Angus, Aviary, Ants, Anchors And Franklin D. Roosevelt. How To Spend An Hour In Reading, Pennsylvania Without Going To The Outlets

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We had an hour to kill in Reading, Pennsylvania a few days ago, so we thought we would see what we could find without going to the outlets because that would have made the day really long.  So instead of being a long day, it was a big day. 

Purely by chance, we got to see the giant, traveling Turkey Hill Cow, which meant we had to stop for some ice cream.  Double Bonus!

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Our next stop was at The Berks County Heritage Center (1102 Red Bridge Road, Reading, PA) – home of the 11 foot long Pennsylvania Dutch Der Distelfink!   The distelfink represents fortune, luck and the soul of the Deitsch people (Pennsylvania Dutch or Pennsylvania German).   Stylized distelfinks often appear on hex signs, or barn stars – or on a really big aviary.

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The grounds of the Berks County Heritage Center are beautiful.

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Not far from the giant bird are the giant ants.

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These giant ants are in the traffic median in front of the entrance to The Reading Public Museum (500 Museum Road).  There are two of them – each 7 feet tall and 11 feet long, and they look like they are ready to do battle.

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Speaking of doing battle, if you head to North 11th Street in Reading (between Washington Street and Court Street) you will see this:

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This giant anchor is the anchor from the U.S.S. Maine – the battleship that sank in the Havana, Cuba harbor on February 15, 1898 due to an explosion that triggered the Spanish-American War.   Scholars now think that an accidental igniting of the ammunition magazine caused the explosion and that no Cuban terrorists were involved.  In 1912, the US Navy recovered the remains of those who perished on the U.S.S. Maine, and then and towed it out to sea and sank it again – after they took the masts, portholes and other mementos for memorials and museums across the United States….and the anchor is in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Also firmly anchored in this area is this giant statue of the upper half of President Franklin Roosevelt. 

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It’s just sitting in an area of over-grown grass at the dead end of Morwood Avenue in West Wyomissing, PA.  Directly behind this statue are the Reading Railroad tracks.   It’s on a street in a neighborhood and just sitting there.  The bust of the President is sitting atop a large concrete fireplace.  If you set your GPS to 1 Morwood Avenue in Reading you will get there just fine.  FDR used to have “fireside chats with the nation”, so that may explain its design.  When it was first put there in the 1930-40 timeframe, it was at the base of an iron pedestrian bridge that crossed the tracks.  The bridge is gone, but FDR is still there.  I’m not sure why.

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