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Reading Senior Center (Reading Municipal Building)

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Reading Municipal Building
1883, Horace Wadlin. 49 Pleasant St.
  • Reading Senior Center (Reading Municipal Building) (Peter Vanderwarker or Antonina Smith)

Reading constructed its first municipal building as combination fire station, jail, and town offices. Fire engines claimed the three large round arched bays on the west end of the building. Toward the rear of the hipped roof rose a Queen Anne–style hose tower with novelty siding, slate roof, and finial. Much of the building's ornamental character is derived from the carefully detailed patterns of the brickwork, such as the corbeled cornice and the belt course. Sandstone impost stones accentuate the trim around the doors and windows. The architect, Horace Wadlin, established an architectural practice in Boston in 1874 and joined the Bureau of Statistics of Labor in 1879, later becoming its chief. Although in private practice only a few years, Wadlin continued to design buildings for his community, such as the Highland School on Middlesex Avenue, built in 1896–1897. The Reading Municipal Building was converted in 1993 into a senior center; the three great arched doorways were restored and a small wood-frame addition was made to the rear.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Reading Senior Center (Reading Municipal Building)", [Reading, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 389-390.

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