Montgomery and Berks Counties have been central to the car industry for decades, employing residents of the cities and surrounding small towns. Pottstown first came to be known as the cruising capital of the East Coast in the 1950s and held on to the title for many years. In the 1960s, hundreds would line the sidewalks to watch the hot rods and classic cars cruise down High Street. Among the circuit favorites were the Tropical Treat, Hilltop Drive-In, and Dempsey Diner. Lansdale also attracted automobile enthusiasts who enjoyed “cruising the Dale.” In 1962, the Maple Grove Raceway, a quarter-mile strip in Mohnton, opened and became home to the popular Super Chevy Weekend, hosting great drivers like Fred Spiezio, Ken Hall, and John Johnson. The Grandview Speedway and the Reading Fairgrounds Speedway also emerged, attracting even more auto racing enthusiasts from around the area. Today, longtime residents enjoy reminiscing their beloved cruising pastime, with many belonging to historical automotive clubs.
Tina M. Kissinger has been a local resident of the Reading and Pottstown areas most of her life, and she has been an active participant in local cruising events since the 1980s.
The Making History Greater series features scholars, authors, and historians who are currently working on telling new stories about the complexity of our region’s history. This presentation will begin at 6:00 with a social gathering and light refreshments from 5:30 to 6:00. Lectures last for about an hour with time for questions at the end. This program is free and open to the public. Books will be available for sale with a signing after the lecture.