Seat of justice of Berks Co, PA, 52 miles east of Harrisburgh; from Washington 145 miles, situated on the east side of Schuylkill river, 57 miles northwest of Philadelphia, and 52 miles east of Harrisburgh, and has a delightful situation amid picturesque vales, hills, and streams. In the regularity of its streets, the neatness of its houses, and the industry and good order of its inhabitants, it still retains the character stamped upon it by its founders, Thomas and Richard Penn, the sons of William Penn.
Reading is a town of considerable trade and manufactures, for which it has great natural and improved advantages. Tulpehocken creek and the Schuylkill furnish excellent water power, by which numerous manufactories are kept in successful operation. Hats are the fabrics most extensively made.
Reading contains an imposing courthouse, several elegant churches, and market houses, banks, an academy, and other public buildings. A neighboring spring supplies the town with an abundant supply of pure water, which is distributed by means of a reservoir and iron pipes. Here the Schuylkill Navigation canal meets the Union canal, which terminates at Middletown, on the Susquehanna, and the Philadelphia ad Reading railroad communicates with this town.
The population in 1810 was 3,463; in 1820 was 4,332; in 1830 was 5,850; in 1840 was 8,410 and in 1850 was 15,790.