An excerpt from A History of Berks County by George M. Meiser IX and Gloria Jean Meiser:
“Near the point where Antietam Road joins Friedensburg Road-opposite the bridge-Conrad Feger operated a paper mill in a large wooden structure. The site was acquired by Louis Kraemer and partners in 1864 whereupon they erected a woolen mill. The buildings seen here date from a major rebuilding effort in 1875. In 1879 the business came to be known as Louis Kraemer & Co. and continued under that name for many decades. For the first 35 years, the firm manufactured cloth only. Its sole product was a grade of all-wool and mixed cassimeres (cashmere), which became widely known in the clothing trade as “Reading Cassimeres.” The company then decided to manufacture and fashion the cloth into garments. The result was “Stony Creek Trousers.” Production was 1,200 pairs a day, or two pairs a minute. In this enhanced pen-and-ink drawing by Berks artist J. Heyl Raser, the schoolhouse-like structure on the right is the office building, where locals long went for their mail. A post office was established here on May 20, 1879. The large structure on the upper left was Louis Kraemer’s residence (that’s our house!), where he dwelled until his death in 1903.
In the late 1930s, the corporation of Louis Kraemer & Co. was dissolved and the property was bought by R.W. Springer, a Detroit manufacturer, who soon began producing automobile upholstery, for Ford mainly. In 1941, two New Yorkers purchased the complex and produced cloth for women’s outer garments. In December 1946, the place closed. On April 1, 1947, the Griswold Woolen Mills of N.Y.C. acquired ownership and sold “all the works.”
Thereafter, the buildings were used for a variety of purposes until November 1963, when a massive fire destroyed the premises-except for the residences on the hill. The Kraemer House has been a private residence since 1949, when the Frederick and Mary-Ellen Gerhard Family bought it. They sold it to the Robert and Genevieve Eltonhead family in 1961, who lived in it until 2005.” We’re the fourth owners of Kraemer House and this is where we continue the history of this beloved home.