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flag  History of Reading, Pennsylvania, USA

Journey back in time to Reading, Pennsylvania, USA

Visit Reading, Pennsylvania, USA. Discover its history. Learn about the people who lived there through stories, old newspaper articles, pictures, postcards and ancestry.

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Reading, Pennsylvania, USA - Penn Street Looking East From 4th, Reading, Pa.

In 1733, the site of present day Reading was chosen. It was set at the intersection of two great valleys, the east Penn-Lebanon Valley and the Schuylkill river. This site was known as Finney's Ford until 1743 when Thomas Lawrence, a Penn Land agent, made the first attempt at the layout for Reading.

In 1748, the town was laid out by Thomas and Richard Penn, the sons of William Penn. The name was chosen after Penn's own county seat, Reading, in Berkshire, England. In 1752, Reading became the county seat of Berks.

There is MUCH more to discover about Reading, Pennsylvania, USA. Read on!

Reading Nostalgia: Vintage Photos, Ads, and Postcards

Penn Street Looking East From 4th, Reading, Pa.
Reading, Pennsylvania, USA

Penn Street Looking East From 4th, Reading, Pa.
Shoot - The Chutes, Pendora Park, Reading, Pa.
Reading, Pennsylvania, USA

Shoot - The Chutes, Pendora Park, Reading, Pa.
Pagoda at Top of Mt. Penn, Reading, Pa. 500 Feet above City and 1200 feet above Sea Level
Reading, Pennsylvania, USA

Pagoda at Top of Mt. Penn, Reading, Pa. 500 Feet above City and 1200 feet above Sea Level

Discover Reading: History, News, Travel, and Stories

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1843 - Railroad Collision
Another of those terrific accidents occurred yesterday on the Philadelphia and Pottsville Railroad, which can always be avoided by a simple attention to the duty of a Railroad agent: never start a car when a train from an opposite direction is due; let no persuasion induce you to depart from this rule. Yesterday morning about three o'clock, this collision took place about two miles above Reading, between a train of empty ascending cars and a train of descending burden cars loaded with coal. The up-train started, hoping to reach Mohr's before the down train; but when opposite Mr. Heister's at the deep cut, the two trains came in contact, breaking every thing to splinters! Two men were instantly killed and several others frightfully wounded. The hands on the loaded cars jumped off before the contact and escaped uninjured - but those on the empty cars were the sufferers. MR. GEORGE HECKMAN was instantly killed, and his mangled remains were covered entirely with the frightful wreck, as... Read MORE...

1854 - Reading
Reading, a handsome city of Pennsylvania, and capital of Berks county, on the left, or east bank of Schuylkill river, and on the Philadelphia, Reading, and Pottsville railroad, 52 miles E. from Harrisburg, and 52 miles N. W. from Philadelphia. This flourishing town, the third of the state in respect to population and manufactures, is beautifully situated on a plain, which rises gradually from the river, and is enclosed on the E. by an eminence named Penn's Mount The city is compactly built, and intersected by straight and rectangular streets, which are remarkably clean and smooth. The most frequented of these are covered with a hard, white gravel, derived from the sandstone of the adjacent hill, forming a compact and durable road. Among the conspicuous public buildings, are the court house, which occupies a commanding situation, and has a handsome portico of sandstone ; the German Lutheran church is capable of containing about 1500 persons, and is remarkable for its steeple, about 200 ... Read MORE...


Reading, Pa., Oct. 8. - The cornerstone of the Polish Catholic Church, Twelfth and Spruce Streets, this city, was laid Sunday afternoon.
During the ceremony the floor, on which fully three thousand men, woman and children were standing, gave away, precipitating several hundred persons to the basement, a distance of fifteen feet.

Over one hundred men and women were thrown in a heap and all were more or less injured, some seriously and others fatally.

The wildest excitement followed and the five thousand spectators became panic stricken. Cooler heads, however, went to the rescue of the unfortunate and the injured were taken into neighboring dwellings and physicians hastily summoned. Later the wounded were removed to their homes and the various hospitals by... Read MORE...

1889 - Mrs. May, of Reading, Pa., received word on the 6th that she was to inherit $300,000 from an uncle who died recently in California.

St Joseph Herald
Saint Joseph, Michigan
February 9, 1889
1895 - Reading
Reading, an enterprising manufacturing city of Pennsylvania, the seat of justice of Berks co., is beautifully situated on the Schuylkill River, at the convergence of several divisions of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad, and at the terminus of the Wilmington & Northern Railroad, * miles N.W. of Philadelphia, and 54 miles E, of Harrisburg, the capital of the state. It is W. by S. of New York city, from which it is distant by rail 126 miles. Situated in the midst of the rich agricultural districts of the Schuylkill and Lebanon Valleys, and in the immediate vicinity of practically inexhaustible anthracite coal-fields and iron-mines, Reading possesses industrial facilities that are hardly surpassed by those of any city in the United States...

Pop, in 1880, 45,313; in 1890, 58,661; in 1895 (estimated), 75,000.
Lippincott's Gazetteer of the World: A Complete Pronouncing Gazetteer Or Geographical Dictionary of the World Containing Notices of Over One Hundred and Twenty-five Thousand Places ... Joseph Thomas January 1, 1895 J.B. Lippincott

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Reading, a city, the seat of justice of Berks co., Pa., is beautifully situated on the Schuylkill River and on the Philadelphia and Reading and the Pennsylvania Rs., 59 miles NW. of Philadelphia. Located in the midst of the rich agricultural districts of the Schuylkill and Lebanon valleys, and in the immediate vicinity of vast anthracite coal-fields and deposits of iron-ore, Reading possesses industrial facilities of an unusually high order. The chief industry is the manufacture of iron and steel, which gives employment to many thousand hands, and is represented by blast-furnaces, rolling-mills, sheet-iron, boiler-plate, tube- and car-wheel works, stove-foundries, etc. The city has also extensive manufactures of fur and woollen hats, leather, paper, lumber, cotton and knitted goods, hosiery, glass-ware, and beer. Extensive railroad-shops are located here. Among the educational institutions is the Reading Classical School. On the surrounding mountains (Mount Penn, 1040 feet; Neversink... Read MORE...

2023 - Reading has something for everyone. Here's a list of places to go and things to do in and around the town:
GoggleWorks Center for the Arts: This is a vibrant arts center housed in a former goggle factory. You can explore art galleries, watch artists at work, and even try your hand at various art forms.

Reading Public Museum: Perfect for history and science enthusiasts, this museum features exhibits on natural history, science, and civilizations. It also has a planetarium for those interested in astronomy.

Santander Arena: Catch a live event or a hockey game at the Santander Arena. It's a great place for sports fans and entertainment seekers.

Daniel Boone Homestead: Step back in time at the home of the famous frontiersman, Daniel Boone. The homestead offers guided tours, historical reenactments, and a glimpse into 18th-century rural life.

Pagoda: Perched atop Mount Penn, the Pagoda is an iconic symbol of Reading. The view from here is fantastic, especially at night. It's a great spot for photos and a relaxing time.

Mid-Atlantic Air Museum: Aviation enthusiasts will enjoy...

Discover MY Roots: Reading Ancestry

Ancestors Who Were Born or Died in Reading, Pennsylvania, USA

We currently have information about ancestors who were born or died in Reading.

View Them Now (sorted by year of birth)

female ancestorMargaret Mary MILLER (1716, Reading, Pennsylvania, USA - 1798, Reading, Pennsylvania, USA)
male ancestorChristian EARLY (13 January 1754, Reading, Pennsylvania, USA - 8 August 1803, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, USA)
female ancestorEliza LEBO (18 September 1847, Jefferson, Dauphin, Pennsylvania, USA - 19 January 1920, Reading, Pennsylvania, USA)
photo of John Philip SOUSAJohn Philip SOUSA (6 November 1854, Washington, DC, USA - 6 March 1932, Reading, Pennsylvania, USA)
female ancestorSallie B STITZER (23 October 1868, , Pennsylvania, USA - 14 June 1945, Reading, Pennsylvania, USA)
male ancestorJesse Climenson SHIREY (4 December 1883, Reading, Pennsylvania, USA - , )
male ancestorGrant Llewellyn TROUTMAN (March 21, 1901, Jordan Township, Pennsylvania, USA - August 19,1949, Reading, Pennsylvania, USA)
female ancestorElsie M SHOEMAKER (24 May 1909, Reading, Pennsylvania, USA - , Springfield, Massachusetts, USA (Indian Orchard))

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Updated: 2/9/2024 12:45:45 PM