Click the tabs below to take a walk through The Borough of Wyomissing’s rich history.
- EARLY HISTORY
- HISTORY TO 2001
- THEN & NOW - BOROUGH ROAD CREW
The original inhabitants of Wyomissing were Indians from the Lenni Lenape tribe who lived along the banks of the Wyomissing Creek. The word Wyomissing is a phonetically derived the Indian name for the area whose exact meaning is unknown, but most likely means “a place of flats” which makes much sense considering how flat Wyomissing is compared to nearby surrounding areas. Much of Berks County was transfered from the Indians to William Penn in 1685. Title to the land that much of Wyomissing is built upon was in two parcels, an eastern tract and a western tract, which were divided by a northwesterly line in the vicinity of Lake Avenue. One of the earliest industries in the area was the Evans Grist Mill. This building still stands at the corner of Old Mill Road and Old Wyomissing Road.
In 1896 present day Wyomissing began to take form when Thomas P. Merritt (a Reading lumber dealer) acquired six hundred acres. Albert Thalheimer, David H. Keiser, Marthias Mengel, and Levi W. Mengel joined Thomas R. Merrit in organizing the Reading Suburban Real Estate Company. Shortly afterwords Wyomissing Industries, manufacturer of textile machinery, was established by the firm of Thun & Janssen along the Reading Railroad just west of Van Reed Road (today named Park Road). This spured development and soon there were many developers working to build Wyomissing.
In 1904 and 1905, Thun and Janssen called town meetings to discuss setting up a Borough government. Eventually petitions were filed with the courts for the establishment of a Borough, signed by 61 resident property owners and 39 non-resident property owners.
On July 2, 1906, the court issued the final decree of the incorporation of the Borough of Wyomissing.
The first officers of the Borough were:
- Burgess: Bertrand H. Farr
- Judge of Election: Charles H. Huber
- Council Members:
- Ferdinad Thun
- Henry Janssen
- Henry Y. Stoner
- John N. Brennan
- George W. Endy
- R. R. Snyder
- Henry M. Stetler
- Eugene Bowers
- George Brossman
- Secretary: Charles H. Huber
- Solicitor: Frederick W. Nicholls
- Auditor: Allen V. Steffy
- Constable: Jacob K. Graeff
From the time the Borough was incorporated, it has continually thought about it’s future. Other civic developments here and abroad were studied. The Borough also continued to grow. Between 1906 and the 1940’s several additional tracts of land were annexed to the Borough from both Spring and Cumru Townships. However 1949-1950 saw the largest annexation, in the addition of the area north of the railroad tracts known as Berkshire Heights. This drastically changed the Borough map.
From that point forward, the Borough has changed from farmland to a large residential and commercial community. The last farmland worked in the Borough was part of the Hartman Farm along Van Reed Road. This land was sold into commercial development in the early 1990’s. A section of that land includes the shopping center where JoAnn Fabrics and Old Navy are located.
Ever wonder what was used to maintain the Borough’s infrastructure in years gone by? Here are a few photographs of the equipment used to build and maintain the Borough as we know it today.