Berkshire Knitting Mills

As I mentioned in my very first blog post, my grandmother worked at the Berkshire Knitting Mills (nicknamed the Berky) when she was young (probably in her 20s, sometime in the 1930s). According to the Reading Eagle, Vanity Fair Corporation acquired Berkshire in 1969. Years later, in the late 1980s/early 90s, both my sister and I (around the same age as our grandmother had been) worked at the VF Outlet as cashiers, on the site that had been the mill. Large pictures of women who worked in the mill were displayed in the large buildings housing the outlet goods (the Red Building and the Blue Building), although, disappointingly, I never saw my grandmother’s face in any of those.

Today, I read that part of the former mill and current outlet are to be demolished:

Earlier this year, the VF Outlet buildings and land were acquired by a new owner. There are currently development plans in the works to turn much of the area into a campus for UGI and home to new restaurants and shops. Most of the “Blue” building and the entire “Red” building are set to be demolished late 2017.


Now that I’ve read this, I need to go see the mill/outlet one last time and take some pics. I’ll be planning a trip to Reading, PA soon!

Author: polishamericangirl

I'm a librarian and amateur genealogist who runs a women's memoir book club. I'm working on a memoir project about my own family.

One thought on “Berkshire Knitting Mills”

  1. Hello Polish American Girl. Mark Vaught here. I’m not on social media (I’m 54 and stay away from it), but I’m probably someone you would want to talk with. From 2012-2016, I spent 4 years studying the history of the Wyomissing Industries, in Reading, PA. In case you are not aware, The Wyomissing Industries was comprised of the Textile Machine Works (later Rockwell International), the Berkshire Knitting Mills (later Vanity Fair) where your grandmother worked, and the Narrow Fabric Company. My research eventually culminated in six public presentations I gave in Reading and Wyomissing during 2015 and 2016. One of them, 1.5 hours, was recorded by BCTV (Berks County TV) and is on YouTube. At any rate, if you would like to know more about the Industries and the mills where your grandmother worked, I’d be glad to talk to you and share the mountain of research I have collected. Also, a book is coming out very soon, written by a local historian, on the men who started the industries. Also there was a recent TV special in 2016 from PBS 39 in Bethlehem; Wyomissing, an American Dream. I have a few quick guest spots in that film (my 2 seconds of fame…ha, ha).

    Yes, sadly the old knitting mill buildings are now under the wrecking ball. Building 101, about 1/3d of the VF red building has already been smashed to rubble.

    Here is my presentation on BCTV. Blurry at first, but it clears up very quickly. Enjoy!

    Mark V.

    Liked by 1 person

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