Reading 375 News

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. 

What’s with all the Purple?

In the years leading up to Reading’s last birthday bash – the 350th anniversary of 1994 – the steering committee held a contest to choose a logo. Judith Hunt Gabriel won the contest with a logo done in purple pen. The choice of design was unanimous, but the color was another thing. Some in the group were happy with the symbol of the celebration as presented, while others argued that the design was great, but maybe a different color would be more fitting. No one could quite agree on what color that would be though.

Meanwhile, there was a marketing subcommittee working on developing a look and feel for the anniversary as a whole. Discussed were font styles, sizes and, of course, color. The sub-group wanted to develop a uniform and original theme that would become so entwined with the celebration that it screamed “350th.”

The matter was settled for both groups in serendipitous fashion. Deep in the records of the 250th celebration from a century before was found one line that said: “The Bank Building was adorned in purple felt bunting …”

After that, there was no more discussion. Purple it was, throughout those celebratory two weeks in 1994, and purple it is for 2019.

Let’s keep up the tradition. During the first two weeks of June, look for the color purple all around town. You and your family can join in the celebration – decorate your house in purple lights, hang out some purple bunting, plant purple flowers, and wear your purple Reading 375 t-shirt proudly this spring.

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, and RCTV Studios for $3.75. To learn more and stay informed, like and follow Reading 375 on Facebook and check out our website at reading375.com.

Reading 375 Enjoys Support from The Quannapowitt Players

The Reading 375 Committee is thrilled to partner with The Quannapowitt Players to celebrate our town’s 375th anniversary.

From March 22 – April 6, come out and enjoy the powerful, touching play “Mothers and Sons.” Reading 375 t-shirts and commemorative pins will be on sale in the lobby before and after the show and at intermission.

The Quannapowitt Players are also participating in PorchFest, an afternoon of outdoor music on June 8 that is part of the Reading 375 celebrations. You can learn more about PorchFest, and all of the Reading 375 celebration on our website: reading375.com.

The Quannapowitt Players’ final production of the season is a truly hysterical comedy, “Funny Money,“ which will run from May 17 – June 1. Enjoy $5 off their ticket price by using your Reading 375 commemorative pin!  Make a reservation by calling the Box Office at 781-942-2212 and bring your 375th to confirm your reservation.  Pins are available at Whitelam Books, The Reading Cooperative Bank, and RCTV Studios.

Reading 375 is grateful for the support of The Quannapowitt Players.

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 Reading 375 pins are available at Whitelam Books, Reading Cooperative Bank, and RCTV Studios for $3.75. To learn more and stay informed, like and follow Reading 375 on Facebook and check out our website at reading375.com.

If This House Could Talk Workshop This Saturday

As part of the Reading 375 celebration this spring, Reading home and business owners are invited to participate in “If This House Could Talk,” a celebration of the original stories our homes tell. Your home does NOT need to be historically significant or have had a famous historical figure live there, to participate. Every home has a story – tell us yours!

Here’s how it works. You find out something interesting about your home or business in Reading. Reading 375 will supply a custom blank sign, and you supply the story of YOUR home or business. You write just four or five sentences telling an interesting tidbit, which could be historical, personal, or public about your building or the people inside it. You then place the sign outside your home or business during the Reading 375 celebrations from May 31 – June 15. As people walk by, they will read the story of your home – who lived there before? Has it been renovated? Is there something special about its architecture? Is there a legend of a ghost? Why did you choose this particular home? The only limit is your imagination.

For help investigating the history of your house, the Friends of Parker Tavern will host a workshop this Saturday, March 30th from 9:30 am – 12 pm. Space is limited, so RSVP to hold your spot by emailing parkertavern325@gmail.com. If you are unable to attend this workshop, the Friends of Parker Tavern are happy to provide materials on how to research your home.

To learn more about If This House Could Talk, and to register your home or business to participate, check out reading375.com.

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 Reading 375 pins are available at Whitelam Books, Reading Cooperative Bank, and RCTV Studios for $3.75. To learn more and stay informed, like and follow Reading 375 on Facebook and check out our website at reading375.com.


PorchFest Coming to Reading in 2019!

What do Arlington, Somerville, Melrose, and Cambridge all have that Reading doesn’t? PorchFest! But thanks to some dedicated local volunteers, that’s all going to change. As part of the Reading 375 Anniversary Celebrations, Reading will be hosting its first ever PorchFest on Saturday, June 8.

PorchFest is an afternoon of live music played outdoors all over town. Take a stroll through Reading on Saturday, June 8, in any neighborhood, and you might hear rock and roll, pop, folk, bluegrass, or acapella singing. PorchFest is open to all residents, all musicians, and is FREE.

Alan Foulds has spearheaded the effort to bring PorchFest to Reading. When asked what gave him the idea, he replied, “I have seen how it brings people together in other towns and cities. Not only do you get to hear a big variety of music, but it makes you walk around in your own community, getting to know people and places right near home. When we began planning for the upcoming 375th anniversary of Reading it seemed a perfect fit.”

All residents are invited to participate and sign-ups are happening now. Local musicians and bands are invited to perform. Any resident with a great porch, front lawn, or driveway is invited to host a musical act at your home for a couple of hours on June 8. For full details and to sign-up to participate, visit reading375.com and click on “PorchFest.”

Mark your calendars, Reading. On June 8 you’re going to want to pop the babies in strollers and get those older kids out for a nice walk through Reading neighborhoods to hear some great music. Grab your spouse, grab your neighbors, and make an afternoon of it. At PorchFest, our town will come together to celebrate music, community, and our town’s 375th anniversary. 

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 Reading 375 pins are available at Whitelam Books, Reading Cooperative Bank, and RCTV Studios for $3.75. To learn more and stay informed, like and follow Reading 375 on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/reading375/) and check out our website at reading375.com.

Reading 375 Celebration

Our town turns 375 years old in 2019, and from May 31 – June 15 expect Reading to be buzzing with excitement, energy, and tons of fun events. Reading 375 Steering Committee Chair Phil Rushworth says, “A lot of people have been working really hard over the past year to pull off a massive celebration. We hope everyone comes out to enjoy it.”

Planned Reading 375 Events Include

Friday, May 31 

Opening Ceremonies on the Common

Saturday, June 1

A Concert for Reading featuring the Reading Symphony Orchestra and Reading Community Singers

Friday, June 7  

Tavern at the Tavern Period music and libations at the Parker Tavern

Saturday, June 8  

Our Town, Your Story at the Reading Public Library

PorchFest – Music on porches and yards all across town

Vintage Baseball – 19th-century baseball at Washington Park

Clubhouse at the Tavern – Family friendly baseball refreshments and entertainment at the Parker Tavern

Revelry at the Tavern – An evening of cocktails, music, and entertainment

Wednesday, June 12 

Reading Rotary Taste of Metro North

Saturday, June 15 – Reading Day!

Reading Lions Club Friends and Family Day

Reading 375 Dog Parade

Reading Recreation/YMCA activities

Food Trucks

Reading Community Concert Band sponsored by FORR

Fireworks

In addition to all these events, there are several special activities that will be happening throughout the two-week celebration period, including:

Paint the Town – Town-wide Art Show

If This House Could Talk – Every dwelling has a story. See what makes Reading homes and businesses unique, and tell us what’s special about yours.

Reading Public Library Turns 150

Reading Scavenger Hunt – App-driven game sponsored by the Reading Cooperative Bank

In coordination with the celebration, local historians Ginny and Everett Blodgett have published a new book: Images of America: Reading. A book launch party will be held on May 13 at 7:00 pm at RCTV Studios. 

Select Board Chair Andy Friedmann is looking forward to the celebration. “I applaud the work done by so many local volunteers to create a fantastic two-week celebration of our town. I’m looking forward to the entire community coming together to celebrate.”

All residents are invited to show their Reading pride by sporting a commemorative Reading 375 t-shirt, which are available at Reading Trophy and Shirt and RCTV Studios for $20. Limited edition Reading 375 pins are available at Whitelam Books, Reading Cooperative Bank, and RCTV Studios for $3.75. Proceeds will go to support the celebration.

Reading residents are encouraged to follow Reading 375 on Facebook for updates on events and celebrations. For a full list of events, check out reading375.com.