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Reading and Vicinity

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Reading was laid out by William Parsons as a proprietary town for William Penn's sons and adheres to the familiar Pennsylvania grid plan with numbered streets running north–south parallel to the riverfront and with treenamed streets on the east–west axis. An elongated market was located along Penn Street between 4th and 6th streets. Despite the devastation of post–World War II redevelopment along the railroad lines (roughly 7th Street), the old core is largely intact with nineteenth-century shops and larger offices intermingling around the original market square. In the vicinity of the square are the churches of the city's early elite, Trinity Lutheran ( BE7) and Christ Episcopal ( BE9). Reading's south side retains the rhythm of the industrial city with vast brick factories, many connected to rail lines, in a sea of smaller houses interspersed by public schools and churches. Across the Schuylkill in West Reading is the remarkable suburb of Wyomissing ( BE13) that attests to the region's early accommodation to the automobile.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas

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