Reading 375 News

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”

Local Authors Publish New Book In Honor of Reading 375

Ginny and Everett Blodgett, longtime Reading residents and authors of Images of America: Reading.

by Jeanne Borawski on behalf of the Reading 375 Committee

As part of the Reading 375 Celebrations this spring, local authors Ginny and Everett Blodgett have written a new book:  Images of America: Reading.  The book, which took over a year to compile and write, is published by Arcadia Publishing Company and will be on sale beginning May 13.

Ginny and Everett are well known in Reading.  Both retired teachers, they have been married for 47 years.  They have been collecting Reading maps, photos, objects, books, town reports, and street lists for decades.  According to Everett, they’ve been thinking about a book for a long time.  The upcoming Reading 375-anniversary celebration prompted them to action.

Everett and Ginny were involved with a team in the writing and publishing of At Wood End, which was published in 1994 to coincide with Reading’s 350th celebration.  Ginny notes that “this new book has a format of images and captions, with over 200 photographs that do not repeat from At Wood End. We included photos of historic items we have collected as a jumping off point to discuss various historically important and interesting people and events in Reading.”  Everett adds, “Images of America: Reading is the kind of book you can flip through and enjoy in sections or even just a picture at a time. It doesn’t have to be read all at once.”

When asked what prompted them to become so interested in local history, Ginny says, “We’ve always been interested in learning more about the town in which we live.”  She adds that she knows people in town drive by fascinating, historically important areas and don’t realize what they are looking at.  She feels the new book will help educate other Reading residents about our town’s history.  She adds that local history is “just so interesting.”  Everett knows that many parents in Reading are invested in education and travel.  “They bring their kids all over the world and to historically important sights around our country.  We want to make sure they realize there are fascinating, important historical areas right here in Reading.”  He points to Parker Tavern, Reading’s oldest structure built in 1694, as a prime example.  Ginny and Everett have tremendous gratitude for the local history buffs who have come before them.  “People handed down so much important historical knowledge to us,” Ginny says.  “We feel the need to pass it along to other folks in Reading.”

When asked what the most interesting tidbit they learned while writing the book, the Blodgetts are coy.  Ginny explains, “We made a fascinating new discovery about what is commonly referred to as the 1795 Reading map.”  Everett jumps in, “But if you want to know what it is – you have to read the book!”  Both Blodgetts agree that working with a proof editor, and getting the language just right, was the most challenging aspect of writing this book.  Disagreements over capitalization and punctuation were not uncommon throughout the process.  Everett says the best part of writing the book was, “the years we spent collecting important historical artifacts from Reading and finding new history to share.”

Asked how the world has changed over the twenty-five years since the Reading 350th celebration, Ginny muses that people seem busier.  With so many people working outside of Reading, and family responsibilities, it can be hard for people to find the time to learn about, and therefore support, local history.

After more than a year of work, the Blodgetts are hoping for a positive reaction from the Reading community.  Images of America: Reading includes a variety of stories, photographs, and historical artifacts.  “There’s something for everyone,” according to Everett.  Ginny believes it would be a great book for someone new to town, to help them understand the history of the community they are joining.  There’s another important motivation for people to purchase this book, Everett explains: “We are dedicating the profits from sales of this book to the Reading 375 celebration, Parker Tavern, and conservation of some Reading artifacts.”  Both authors are hopeful that Reading residents will be motivated to purchase this book as a way of supporting these important causes and continuing their tradition of promoting and protecting Reading’s history.

We concluded our interview with a question.  What makes Reading special?  Ginny doesn’t hesitate.  “It’s the people.  We love Reading and its history, but what makes Reading Reading is the people who live here.”  Everett adds, “we’ve been so fortunate to make so many friends in Reading over the years.  We love it here.”

Images of America: Reading, by Ginny and Everett Blodgett, will be on sale beginning May 13.  It costs $21.99, payable by cash or check made out to Virginia Blodgett.  You can reserve a copy by emailing evblodgett@comcast.net.  Payment will be accepted upon receipt of the book.  Profits will benefit Reading 375, Parker Tavern, and local conservation.  

Images of America: Reading will be on sale beginning on May 13 with a book release event at RCTV (see Reading375.com to sign up), at the Garden Club Plant Sale on May 18, at Reading 375 events between May 31 and June 15, and by contacting the authors.