Op-Ed: PA Suburbs Signal a National ‘Eds-and-Meds’ Realignment

Originally published in RealClear Politics.

Located across the Schuylkill River from Reading, a vast city of rowhomes, the Berks County borough of Wyomissing, Pa., remains as it was intended over a century ago: the ideal suburb. Curving boulevards and tidy avenues, canopied by trees, feature beautiful housing amid parks and trails. Then, beyond Penn Avenue, sprawling before semi-detached houses, are the Knitting Mills – a monument to the community’s foresight.

Planning ahead is a tradition in Wyomissing, where, early last century, founders Ferdinand Thun and Henry Janssen meticulously designed a town for posterity. From the beginning, these visionary German immigrants ensured that the Knitting Mills – then known as Wyomissing Industries – adapted to the times. And so, as women’s fashion dramatically changed in the 1920s, Thun and Janssen’s enterprise became the world’s top manufacturer of women’s hosiery. When the Great Depression struck, they redeployed workers to build attractive homes for all economic classes in Wyomissing and its sister community, West Reading.

Over time, evolving fashion tastes couldn’t save the knitting business, but again, Wyomissing was able to respond. In the early 1970s, the VF Corporation pioneered outlet shopping at the former mills. Since then, retail, accelerated by the pandemic, has transitioned from brick to pixels. Last year, VF’s longtime outlet closed. Now, the Knitting Mills’ historic brick buildings comprise a massive, ongoing mixed-use development project. The tradition of adaptability continues.

One tradition in Wyomissing, though, is…

Read more at RealClear Politics.