Todd Peterson of Birdsboro has been sharing old photographs discovered in the former Pottstown Mercury building on his Facebook page Birdsboro of Yesterday.

“Thousands! We have boxes full of photos and news articles. We still have boxes to go through,” said Peterson. “Very excited; it was like finding lost treasures.”

Peterson explained that he always had a lot of photos, but recently Kevin Keifrider contacted him regarding boxes of photos and newspaper archives found in the former Pottstown Mercury building located on North Hanover Street in Pottstown.

Keifrider is a former Pottstown police officer and he is part of the Amity Township Area History Facebook page. Peterson is a Spring Township officer, so they had a connection. Keifrider was introduced to a person who was gutting the old building.

“He had a lot of photos and didn’t want to throw them away,” said Peterson. “We both have been getting boxes full of pictures over the past several months and spending time sorting through them finding some good treasures.”

Peterson said that they obtained so many sports pictures that they both just started a new Facebook page called SE Berks Sports Photos. They will be sharing sports photos from local high schools including Daniel Boone, Boyertown, Exeter, Twin Valley and Owen J. Roberts, as well as any other photos linked to Southeast Berks County.

On Birdsboro of Yesterday, Peterson has been sharing old photos and archives of newspapers, including the Birdsboro Dispatch and Boyertown Times from the early 1970s, as well as Berks-Mont photos.

“People love it! As of today, Birdsboro of Yesterday has 2,756 followers. People share photos and information. Followers like Ralph Rapposelli, Mardell Ludwig, Ralph Bascelli, Tony Matassa, and Bruce Hoffman are a wealth of information when it comes to the history of the town,” said Peterson. “Birdsboro has always been a tight-knit close community and it still shows through the love people have for our great town. “

Peterson believes the significance of this find is that the photos and newspaper archives connect the community to the town’s past.

“People forget, our memories fade and we forget the past. This helps us recall our fond memories of the town we grew up in,” he said.

A few of the recent photos shared on Birdsboro of Yesterday included black and white photos of the exterior of the Birdsboro YMCA, a 1960s photo taken inside the YMCA, the 1973 Birdsboro Street Fair, Mr. and Mrs. Bucci at Bucci’s Restaurant, and a 1950s photo of the Birdsboro Library inside the YMCA.

“They love it,” Peterson said about the photos being shared on Facebook. “People are always saying thank you, especially when it’s a photo that is of a loved one who has since passed on. People just love going back to the good old days, even if it’s just through a photograph.”

While the discovery of the photos in the Pottstown Mercury was recent, Peterson’s Facebook page Birdsboro of Yesterday has been in existence since March 2016.

“I love history, genealogy, and Birdsboro,” said Peterson. “People tend to forget our past, and I just love bringing it back to life for them.”

He decided to start the Birdsboro of Yesterday page in order to reach out to people and share it all.

“I just love sharing the past. When someone comments ‘that’s my grandfather or great- grandmother’ it just makes me smile. They may have never seen that picture before. A person may comment and state ‘I live there and never knew it.’ Just sharing information and memories is what it’s all about for me,” he said.

Peterson said that the purpose of this page is “to keep the history and story of this great borough alive.”

“There is so much history connected to Birdsboro and most people don’t realize it,” he said. “People live in houses today and don’t realize that it was the former jail or a firehouse. Most people aren’t aware of the canal system and where it ran, or that the back of the “Y” (Community Center) use to be the front. Little things like this make this town so interesting.”

Peterson has a personal connection to Birdsboro. He was born in 1969 and raised in South Birdsboro, also known as Texas. He explains that at one time, Birdsboro was broken up into sections. For more information, visit his site.

“I still live here, but now on the opposite side of town by the high school, even though my Texan roots are still strong,” said Peterson, who graduated from Daniel Boone High School in 1987. “My father was the Texas Clipper, which was the barbershop located on Bird Street.”

Peterson has not really noticed an increase in followers on his page since the Stay-At-Home order because he said the page has always had a strong following.

“People may be looking at it more often now since they are stuck at home with nothing to do,” he said.

When asked how he feels his page helps unite the community during this time, Peterson replied, “It reminds us of what is important - our family, our past, our memories. The good times. There is so much depressing news out there today, hopefully someone checks out my page and reflects on a childhood memory and it will make them smile.”

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