This Week in Reading History

Old Reading Post office on Haven Street – Photo from the Reading Public Digital Collection

We are looking back at the happenings of Reading using the Digital Archives of the Reading Public Library. The following news items were published in the Reading Chronicle.

10 Years Ago – 2013

  • Special Town Meeting voted to place a ballot question in the April local election to approve the cost of the library building project. The project is estimated to cost 14.5 million, with residents responsible for about $9 million after grants. 1/29/2013
  • School Committee voted to approve the Superintendent’s FY14 budget of $39 million. 1/31/2013
  • Reading Co-Operative Bank donated to the Steeple Bell Tower Preservation Fund. The fund was set up to repair the iconic steeple of the Old South Church. 1/31/2013
  • The Maine-based Pizza restaurant Portland Pie is looking to open a location on Haven Street. CPDC will review plans at a public hearing on February 11. 2/1/2013

15 Years Ago – 2008

  • The Staffier Family of Reading met presidential candidate Senator John McCain at the Tilt’N Diner in Tilton, NH. The Staffiers were returning home from a ski weekend and stopped at the diner. 1/28/2008 
  • Reading will hold a street sign lottery for the retired hand-painted wooden street signs this week. The cost to enter the lottery is $25, and open to all. 1/29/2008
  • RMHS Drama Club will present its winter show on the Holocaust, with “The Grey Zone” by Arthur Miller, opening this weekend. 1/30/2008
  • The manager of Home Depot contacted the police after overhearing a group of teens discussing building a pipe bomb with PVC. Teens were planning on making a potato gun. 1/31/2008

25 Years Ago – 1998

  • A winter walk at Ipswich River, led by resident Dave Williams, will be held tomorrow. Dress for the weather, and boots are recommended. 1/30/1998
  • A busy weekend for Reading Police – three teens were charged with possession of marijuana. A 39-year-old woman was charged with OUI after failing a field sobriety test on Main Street. A 38-year-old man failed a field sobriety test on Washington street. 2/2/1998
  • Town Manager Hechenbleikner received high marks in his review from the Board of Selectmen. The board noted Hechenbleikner works extremely hard and should delegate to other town staff more. 2/3/98
  • Nomination papers for the March 24, 1998, local election have closed. A six-way race has developed with Jacalyn Wallace, Roberta D’Antona, George C. Hines, Harvey (Pete) Dahl, Robert Mandell, and Mark Jackson battling it out for two seats. 2/4/1998

50 Years Ago – 1973 

  • Reading marked the ceasefire in Vietnam at 7pm last Saturday with the sounding of the wire whistle and ringing of church bells. 2/1/1973
  • St. Agnes Rectory was robbed at gunpoint for $780 early Monday morning. Father McGowan had difficulty reporting the robbery to the police department as the phone lines were overwhelmed with calls from parents and students asking if the snowstorm canceled school. School was canceled to snow, and the public was reminded to listen to the radio for cancellation notices. 2/1/1973
  • School Committee voted to accept the one-year contract for teachers salaries for the 1973-74 school year. Teachers will receive a  general 4.4% raise on top of a 2.8% step increase. 2/1/1973
  • Town Counsel Conors and Fire Chief Mitchell appeared in court to charge the owner of Benny’s gas station and store at 168 Lowell Street for failure to comply with a court order. The area needs to be cleaned up, old fuel tanks removed, and battered buildings need to be secured. 2/1/1973
  • Buildings at the former Bear Hill Nike site had been vandalized beyond repair and are now in the process of being demolished by Public Works crews. 2/1/1973

75 Years Ago – 1948

  • Candidates needed for Town Meeting. Only five of the current 60 members have informed the town clerk of their intention to run for re-election. 1/29/1948
  • The N.B.A. (Neighborhood Better Association) will place a ballot question before voters to establish the town manager system of government. 1/29/1948
  • Superintendent of Public Works Welsh says snow removal just for January 1948 cost $21,512, more than the entire year of 1947. 1/29/1948
  • The School Committee has canceled the February winter vacation to make up for missed snow days. State law requires junior and senior high school students to attend school for 180 days. Elementary grades are required to attend 160 days. 1/29/1948

100 Years Ago – 1923

  • A truck belonging to Libby & French of Boston skidded on ice in front of the residence of H.W. Fellows, 389 Main Street. The truck overturned on the train tracks and strewn groceries in the roadway. The Reading-Lawrence line service was interrupted until late in the evening. 2/2/1923
  • The Overseers of Poor Will will now be known as the Board of Public Welfare. 2/2/1923
  • Simpkins Market at 37 Haven Street announces Saturday specials. Ham 28c lb, hamburg 12c lb, legs of lamb 38c lb. Native fowl and chickens. Free delivery. 2/2/1923
  • Edgar O. Dewey was appointed Postmaster of Reading Saturday night by Poster General Hubert Work. 2/2/1923
  • Reading Rubber Mills ran out of coal this past Saturday and had to close. Two rail cars of coal arrived Monday. 2/2/1923
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