Reading, Pennsylvania

Reading, a small city located in south eastern Pennsylvania in the U.S., is the seat of Berks County. A principal city of the Greater Reading area, Reading city has witnessed its share of ups and downs over time.

Built in 1748, Reading has a mixed racial set up with hispanics forming the majority. There are five historic cities in Reading, namely, Callowhill, Prince, center Park, Penn's common and the Queen Anne District. This quaint city offers a slew of historical sites maintained by the State which would be highly interesting to history buffs.

Jazz music and theatre performances are a regular feature ingrained in the cultural thread of the city. Gourmands can enjoy a grand variety of food at the city's multitude restaurants. Popular among them are the Bistro, Brewers bar and grill, and Dan's and Emily's restaurant. A huge array of lodges and hotels spread over Reading providing bed and breakfast accommodations at pocket-friendly prices.

The more adventurous souls can stay in different campsites such as Lake-in wood campsite, Pine hill RV Park, Blue rocks family campground and Robin hill camping resort. Located at the heart of the Dutch county Roads region, the Greater Reading research center provides all the information required for visitors.

Reading is a great place to live in. It has something to appeal to everyone's senses. People of any age or any profession will surely find the city exciting and vivacious to their own liking.

Reading History

The site of the current Reading city was selected in 1733, where two prominent valleys, namely, the East Penn Lebanon valley and the Schuylkill River intersected. In 1743, Penn land agent Thomas Lawrence made the first architectural layout plan for Reading. Prior to this, the site was known as Finney's ford.

The city of Reading in Pennsylvania was planned by Richard and Thomas Penn (sons of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania and grandsons of Sir William Penn, in whose memory Pennsylvania is named) in 1748, with the help of Conrad Weiser, who was an effective diplomat between the Pennsylvanian colony and the Native Americans. He contributed as an emissary in councils between Native Americans and the colonies especially Pennsylvania during the Seven Years war. The name "Reading" came from Penn's own county seat called Reading, located in Berkshire, England. The town became the county seat with the creation of Berks County in 1752.

As it is with the history of cities, Reading too has witnessed several transitions since its birth. For a series of forts that existed along the Blue Mountains, Reading was made the military base during the French and Indian war. Emigrants from Southern and West Germany also came to settle here. This accounts for the fact that Pennsylvanian German dialect was being spoken till the 50's and after. The area had a strong base of iron and during the American Revolution, it supplied canons, rifles and ammunitions during the war. However, agriculture is also an important industry in Reading. Reading was also a military depot during the early part of the conflict and several Hessian prisoners who fought the Battle of Trenton were apprehended here for some time.

The Philadelphia-Reading Railroad was built in 1833 and was spread out in various directions in Reading. This was a significant milestone in the history of Reading. The railroad brought anthracite coal from the Pennsylvania coal region to the Schuylkill river .This railroad is also one of the rail properties in the US version of the monopoly game. During the long depression, the city also saw violent labour unrests in which some Reading men were killed. The city was also known as the Pretzel city, (a baked food made from soft dough in knotted shape), because of the presence of many pretzel bakeries though there is only one bakery known as the Unique Pretzel factory.

Reading also has a rich history of Baseball as the Reading Phillies, a minor league baseball team based in Pennsylvania played in the Eastern division of the Eastern League. In the early 20th century, the city too participated in the booming automobile industry. The city, however, saw a decline in prosperity from the 1930's till the 70's owing to a decline in the heavy industries on which the city had depended. Reading is surrounded by Shillington, a burrow in Berks county, West Wyomissing hills, and Ken horst in the west and St. Lawrence and Mt. Penn in the east.

About Reading, Pennsylvania

A balmy climate and a plethora of attractions keep the visitors to Reading, Pennsylvania ever engaged. The main tourist attraction of Reading is the Japanese style pagoda on Mount Penn. Built in 1908; it is visible from all vantage points in Reading and is locally known as "Pagoda". The Duryea drive with its sharp bends ascending Mount Penn is named after Charles Duryea, who had tested his automobiles here. Albright college is one of several illustrious institutions of higher learning in the area.

The city has a total area of 10.1 square miles. Out of it, 9.8 square miles is land and 0.2 square miles of it is under water. It is bound on the west by the Schuylkill River, on the East by Mount Penn and on the South by Never Sinks Mountain.

Hordes of professional athletes of international stature like Brooklyn dodgers outfielder Carl Fruillo, Baltimore Colts, Lenny Moore, Philadelphia 76ers, Donyell Marshall belong to this city. Furthermore, John Updike, who was born in Reading and lived in nearby Shillington has based his book and movie Rabbit, Run and other stories of the Rabbit series on fictionalised versions of Reading and Shillington. The celebrated graphic artist, Jim Steranko, poet Wallace Stevans, and guitarist Richi Kotzen also belong to Reading.

The greater Reading area boasts of a bevy of cultural activities ranging from art exhibitions to musical programs and jazz events. Some of the main centers of art are the Berks art council and the Miller center for the arts. One can visit the Historical society of Berks County to learn and understand the unique history of this once thriving industrial belt. The Reading pagoda is a popular tourist spot for locals as well as the visiting people. The Reading Imax theatre screens large format films and the civic theatre presents high quality musical theatre and Broadway productions.

The Reading area is generally considered to be located on the humid subtropical climate zone. With very warm , humid summers and harsh winters, one can also witness some amount of snowfall. At times, there are also days when the temperature can exceed 90 degree in summer, but in winter, it rarely falls below zero.

The city is well connected by BARTA, the Berks Area Regional Transport Authority, which have a fleet of buses connecting the city. The Reading Regional Airport services Reading and its surrounding areas. Commercial airlines do not operate from Reading anymore, though it is a short drive from the Philadelphia International airport and Harrisburg International airport. Passenger trains no longer operate between Reading and other neighboring towns. Attempts are being made to revive the system.

A host of festivals such as Berks Jazz fest, Salsa fest, Chilli pepper food festival and the Heritage festival add to the vivacity of the city and keep the visitors enthralled to the hilt.

About Berks County, Pennsylvania

Berks County is located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. It was formed by carving out portions from Philadelphia, Chester and Lancaster counties and incorporated in 1752. At that time, it had 23 townships and about 12,000 inhabitants.

The county seat of Berks County is the city of Reading. Reading was founded by William Penn and got its name from Penn's family home Reading in Berkshire, England. During the 18th century, many settlers came to Reading from the European countries and settled here, thereby forming a rich diversity of varied cultures. An excellent mode of transportation led to development of businesses and flourishing of various industries. Reading is classified as a third class city and three elected commissioners govern it.

Agriculture is the pivotal vocation in this region, owing to a favorable climate and location. The area is rich in natural resources such as iron ore, lime stone and hardwood forests for making charcoal. This has led to Reading developing into a prime county producing iron products. Multiple industries producing iron wares, stoves, cook wares, iron tools, hats, cigars, brass, and steam engines flourished here. During the American Revolution, Reading supplied ammunition and guns for George Washington's troops. The county boasts of a rich historical heritage, which has aided in a good inflow of tourists.

Charles Duryea came in 1900 to build one of the earliest automobiles. The industry owners had built red row brick houses for their workers which helped them to live nearby and attend to their factory work. As they progressed, they also built stately individual homes for themselves in the surrounding areas. The center park historic district preserves these splendid homes in Victorian style architecture. During the world wars, knitting mills were also established. Now, most of the factory buildings and knitting mills have been converted into Outlet stores. Retail sales outlets contribute significantly to the economy of Berks' county. The world's foremost outfitter, Cabela's has set up stores here.

According to the US census bureau, 2010, the population of Berks was 411,422. The white or Caucasians constitute 83.2% while Hispanics equaled 16.4%. The market square where people used to sell their wares later became the center for housing government buildings like court, banks, hotels etc. The sovereign arts center and the performing center organize regular musical performances in the county. The hills of French Creek state park are maintained by the state of Pennsylvania.