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Berks historian George Meiser IX completes 20th volume of county history book

By Pam Cunningham, Reporter
Published On: Oct 22 2012 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 24 2012 07:45:49 AM CDT

The 20th volume of a book that documents Berks county history will hit store shelves next month.

READING, Pa. -

The 20th volume of a book that documents Berks County history will hit the historical society shelves next month. And Tuesday the author gave a special sneak peek.

"So you never know if you're going to find something or whether you're not going to find something," said George Meiser IX. "That I thought was kind of neat."

Meiser has completed researching and writing the 20th volume of Passing Scenes. He's a historian and a photographer.

"I have 28,000 photographs and that takes up a lot of space," said Meiser.

He doesn't take all the photos.

"Everywhere I go, someone says, 'Mr. Meiser, I have a picture I want to show you,'" said Meiser.

His research usually starts with an old photo somewhere in Berks County.

"The first thing they want to know is: does it still exist? If it does, what does it look like today?" said Meiser.

That's how he made a discovery in Birdsboro.

"And no idea this was there, no idea people in Birdsboro interested in canals; had no idea that was there," said Meiser.

Meiser said he made a major historic find: an old canal office building.

"It's the only one I know that survives," said Meiser.

At 75 years old, he said he was also able to solve another mystery.

"They searched everywhere. Is there a picture of Quinter's Bridge? No one had a picture of Quinter's Bridge," explained Meiser.

But Meiser said he found the old photo.

"You can see it was taken in the 1920s, look at the old car here," said Meiser.

And he knows where it is today: an overpass on Gibraltar Road.

"It's there; they buried it, so it's still there," said Meiser.

Just one arch reinforced with cement is visible.

"You get lucky every once in awhile," said Meiser, "It's like winning in the lottery."

And anyone can take part in his prize. Next month, The Passing Scene Volume 20 hits the shelves. Proceeds from all volumes benefit the Berks County Historical Society.