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An Abridged History of Reading, PA

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Brian Kent, Esq. - PA Abuse Guardian

Hi - I'm Brian. I am an attorney that practices in PA, NJ, NY, and IL. I am a former sex crimes prosecutor and my day-to-day cases are almost exclusively helping survivors of sexual abuse get justice. My team and I are ready to help.

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The sexual abuse attorneys in Reading, PA, at Abuse Guardian present the following on the area's history and highlights for your reading entertainment.


Reading is located within Berks County, Pennsylvania. It is Pennsylvania's fifth-largest town known as Pretzel City or Pretzel Capital of the World due to the many pretzel bakeries in the area.

Early History

Initially, the area was home to the Lenape Native American tribe, also known as the Delaware Indians. William Penn was the first European settler to the area and was granted more than 45,000 square miles from King Charles II of England in 1680.  The Reading area was named after Reading, Berkshire, England, and officially became a town in 1748. Following the establishment of Burks County, Reading was awarded the county seat in 1752.  The area's iron industry played an integral part during the American Revolution, and its production exceeded England's. Samuel Van Leer, a prominent ironmaster, supplied George Washington's troops with the following:

  • cannons
  • rifles
  • ammunition

19th Century

In 1833 the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad was incorporated, becoming the first in the United States. The Reading Railroad was one of the most flourishing in the country until after World War II, and hard coal loadings declined. The railroad was forced into bankruptcy in the 1970s following the increase of highways and the trucking industry.

Places of Interest

The area is home to many museums and attractions that appeal to both the residents and visitors. Just a few of these interesting museums include:

  • Reading Public Museum - located on Museum Road
  • Mid Atlantic Air Museum - located on Arnold Road
  • The Pagoda - located on Duryea Drive
  • Berks History Center - located on Centre Avenue
  • Central Pennsylvania African-American Museum - located on North 10th Street

Some fun attractions for the whole family include:

  • Goggleworks Center for the Arts - located on Washington Street
  • William Penn Memorial Fire Tower - located on Skyline Drive
  • Reading's Christmas on the Mountain - located on North 14th Street


The town's population was 88,082 in 2010, which was an increase of 8.5% since 2000. As many as 19.12% of the residents were born outside of the United States. Spanish is the most commonly spoken language, but English and French Creole can be heard as well. The racial breakdown of the area's residents was the following:

  • 48.4% white
  • 14.0% African American
  • 56.3% Hispanic or Latino
  • 1.4% Asian
  • 0.2% Native American
  • 0.0% Pacific Islander
  • 31.1% other races
  • 4.5% two or more races

The median annual income per household was $26,698 in 2010, and as much as 32.9% of the citizens live at or below the poverty rate. Approximately 10.79% of the townspeople over 25 years have at least a bachelor's degree. The occupational breakdown of the working adults is the following:

  • 10.90% office and administrative support
  • 7.31% sales and service positions
  • 7.14% food service roles

Keep reading for more fun details: The Historic Neighborhood of Lebanon, PA

Our Local Office

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, our experienced Reading, PA, sexual abuse attorneys at Abuse Guardian, can help you understand your legal rights. Call now for a free and confidential consultation.

Abuse Guardian
1435 Walnut St #700-B
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 515-9889

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© 2023 All rights reserved. is primarily sponsored by LPB Law Group, LLC d/b/a The Abuse Guardians, and Brian D. Kent, Esq., and has attorneys that are licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, New York, and the District of Columbia. Content regarding these states has been reviewed by Laurence P. Banville, Esq. and Brian D. Kent, Esq. Content pertaining to all other states will identify the local lawyer who is part of the Abuse Guardian alliance that is responsible for that content. Abuse Guardian is an alliance of attorneys across the United States who dedicate their professional careers to representing survivors of sexual abuse and helping them get justice. This website is to be considered ATTORNEY ADVERTISING. Past settlement and verdict values are no guarantee of similar future outcomes. Abuse Guardian is not a law firm in itself but comprises a team of survivor advocates who can help connect sexual abuse survivors to members of the Abuse Guardian alliance for free legal consultations.
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