and for different purposes manifested
itself more and more, particularly after the incor-
poration of Reading as a city. Then the secret so-
ciety became very active, and this activity has been
kept up until the present time. They are classified
and treated in the following- order:



Military
Protective
Secret
Financial



Industrial
Literary-
Patriotic
Professional



Musical

Charitable

Religious



MILITARY

The first association at Reading was organized
in 1754 for purposes of defense against the Indians.
It was during the French and Indian war, which
affected this section of Pennsylvania from that time
until 1763. Conrad Weiser was the most promi-
nent military officer. Small companies of men were
constantly quartered here, and the spirit of co-op-
eration was shown until peace was declared and the
Indians departed.

Associations of this character were again organ-
ized in 1774, and they prepared the way for a long
and costly participation in the Revolution. They
became compulsory in 1775 by legislation. The
system, which was established during that trying
.period for eight years, was preserved- and thereby
a mditary spirit became a noteworthy feature of



READING



205



the social life of the people. Whenever a call for
troops was made, they responded with such alac-
rity as to be among the very first of the Nation's
defenders.

From the close of the Revolution until the Civil
war of 1861-65, the "Militia System" was very
active both in the city and county. In 1856 the
militia comprised altogether twenty-four companies
with a total enrollment of 1,463 men, of which
six companies were from Reading with a total en-
rollment of 539 men. At the close of the Civil war,
the military spirit was greatly reduced, but the
system was nevertheless continued by virtue of an
Act passed in 1864 under the name of the "National
Guard of Pennsylvania," with a limited representa-
tion from the city and the county.

Since 1865, there have been three companies,
which were engaged in the Spanish war of 1898,
two from Reading, and one from Hamburg. [See
Chapter VIII.]

Armory. — Capt. H. Melvin Allen, of Company
A, 4th Regiment, N. G. P., revived the subject of
providing an Armory for the National Guard at
Reading. He raised $12,000 by soliciting subscrip-
tions from the business people of Reading and pur-
chased a lot (77 feet by 155 feet) at the northeast
corner of Walnut and Rose streets, and, with the
encouragement of the State authorities, a superior
and commodious building was erected in 1908 and
1909, costing $50,000.

PROTECTIVE

Before 1773, the inhabitants of Reading were
in a primitive state with respect to their ability to
extingfuish fires, but the town was small, the build-
ings were limited and comparatively scattered and
the investments in property were inconsiderable.




FIRE ENGINE



A fire, therefore, seldom, if ever, occasioned great
loss to the community. Leathern buckets were
commonly used in which to carry water from the
nearest pumps for the purpose of extinguishing
fires; and they sufficed for a score of years. But
the progress and increasing compactness of the
town required an improved method. The demand
was satisfied by the introduction of a forcing en-
gine, operated by manual labor, in 1773, when the
Rainbow Fire Company was organized, and it was
used until 1860. Buckets were then not entirely
dispensed with ; they were useful still in filling the



body of the engine with water, from which it was
pumped upon the fire. Water was thus carried until
1831, when the Reading Water Company laid pipes
through the streets for the purpose of supplying
water by gravity. Then the hand engine was placed
at the plug nearest the fire, and water was con-
veyed into it by a short hose. A long hose ex-
tended from the engine to a point near the burn-
ing building, and the water was forced through
it upon the fire.

The steam fire-engine was introduced here in
1860 by the Reading Hose Company, and within
the next few years four additional engines were
added to the Fire Department. The following table
shows the organization of the several companies
and their membership:

FIRE COMPANIES
Company Instituted Members

Rainbow 1773 587

Junior . . ., 1813 690

Reading Hose 1819 432

Neversink 1S29 261

Friendship 1848 620

Liberty 1854 875

Washington Hook & Ladder 1855 386

Keystone Hook & Ladder 1856 187

Hampden 1867 320

Marion 1881 175

Riverside 1890 205

Schuylkill 1892 350

Union 1898 350

Soon after the introduction of the steam fire-
engine, the companies considered the propriety of
forming an association for more readily accom-
plishing the object of their existence. Representa-
tives from eight companies assembled on March
18, 1861, and formed a "Firemen's Union." This
was an ordinary association for four years, com-
posed of five delegates from each company; but
finding its powers inadequate, it was incorporated
on March 15, 1865, under the name of "Firemen's
Union of the City of Reading," and the Union has
since acted under this charter. The management
is vested in a board of trustees, elected by the
Union annually, composed of one member from
each company represented in the Union.

In 1873, the electric fire-alarm was introduced
into the city. Previously, the alarm was sounded
on the bells of the Trinity Lutheran Church for
many years, till 1840 ; then upon the bell of the
Court-House for a period of thirty-three years.
The locality of the fire was indicated by a number
of strokes on the bell to correspond with the num-
ber of the ward where the fire was. Now, the
alarm is given publicly in different sections of
Reading. Alarms are also struck in the buildings
of the respective fire companies.

During 1871 and 1872, there were numerous
false alarms of fire, and these became so annoying
that a remedy had to be provided. Henry W.
Spang advocated the Gamewell fire-alarm system,
and through his efforts councils adopted it in 1873.
The battery, m'^chanical apparatus and switchboard
are located in the City Hall. This system embraces



206



HISTORY OF BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



89 boxes, distributed in seven circuits, connected
with 43 miles of copper wire. The circuits are as
follows :

No. 1 fire-alarm circuit is 7.022 miles long and has
•eighteen alarm boxes, two engine houses and one tower
striker connected with it.

No. 2 fire-alarm circuit is 5.73 miles long and has on it
seventeen fire-alarm boxes, five house gongs, two engine
houses and two tower strikers.

No. 3 fire-alarm circuit is 3.56 miles long and has on it
ten fire-alarm boxes, two engine houses and one tower
■striker.

No. i fire-alarm circuit is 4.48 miles long and has on it
■eleven fire-alarm boxes, two engine houses and one tower
striker.

No. 5 fire-alarm circuit is 2.02 miles long and has on it
seven fire alarm boxes, one office gong, one engine house
and two tower strikers.

No. 6 fire-alarm circuit is 17.19 miles long and has on
it sixteen fire-alarm boxes, one engine house and one
tower striker.

No. 7 fire-alarm circuit is 3.41 miles long and has on it
ten fire-alarm boxes, one engine house and one tower
striker.

The first State convention of the Firemen's Asso-
ciation of Pennsylvania, held at Reading, was in
September, 1881, and the second in October, 1895.
On both occasions there were great parades, the
latter having been particularly distinguished for
the great number of companies and men in line.

Growing out of the Firemen's Union, two asso-
ciations of great utility were organized, the Vol-
unteer Firemen's Association, and the Reading
Firemen's Relief Association, which hold monthly
meetings.

The Veteran Firemen of Reading have also
formed an association which meets regularly every
month. The membership is at present 440 ; presi-



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 51 of 227)