Momentum Builds for Reading 375

As we count down to the kick off of Reading 375, several Reading 375 events are enjoying enthusiastic community support. Full details about all these events can be found at reading375.com.

A Concert for Reading

On June 1 at 3:00, come to the RMHS Performing Arts Center for A Concert for Reading, produced by William Endslow and featuring the Reading Symphony Orchestra and Reading Community Singers. According to Ace Foulds, ticket distribution has been brisk. “There’s a lot of excitement about Reading 375, and both the Reading Symphony Orchestra and Reading Community Singers have a tremendous following.” While hundreds of tickets have already been reserved, there are still tickets available. Tickets are FREE, but you need a ticket to gain entry to the concert. You can pick up your tickets at RCTV Studios, the Clerk’s Office at Town Hall, and at Whitelam Books.

Paint the Town

Beginning on May 31, approximately 40 original works of art, all created by local artists and inspired by Reading, will be on display at venues around town. You can join the artists at a reception on Wednesday, June 5 at 6 PM at the Pleasant Street Senior Center. You can also enjoy the artwork at the following venues during the two week Reading 375 Celebration from May 31 – June 15:

  • Pleasant Street Senior Center
  • Town Hall
  • Reading Public Library
  • Goodhearts
  • Caffe Nero
  • Simms Jewelers
  • Whitelam Books
  • Northern Bank
  • Fusion Café
  • Mane 565
  • RCTV
  • Atlantic Framing
  • J & B Crosby & Co.
  • Edward Jones
  • Universal Financial Corp.
  • Middlesex Animal Hospital

Tavern Events

On June 7 and 8, the public is invited to visit the Parker Tavern for two special evenings. On the evening of Friday, June 7 journey to our colonial past at Tavern at the Tavern. On the evening of Saturday, June 8, celebrate Reading 375 in style at Revelry at the Tavern. According to Reading 375 Steering Committee member Catie Robertson, “We’ve had a fantastic response to these two tavern events. A large portion of our tickets were sold in the first few days. Ticket inventory is limited. If folks want to go to these events they should reserve their tickets today.” Tickets to Tavern at the Tavern and Revelry at the Tavern cost $37.50 each and are available at reading375.com.

On the afternoon of Saturday, June 8, head to Washington Park for a double-header of Vintage Baseball – where the players will use the uniforms, equipment, and rules that would have been typical in the mid-1800s. First pitch is at noon and the game is free to watch – bring your own lawn chairs and blankets. Baseball-themed refreshments will be available for sale a short walk away under the tent at Parker Tavern beginning at 11:00. 

PorchFest

Enjoy an afternoon of free music on Saturday, June 8 on porches and front lawns all over Reading. A wide variety of music will be represented…from bluegrass to punk to rock. According to event organizers Ace and Alan Foulds, “We’re thrilled with the response. We were hoping to get 25 musical acts to perform at PorchFest. We’re up to 35 and growing every day.” 

If This House Could Talk

During the two-week Reading 375 celebration, residents will notice “If This House Could Talk” signs on lawns throughout the community. On these signs, homeowners will share an interesting tidbit or two about their home. Event organizer Sarah Brukilacchio says the response has been tremendous: “We have around 70 local homes and businesses signed up. Once people realized how easy it was to participate, the registrations started pouring in.” Signs are still available at RCTV Studios or for delivery to your home while supplies last. You are encouraged to register your home to participate today at reading375.com

Dog Parade

The Reading 375 Dog Parade will take place on Saturday, June 15 at 2:30 at the Wood End Elementary School. “We are so excited to have an event just for the dogs of Reading,” according to event organizer Marcel Dubois. Dogs will receive a commemorative Reading 375 bandana to wear and keep. Registration is required for this event and costs $10. You can register your dog at reading375.com. Proof of current rabies vaccine and dog license is required to attend this event. By registering for the 375 Dog Parade either at reading375.com or in person on the day of the event, you are certifying that your dog is registered in the State of Massachusetts and up to date on their rabies vaccine.

Reading 375 kicks-off on May 31 at 7 PM on the Town Common

Don’t be late – come see the JUMBOTRON, live music, tree illumination, and more surprises. Then head downtown and stop at all the venues with purple balloons to enjoy special events and discounts at your favorite local restaurants, businesses, organizations, and churches. Overflow event parking is available at the Train Depot.

Opening Night Friday, May 31

Opening Night Friday, May 31

Opening Night of Reading 375 is almost here! 

The two-week celebration of our town’s 375th anniversary kicks off in style on Friday, May 31 at 7:00 on the Reading Common.  Join your friends and neighbors for a special celebration of Reading.  There will be live music, a JUMBOTRON with an original video production highlighting Reading’s vibrant celebration history, an illumination of the tree lights which will stay lit for the two-week anniversary celebration, and just a couple more surprises.

After the ceremony on the Common, spend some time strolling downtown Reading, making sure to stop in every location decorated with purple balloons.  Local organizations, churches, and businesses are participating in Reading 375 Opening Night in a wide variety of ways.  Folks wearing a Reading 375 pin or t-shirt can enjoy:

    • Ice cream sundae bar
    • Discounts and specials on food at your favorite local restaurants
    • Discounts and specials on merchandise at local businesses
    • Wine tasting
    • Dance and musical performances
    • So much more

Does your downtown business want to participate?  It’s not too late.  Send an email to info@reading375.com to learn how you can join the celebration.

Get your Reading 375 t-shirt or pin before Opening Night.  Commemorative Reading 375-anniversary t-shirts are available for $20 at Reading Trophy and Shirt and RCTV Studios.  Limited edition Reading 375 pins are available at Whitelam Books, Reading Cooperative Bank, The Town Clerk’s Office at Town Hall, and RCTV Studios for $3.75.  T-shirts and pins will also be for sale at the Reading 375 Tent on Opening Night.

Also kicking off on May 31 is Roaming Reading, a two-week long app-based scavenger hunt sponsored by Reading Cooperative Bank in honor of Reading 375.  Download the free app to your phone, and start tackling the fun challenges beginning on May 31.  Reading Cooperative Bank is providing $1,500 in prizes!  For full details and rules, see: www.reading375.com/reading-day/roaming-reading/

For a full list of all Reading 375 events, check out Reading375.com

It’s time to join the party.  Reading 375 Opening Night is Friday, May 31 at 7:00 on the Town Common.  Overflow event parking is available at the Train Depot.  Don’t miss out on this once-in-a-generation event.

Reading 375 is a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization whose goal is to bring our community together to celebrate Reading’s 375th anniversary in 2019.  Events will occur over a two week period, from May 31 – June 15, and will include local artists and musicians, architecture unique to Reading, and fun community gatherings.  The Reading 375 Steering Committee hopes to create a town-wide celebration of Reading’s rich history and exciting future.  To stay up to date, follow Reading 375 on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and check out reading375.com.

Giant Hot Air Balloon to Appear at Reading375 Celebration

It’s a bird; it’s a plane; it’s a giant, seven-story-tall hot-air balloon!

The red, white and blue RE/MAX hot air balloon, 70 feet tall and representing the worldwide RE/MAX network’s “Above the Crowd!®” philosophy of service, will tether (weather permitting) at the Birch Meadow Elementary School, 27 Arthur B Lord Dr., Reading, on Saturday, June 15 from 6 – 8 p.m.

The RE/MAX Balloon visit is sponsored by RE/MAX Encore, as part of the Reading375 anniversary celebration.

RE/MAX has the world’s largest fleet of hot air balloons, scheduling appearances at community events, office openings, and educational activities across the globe. The most recognized symbol in real estate, and one of the Top 10 most instantly recognized corporate logos in the world, the hot air balloon is symbolic of superior service, and the freedom RE/MAX Encore agents have in developing their own business.

“We’re encouraging kids to bring their parents, and parents to bring their cameras,” Smith continued. “The balloon pilot is a skilled aviator but is also a great entertainer and educator. He’ll gather the kids around to demonstrate the mechanisms that launch and navigate the balloon, as well as a brief history of mankind’s progress in achieving powered flight.”

For more information on the balloon appearance, or for questions on residential, commercial or investment real estate, contact Karen Gately Herrick, RE/MAX Encore at 781-640-7070. For more information about Reading375 events, visit Reading375.comThe RE/MAX franchise network is a global real estate system with nearly 7,000 independently owned offices engaging over 100,000 member sales associates who lead the industry in professional designations, experience, and production while providing real estate services in residential, commercial, referral, relocation, and asset management. Local community involvement is important to RE/MAX members who participate in thousands of local charitable causes and have raised more than $85 million for Children’s Miracle Network. RE/MAX is also a major sponsor of the Komen Race for the Cure

Images of America: Reading

A Huge Success

Local authors Ginny and Everett Blodgett faced a standing room only crowd at RCTV Studios on Monday, May 13 when they released their new book: Images of America: Reading. The crowd of approximately one hundred included students, parents, local elected officials, and longtime friends of the Blodgetts.  

The authors were introduced by Alan Foulds, Vice Chair of Reading 375 and Chair of the Reading 350th celebration 25 years ago.  Mr. Foulds explained that Images of America: Reading takes its place on the bookshelf of Reading history, alongside volumes published at celebrations as early as 1844.

During a short presentation the authors shared some of the fascinating historical facts described in their new book.  Audience members, many of whom had just purchased their copy of Images of America: Reading, could be seen leafing through their books during the presentation.

The authors hosted a book signing after their short talk, and the line stretched into the next room.  Audience members enjoyed cake and socializing while waiting for a chance to meet the authors and get their signatures.

Phil Rushworth, Chair of the Reading 375 Committee, was thrilled with the turn out.  “It is so exciting to see such support for this book.  This is a town that celebrates our history. We’re more excited than ever about Reading 375, which kicks off on the Town Common on Friday, May 31 at 7:00.”

Images of America: Reading is $21.99, payable by cash or check made out to Virginia Blodgett. Payment will be accepted on receipt of the book.  Profits from sale of the book are being donated to Reading 375, the Antiquarian Society (Parker Tavern), and conservation of some of Reading’s historical artifacts.

In coordination with the Reading Historical Commission and the Reading 375 Steering Committee, there will also be a “bundle” available for $45.00, which includes Images of America: Reading, At Wood End (published in 1994 for Reading’s 350th anniversary), and a commemorative Reading 375 pin.  All proceeds from the sale of At Wood End will go to the Preservation section of the Reading Celebration Trust.

Copies of Images of America: Reading will be available for sale on Saturday, May 18 from 9 – 1 on the Reading Common at the Reading Garden Club annual plant sale, at many of the Reading 375 events, or by contacting the authors at evblodgett@comcast.net.  

Reading 375 Needs You!

Be a part of history. Sign up here to help Reading 375 create a celebration for the ages. Check our Events page to see if there is something specific that interests you or just volunteer your talent and time at large. We will find a role to your liking.

Get Involved

Sign up to help with the Reading Business Promotion: May 15 
https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0a48a4ac2da7ff2-reading

Sign up to help with an Adopt-an-Island Garden: May 15 
https://www.signupgenius.com/go/8050f45a8a822aafa7-gardeners

Sign up to help with the Concert for Reading: June 1 https://www.signupgenius.com/go/8050f45a8a822aafa7-aconcert

Sign up to help with the Reading 375 Dog Parade: June 15 
https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e084ca9ab2ba4f49-reading

A Concert for Reading

Saturday, June 1

You are cordially invited to attend a celebration of music, song, and dance celebrating the 375th anniversary of Reading. A Concert for Reading will take place on Saturday, June 1 at 3:00 at the William E. Endslow Performing Arts Center at Reading Memorial High School. Produced and hosted by William E. Endslow, the concert features

  • the Reading Community Singers under the direction of Beth Mosier
  • the Reading Symphony Orchestra under the direction of George Orgata
  • RMHS and Syracuse University graduate and New York City Performer Stephen Gordon
  • RHMS and Salem State University Dance Major Graduate Lyndsey McGovern
  • Brother and sister folk-pop-Irish act Caitlin and Patrick Beckman
  • An amazing band representing the BeatHeart Foundation

William Endslow says, “It was such an honor to be asked to coordinate the Concert For Reading as a part of the 375th celebration. The town has been a huge part of my life after teaching here for 31 years and continuing each summer with my Five Star Theater program. Reading has so much talent and so many wonderful organizations that support the Arts. This concert is a wonderful opportunity to share some of that amazing talent with the citizens of Reading.”

This concert promises to be the musical event of the year. Tickets are free, but a ticket is necessary for entrance to the concert. Tickets are available at RCTV Studios at 557 Main Street (open Tues – Thurs 10 – 9; Fri 10 – 6; Sat 10 – 12).

About Reading 375: Reading 375 is a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization whose goal is to bring our community together to celebrate Reading’s 375th anniversary in 2019. Events will occur over a two-week period, from May 31 – June 15, and will include local artists and musicians, architecture unique to Reading, and fun community gatherings. The Reading 375 Steering Committee hopes to create a town-wide celebration of Reading’s rich history and exciting future. Commemorative anniversary t-shirts are available at Reading Trophy and Shirt and RCTV Studios. Limited edition Reading375 pins are available at Whitelam Books, Reading Cooperative Bank, The Town Clerk’s Office at Town Hall, and RCTV Studios for $3.75. To learn more and stay informed, like and follow Reading 375 on Facebook and check out reading375.com.

Reading 375 Dog Parade

June 15

The Reading 375 Committee is delighted to announce Reading’s first ever Dog Parade. It will be a historic event – the largest gathering of K-9s in Reading’s history. Is your dog an important part of your family? Then you don’t want to miss out.

Event organizer Marcel Dubois is looking forward to the Dog Parade: “Dogs in Reading or any community play an important role because they can bring families closer together. Reading is a dog-friendly town. An event like the Reading 375 Dog Parade will bring dog lovers throughout Reading together to share that same feeling with other residents throughout the community.”

Lyla, a mini-Australian Shepard, sports the Reading 375 bandana that all dogs who register for the Reading 375 Dog Parade will receive. Lyla belongs to Marcel Dubois, who is organizing the Reading 375 Dog Parade.

As to what inspired the idea of including a Dog Parade as part of the Reading 375 festivities, Marcel says, “I love dogs and produce a show for RCTV Studios called K9 Tails, which you can learn more about at k9tails.com. In conversations with the Reading 375 Steering Committee, there was a lot of enthusiasm for an event just for the dogs of Reading.”

The Reading 375 Dog Parade will include group photos and interviews, a parade around the soccer field, and trail walks in the Town Forest. K-9 Tails K9Tails.com and RCTV will be there to capture the event, so your dog could end up on TV!

All dogs who register will be given a commemorative Reading 375 bandana to wear and keep. All dogs who participate must be licensed, leashed, and accompanied by their owner at all times.

Reading 375

Dog Parade

Saturday, June 15 2:30 pm

Wood End School

IMPORTANT: REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED FOR THIS EVENT

Register online at reading375.com/dog-parade/

Registration Fee: $10

***Proof of current rabies vaccine and dog license is required to attend this event.  By registering for the Reading 375 Dog Parade either here or on the day of the event, you are certifying that your dog is registered in the State of Massachusetts and up to date on their rabies vaccine.***

Horace Wadlin: Reading’s Renaissance man of the late 19th & early 20th century

This article is part of a series in the Daily Times Chronicle for Reading’s 375th Anniversary Historical Essay Project.

By Peggy White

In proper parlance, Horace Greely Wadlin might be called a professional polymath, but in the late19th and early 20th centuries, he was known as Reading’s Renaissance Man. His list of titles, activities, and accomplishments is truly amazing.

Born in Wakefield in 1851, he moved with his family to Reading and was raised in a farmhouse at the intersection Washington and Prescott Streets. The house is still there, though no longer a farmstead, and the block has been filled in with other homes, including one of Wadlin’s own design.

Horace G. Wadlin

Horace attended and graduated from the Reading school system (with additional private tutoring), then went on to work for a few – very few – years at architectural firms in Salem and Boston. In 1875, with no apparent degree in architecture, he opened, at 24, an architectural firm in Boston and Reading. He soon after married Ella Butterfield of Wilmington, then got an early start as a Town Father with his election to the School Committee. This was the beginning of a career in public life which would span the next 50 years.

Wadlin’s early architectural commissions were for Queen Anne and Stick style homes near the center of town. He also designed the Union St. and Prospect St. schools which have since been demolished. The Prospect St. School has an especially interesting history. An early photo shows a substantial one-story building with an opulent outhouse, two entrances, of course. When additional room was needed, Wadlin devised a way to raise the building and install a new floor underneath.

An important early commission was what is now known as the Pleasant Street Center. Called the Town Building, the structure originally housed police (jails), fire (trucks) and municipal services in a single structure, a daunting task for any architect. It serves today, a spacious, light-filled gift from the past from a long-passed Reading genius.

While tending to business as an architect, Wadlin was developing a solid reputation as an author, lecturer, historian, lay preacher, theologian and effective member of Town boards and local organizations. One thing led to another, and he took on additional roles as a statistician and library director.

Looking at Wadlin’s life, some have assumed that he strayed from one interest to the next, dropping one job to start another. Not so! He did it all, and all at once, without having a college diploma. No wonder a prestigious university elected to award him an honorary doctorate.

Continue reading “Horace Wadlin: Reading’s Renaissance man of the late 19th & early 20th century”

A Reading Woman Who Stepped Up and Out

THIS ARTICLE IS PART OF A SERIES IN THE DAILY TIMES CHRONICLE FOR READING’S 375TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORICAL ESSAY PROJECT.

By Virginia Adams

As Reading was being settled in the mid-1600s, women’s roles were clearly defined by the mores of the time. Women were denied the right to own property and sometimes were considered property themselves. The right to vote was more than 200 years into the future. Women were generally bound to the household by multiple pregnancies, child rearing, and innumerable household chores.

The most common causes of death for women were childbirth and fatal burns resulting from fire igniting their clothing. Women tended fires within the typical huge cooking fireplaces found in early central chimney houses. Their clothing reached the floor and was subject to ignition from the coals that lay on the firebox floor when they reached into the cooking area. The “home fires” were often a death trap. 

The necessity of a large brood of children was driven by the need for a labor force to sustain a farm. Thomas Bancroft (the 4th) of West St. and his wife had eight children, which was typical for the mid – 1700’s. Although rarely acknowledged, the family’s survival and success was likely based on the lady of the house. 

In the 1790s, towns were obliged to provide schooling to be in compliance with a Legislative law. Reading voted to hold sessions of English school and grammar school at its two schoolhouses, simultaneously voting not to raise any funds to hire school dames. The male dominance of schoolmasters ended in 1793; women were employed and on the pay roles thereafter. (Eaton’s, Genealogical History) At last, women had found a source of paid employment.

Continue reading “A Reading Woman Who Stepped Up and Out”