Let the horse go at a slow walk. Attend to the line, look out for rocks.

The Schuylkill Canal Navigator, 1827



The Schuylkill Canal Navigator, 1827


...and some ground should be laid out for public use.

Th. Penn, 1732

We sweat and toil. Their pleasure-Hunting, Fishing, Fowling, feeds them.

Wm. Penn on the Lenape, 1683

We sit in darkness by the Death of Conrad Weiser, as since his death, we cannot so well understand one another.

Native American Seneca George, August 3, 1761

... his tub turned over and went under. After some struggling in the water he arose, recaptured his tub, & reentered the first bathtub race down the Schuylkill.


The church aided runaway slaves by hiding them under the floor boards. The people of Reading and Bethel Church were good to me .

Dinah Clark, daughter of slaves, 1861

...you shall be governed by laws of your own making and live free, and, if you will, a sober, industrious people.

Wm Penn April 8, 1681


Aquel que no está orgulloso de su origen no valdrá nunca nada, porque

empieza por despreciarse a sí mismo.

Pedro A. Campos


We are the same as if one man’s body were to be divided into two parts; we are one flesh and blood.

Wm. Penn 1681 to the Lenape


It is not of Indian origin. Schuylkill is of Dutch origin. It means hidden, or Skulk Creek.

We propose to make armor piercing projectiles to squash the Spanish Armada. Carpenter Technology Corp. 1894

Thun & Janssen built a welcoming community around their plant, and donated land and funds for the hospital, a playground, two high schools, a library, and a museum.

20 brass kettles, 100 stroudwater match coats of two yards each, 100 duffle do., 100 blankets, 100 yards of half tick, 60 linen shirts, 20 hats, 6 made coats, 12 pair of shoes and buckles, 30 pair of stockings, 300 pounds of gunpowder, 600 pounds of lead, 20 fine guns, 12 gun-locks, 50 tomahawks or hatchets, 50 planting hoes, 120 knives, 60 pair of scissors, 100 tobacco tongs, 24 looking glasses, 40 tobacco boxes, 100 flints, 5 pounds of paint, 24 dozen of gartering, 6 dozen of ribbons, 12 dozen of rings, 200 awl blades, 100 pounds of tobacco, 400 tobacco pipes, 20 gallons of rum, and fifty pounds in money.

from Deed for Purchase by the Penn brothers from the Indians, 1732

Footman, one cent; every twenty sheep, twenty cents; every twenty swine, ten cents;  horse and rider, six cents.

Fees for first Schuylkill bridge, 1820

They don't remember that sixty years ago you couldn't get a job at the courthouse without speaking Pennsylvania Deutsch.


Ten thousand trees were planted on Reading City purport by two hundred and twenty boys and seven hundred and seventy girls from the city high school.


The civic division of the The Women’s Club of Reading have organized the first public playgrounds at Third and Pine and Eighth and Washington.


Whatever these citizens of Reading lay their hand to is better done than things of the same nature are done in other places.

Mrs. Anne Royall, 1830

If a white man enters one of our cabins we dry him; we warm him ; and we give him meat and drink. We demand nothing in return. But if I go into a white man’s house... Chief Canassatego to Conrad Weiser, 1737


The test of what the latest immigrants have learned will be how they treat the next round of newcomers. Resident, 2000.

baker, blacksmith, bookbinder, brick maker, brewer, butcher, cabinet maker, carpenter, clock maker, cooper, cordwainer, felt maker, glazier, gun smith, hatter, joiner, locksmith, nailer, potter, reed maker, saddler, shoemaker, tanner, tailor, tinner, tobacconist, weaver and wheelwright. Occupations in 1783


The name itself was derived from the Saxon words rhedin, meaning a fern, and ‘ing’, meaning a meadow.

The principle Indian village was near the present Sixth Street, under the mountain the Indians called Navesink (fishing ground) which rose above them.

*Relieve your trouble zone- look for the red ring on the Luden-yellow box.

...to discover winter and know it well, to find/ Not to impose,

Wallace Stevens, poet

The whole city lies before the eye, the wide shady streets, the neat red buildings in artistic groupings, the towers of churches and the lofty roofs of the great business houses, all enclosed within the gentle curving of the river as it flows deep-bedded amid the shade of the trees...

Souvenir Booklet, 1895


There’s nothing else like it. No other American city can boast of the gorgeous mountain scenery that can be seen from the Pagoda. It would be a shame to tear it down.

Mrs. J. Matz, 1942

I was the youngest kid in the marching band. We worked really hard... then finally walking down Penn St. and seeing all the peoples smiling faces when we played. Student, 2000.

If you haven’t been there yet, pick a good clear day and make for it as quick as a wink. I can tell you that what you see from the new tower is more than worth climbing all those steps for.

Lilly March, 1931

Five policemen severely wounded-six strikers mortally wounded- soldiers wounded but none killed- a night of horrors-

July 24,  1877; rail worker’s strike near 7th and Penn Streets.

The mother and baby were carried down river on the second floor of their flooded home. Her shrieks were most agonizing.

Sept. 2, 1850

The all but abandoned downtown, stabs at renewal mostly occupied by banks and government agencies, the stores refusing to come back from the malls on the outskirts.

John Updike, Rabbit Run

You see thousands all over the city- hats stretched out to dry on the front lawns of almost every dwelling.


Dec. 2, 1898: first meeting of the Woman’s Club in Reading library to discuss women's suffrage.

Something in the Schuylkill River, believed to be sulfur from the mines, is killing fish.

July 24, 1899

The time will come when the humming of flying machines will be music over all lands; when Europe will be distant but half day's journey.

Charles Duryea, 1888, builder of the first gasoline-powered production autos, in his Reading High School graduation thesis

“Deo Adjuvante Labor Profit": labor profits with the help of God.

City Motto, 1898

Must a person be a coward to be successful in business? Must he shut his eyes to every social, political, and industrial evil?

1938  James Maurer, Reading Socialist

...that the powers claimed by the British Parliament are fundamentally wrong and cannot be admitted without the utter destruction of the liberties of America. Resolution Reading citizens, July 2, 1774


If it goes in Reading, it will go on Broadway. 1930’s


Circa 1930

Due to Reading’s Union Building Associations more people own their homes in Reading than in any other city in the country.


Firing cannons in thickly built streets, without permission of the mayor, is forbidden. Fine Five Dollars for each offense.

City Ordinances, 1856

I have met with no place in the United States which exceeds this beautiful town in hospitality, liberality, and good fellowship.

June 1793

We have turned our backs on the river for years. Resident, 2000.

These Reading men are remarkable for the accuracy of their aim, striking a mark with great certainty at 200 yards.

letter to Gen. Washington, 1775

It was the Reading Socialists who improved the sewage and water system, built the airport, the band shell, the Glenside public housing, and improved garbage collection. Local historian, 1960

A seven week sit-down workers strike with men living, eating, and sleeping next to their knitting machines in the mills...


Mayor John Davis says he will ask City Council to create the position of policewoman.

Jan 13, 1950

Meat at Berks Packing was moved higher, but the flood came so quickly; the meat was swept down the river.

Hurricane Agnes, June 19, 1972

People did not lock their doors. We used to sleep on the front porch in the summer. We walked everywhere, morning, noon, and night.

The Loos sisters recalling the 1960’s

The Democratic women are going into politics with a scrubbing brush and a pail. Politics has taken to itself a wife, and the political wife is not going to be the quiet sit-at-home type which takes no interest in the affairs of the world.

Mary Archer, 1927


The canals had only two basic problems: too much water, and too little water. Historian, 20th century.


There is certainly more taste, talent, and enterprise displayed in this bridge- it unites beauty and strength in an uncommon proportion.

Mrs. Anne Royall, 1830

Our Latino citizens know how to live, to enjoy life, their passion, their food, and their dance, and we could all learn from this. Resident, 2000

When I was a kid and tried to skate on the frozen river, the coal dust was so bad that it took the edges right off my skates. Resident, 2000

The largest full-fashioned hosiery mills in the world, the largest single-unit foundry under one roof in the world, the largest brick-burning kiln in the world; the largest paint manufacturing plant in the world; the window shade capital of the world; the pipe making capital of the world; the largest locomotive and car shops in the world; the largest pretzel baking plant in the world.

From Chamber of Commerce bulletin, 1974




The newly arrived British, Welsh, Scots and Irish members of the military seem to be intermarrying more with the native Germans than with each other.

1750’s, B. Franklin

The confident canal owners paid little attention to the coal-filled wooden carts on iron wheels running along something called a railway..... 1830

The Illinois: the first anthracite-burning locomotive, built at the Reading Shops.

1877: Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Companies are the wealthiest corporations in the world...1880: The Railroad Companies declare bankruptcy.

These two rail shops employ over 3460 men, representing fifty different occupations and supporting almost one-fifth of the population of the city. 1909 

Lenape, Swedes, Germans, Hugenots, English, Welsh, Scots, Poles, Italians, Russian, Austrian, Irish, Hebrews, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Colombian, Dominican....

Some of the peoples of Reading.


A mile of silk inspected inch by inch

Berkshire Knitting Mills

Reading Business College, Teachers Training School, Schuylkill Seminary becomes Schuylkill College, Reading Labor College, Albright College, Alvernia College, Temple University Technical Institute, Wyomissing Institute of Fine Arts, Reading Area Community College,  Wyomissing Polytechnic Institute

Berkshire mills bore much of the cost to build the new Buttonwood Bridge, easing worker’s commute from their row homes in North Reading.