Reading, Massachusetts

Last updated

Reading, Massachusetts
Downtown Reading Massachusetts.jpg
Downtown Reading in the snow
ReadingMA-seal.png
Seal
Middlesex County Massachusetts incorporated and unincorporated areas Reading highlighted.svg
Location of Reading within Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°31′32″N71°05′45″W / 42.52556°N 71.09583°W / 42.52556; -71.09583 Coordinates: 42°31′32″N71°05′45″W / 42.52556°N 71.09583°W / 42.52556; -71.09583
CountryUnited States
State Massachusetts
County Middlesex
Settled1644
Government
  Type Representative town meeting
Area
  Total9.9 sq mi (25.7 km2)
  Land9.9 sq mi (25.7 km2)
  Water0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation
127 ft (39 m)
Population
 (2010)
  Total24,747
  Density2,500/sq mi (960/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern)
  Summer (DST) UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
01867
Area code(s) 339 / 781
FIPS code 25-56130
GNIS feature ID0618232
Website http://www.ci.reading.ma.us/

Reading ( /ˈrɛdɪŋ/ ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ) RED-ing) is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, 16 miles (26 km) north of central Boston. The population was 24,747 at the 2010 census. [1]

Contents

History

Settlement and American independence

Many of the Massachusetts Bay Colony's original settlers arrived from England in the 1630s through the ports of Lynn and Salem. In 1639 some citizens of Lynn petitioned the government of the colony for a "place for an inland plantation". They were initially granted six square miles, followed by an additional four. The first settlement in this grant was at first called "Lynn Village" and was located on the south shore of the "Great Pond", now known as Lake Quannapowitt. On June 10, 1644 the settlement was incorporated as the town of Reading, taking its name from the town of Reading in England. [2]

The first church was organized soon after the settlement, and the first parish separated and became the town of "South Reading" in 1812, renaming itself as Wakefield in 1868. Thomas Parker was one of the founders of Reading. He also was a founder of the 12th Congregational Church (now the First Parish Congregational Church), and served as deacon there. [3] [4] [5] [6] He was a selectman of Reading and was appointed a judicial commissioner. [7] There is evidence that Parker was "conspicuous in naming the town" and that he was related to the Parker family of Little Norton, England, who owned land by the name of Ryddinge. [8] [9] [10]

A special grant in 1651 added land north of the Ipswich River to the town of Reading. In 1853 this area became the separate town of North Reading. The area which currently comprises the town of Reading was originally known as "Wood End", or "Third Parish". [2]

The Parker Tavern, built 1694, is the oldest surviving building in Reading. It was owned and operated by Ephraim Parker, who was the great-grandson of Thomas Parker, who was one of the founders of Reading and probably named the town. The tavern is now a museum. Parker Tavern Reading MA.jpg
The Parker Tavern, built 1694, is the oldest surviving building in Reading. It was owned and operated by Ephraim Parker, who was the great-grandson of Thomas Parker, who was one of the founders of Reading and probably named the town. The tavern is now a museum.

The town of Reading was initially governed by an open town meeting and a board of selectmen, a situation that persisted until the 1940s. In 1693, the town meeting voted to fund public education in Reading, with grants of four pounds for three months school in the town, two pounds for the west end of the town, and one pound for those north of the Ipswich River. In 1769, the meeting house was constructed, in the area which is now the Common in Reading. A stone marker commemorates the site. [2]

Reading played an active role in the American Revolutionary War. It was prominently involved in the engagements pursuing the retreating British Army after the battles of Lexington and Concord. John Brooks, later to become Governor of Massachusetts, was captain of the "Fourth Company of Minute" and subsequently served at the Battle of White Plains and at Valley Forge. Only one Reading soldier was killed in action during the Revolution; Joshua Eaton died in the Battle of Saratoga in 1777. [2]

In 1791, sixty members started the Federal Library. This was a subscription Library with each member paying $1.00 to join, and annual dues of $.25. The town's public library was created in 1868. [2]

1852 map of Boston area, showing Reading and its rail lines 1852 Middlesex Canal (Massachusetts) map.jpg
1852 map of Boston area, showing Reading and its rail lines

19th century

The Andover-Medford Turnpike was built by a private corporation in 1806-7. This road, now known as Massachusetts Route 28, provided the citizens of Reading with a better means of travel to the Boston area. In 1845, the Boston and Maine Railroad came to Reading and improved the access to Boston, and the southern markets. During the first half of the 19th century, Reading became a manufacturing town. Sylvester Harnden's furniture factory, Daniel Pratt's clock factory, and Samuel Pierce's organ pipe factory were major businesses. By the mid-19th century, Reading had thirteen establishments that manufactured chairs and cabinets. The making of shoes began as a cottage industry and expanded to large factories. Neckties were manufactured here for about ninety years. During and after Civil War the southern markets for Reading's products declined and several of its factories closed. For many years, Reading was an important casket manufacturing center. [2]

During the Civil War, members of the Richardson Light Guard of South Reading fought at the First Battle of Bull Run. A second company was formed as part of the Army of the Potomac, and a third company joined General Bank's expedition in Louisiana. A total of 411 men from Reading fought in the Civil War, of whom 15 died in action and 33 died of wounds and sickness. A memorial exists in the Laurel Hill Cemetery commemorating those who died in the Civil War. [2]

20th century

Post Office Square c. 1905 Post Office Square, Reading, MA.jpg
Post Office Square c. 1905

In the 20th century, Reading became a small, residential community with commuter service to Boston on the Boston and Maine Railroad and the Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway. Both commuter services were later taken over by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, and for many years, there was discussion of extending the MBTA Orange Line to Reading. Industrial expansion during that time included the Goodall-Sanford Co. off Ash Street, later sold to General Tire & Rubber Company, later known as GenCorp. Additional businesses created after World War I included the Boston Stove Foundry, Roger Reed Waxes, Ace Art, Addison-Wesley Publishing and several other companies. For many years, Wes Parker's Fried Clams was a landmark off state Route 128.

Military installations also came to the town, with two Nike missile sites, one on Bear Hill and the other off Haverhill Street, and the opening of Camp Curtis Guild, a National Guard training facility. The business community currently consists of a number of retail and service businesses in the downtown area, a series of commercial businesses in and around the former town dump on Walker's Brook Road (formerly John Street) as well as the Analytical Sciences Corporation (TASC). [2]

In 1944, Reading adopted the representative town meeting model of local government in place of the open town meeting. This retained the representative town meeting and board of selectmen, but focused policy and decision making in a smaller number of elected boards and committees whilst providing for the employment of a town manager to be responsible for day-to-day operations of the local government. [2]

Basketball player Bill Russell lived in Reading in the 1960s at 1361 Main Street, but later moved to 701 Haverhill Street. [11] Vandals broke into the basketball player's home and damaged his property, leaving racial epithets in their wake. Russell left Reading after retiring as coach of the Boston Celtics in 1969.

In recent years the town of Reading struggled with the decisions to build a new elementary school, to cope with the influx of new families to the community, and renovate Reading Memorial High School which was opened in 1954 with an addition added in 1971. Both of these projects were approved and in August 2007 the new $57 million renovation at the High School was completed.

Geography

Reading is located at 42°31′33″N71°6′35″W / 42.52583°N 71.10972°W / 42.52583; -71.10972 (42.52585, −71.109939). [12] According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 9.9 square miles (25.7 km2). No significant amount of land is covered permanently by water, although there is a plethora of vernal pools in various areas of conservation land.[ citation needed ]

Reading borders the towns of Woburn, Stoneham, Wakefield, Lynnfield, North Reading, and Wilmington.

Demographics

Historical population
YearPop.±%
1850 3,108    
1860 2,662−14.4%
1870 2,664+0.1%
1880 3,181+19.4%
1890 4,088+28.5%
1900 4,969+21.6%
1910 5,818+17.1%
1920 7,439+27.9%
1930 9,767+31.3%
1940 10,866+11.3%
1950 14,006+28.9%
1960 19,259+37.5%
1970 22,539+17.0%
1980 22,678+0.6%
1990 22,539−0.6%
2000 23,708+5.2%
2010 24,747+4.4%
Population estimate.
Source: United States census records and Population Estimates Program data. [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22]

As of the census [23] of 2010, there were 24,747 people, 9,617 households, and 6,437 families residing in the town. The population density was 2,486.1 people per square mile (921.8/km2). There were 9,617 housing units at an average density of 888.8 per square mile (343.1/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 92.4% White, 0.8% Black or African American, 0.1% Native American, 4.2% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.21% from other races, and 0.65% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.5% of the population.

There were 8,688 households, out of which 36.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.5% were married couples living together, 8.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.9% were non-families. 22.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.71 and the average family size was 3.22.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 26.3% under the age of 18, 5.1% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 14.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.3 males.

As of 2015, according to the Census Bureau, [24] the median income for a household in the town was $107,654 and the median income for a family was $124,485. The per capita income for the town was $47,981. Of the families in Reading, 1.0% were below the poverty line, as opposed to 1.9% of the general population. 2.7% of those under age 18 and 3.2% of those age 65 or over were under the poverty line.

Government

Town Hall Reading Massachusetts Town Hall.JPG
Town Hall

The municipal government of the town of Reading comprises a representative town meeting, whose members are elected from eight precincts. [25]

The town elects a five-member select board by general election, who serve for overlapping three-year terms. The select board are responsible for calling the elections for the town meeting, and for calling town meetings. They initiate legislative policy by proposing legislative changes to the town meeting, and then implement the votes subsequently adopted. They also review fiscal guidelines for the annual operating budget and capital improvements program and make recommendations on these to the town meeting. In addition the board serves as the local road commissioners and licensing board, and appoints members to most of the town's other boards, committees, and commissions. [26]

The day-to-day running of the town government is the responsibility of a town manager, appointed by the board of selectmen. [26]

Transportation

Reading is located close to the junction of Interstate 93 and Interstate 95/Massachusetts Route 128 to the north of Boston. I-93 provides a direct route south to central Boston and beyond via the Big Dig, whilst I-95/128 loops around Boston to the west, crosses Interstate 90/Massachusetts Turnpike, and then continues south before meeting up with I-93 again at Canton.

Reading is served by Reading station on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's Haverhill/Reading commuter rail line, which links the town to Boston's North Station. Plans existed during the 1970s, when this line of track was bought by the MBTA, to extend the Orange Line rapid transit service out as far as Reading. Although new stations were successfully constructed at Malden Center and Oak Grove station, residents just past Oak Grove complained and such plans were put on hold.[ citation needed ]

Reading is also served by MBTA bus service routes 136 and 137, which run between Reading station and Malden station.

Education

Reading's public school system, managed by Reading Public Schools, comprises: [27]

Reading was an early and active participant in Boston's METCO program, which brings African American and inner-city students from Boston to attend grades K-12.[ citation needed ]

Austin Preparatory School, is a co-ed, independent school, in the Augustinian Catholic tradition, founded in 1962. It is located on 55 acres of land and has an enrollment of 700 students, providing instruction for students in grades 6–12.

Points of interest

Local media

Notable people

See also

Related Research Articles

Georgetown, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Georgetown is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 8,183 at the 2010 census. It was incorporated in 1838 from part of Rowley.

Groveland, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Groveland is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. It is thirty-four miles north of Boston. At the 2010 census, it had a population of 6,459. The town is divided into two precincts, Groveland and South Groveland.

Methuen, Massachusetts City in Massachusetts, United States

Methuen is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 47,255 at the 2010 census. Methuen lies along the northwestern edge of Essex County, just east of Middlesex County and just south of Rockingham County, New Hampshire. The irregularly-shaped town is bordered by Haverhill to the northeast, North Andover to the east, Lawrence and Andover to the south, Dracut to the west, Pelham, New Hampshire to the northwest, and Salem, New Hampshire to the north. Methuen is located 30 miles (48 km) north-northwest of Boston and 25 miles (40 km) south-southeast of Manchester, New Hampshire.

North Andover, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

North Andover is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 28,352.

Billerica, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Billerica is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 40,243 according to the 2010 census. It takes its name from the town of Billericay in Essex, England.

Chelmsford, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Chelmsford is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts in the United States. It is within the traditional homeland of the Pennacook, whose descendants are members of the Abenaki First Nation. As of the 2010 United States Census, the town's population was 33,802. Only 48.4% are male and the median age of residents in Chelmsford is 39.2 years old. It is located 24 miles (39 km) northwest of Boston and, bordering on the city of Lowell, is part of the Greater Lowell metropolitan area. Besides Lowell on its northeast, Chelmsford is surrounded by four towns: Tyngsborough to the north, Billerica to the southeast, Carlisle to the south, and Westford to the west. Chelmsford is bordered by two sizable rivers: the Merrimack River to the north and the Concord River to the east.

North Reading, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

North Reading is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 14,892 at the 2010 census.

Woburn, Massachusetts City in Massachusetts, United States

Woburn is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 38,120 at the 2010 census. Woburn is located 9 miles (14 km) north of Boston.

Halifax, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Halifax is a town in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 7,518 at the 2010 census.

Berlin, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Berlin is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The town was first settled in 1665 and incorporated in 1812, and is governed under the open town meeting system. It is located 12 miles (19 km) northeast of Worcester and 29 miles (47 km) west of Boston. The population was 2,866 at the 2010 census.

Shrewsbury, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Shrewsbury is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. Shrewsbury, unlike the surrounding towns of Grafton, Millbury, Westborough, and Northborough, did not become a mill town or farming village; most of its 19th-century growth was due to its proximity to Worcester and visitors to Lake Quinsigamond. The population was 35,644 according to the 2010 US Census, in nearly 12,400 households.

Southborough, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Southborough is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. It incorporates the smaller villages of Cordaville, Fayville, and Southville. Its name is often informally shortened to Southboro, a usage seen on many area signs and maps, though officially rejected by town ordinance. Its population was 9,767 at the 2010 census, in nearly 3,000 households.

Sutton, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Sutton is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 8,963 at the 2010 census.

Lynnfield, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Lynnfield is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, in the United States. At the 2010 census, the town population was 11,596.

Saugus, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Saugus is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States, in the Greater Boston area. The population was 26,628 at the 2010 census.

Wakefield, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Wakefield is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts in the Greater Boston metropolitan area, incorporated in 1812 and located about 12.5 mi (20.1 km) north-northwest of Downtown Boston. The 73rd most populous municipality in Massachusetts, Wakefield's population was 24,932 at the 2010 census, with a 2016 population estimate of 26,399. Wakefield offers an assortment of activities around the local lake, Lake Quannapowitt.

Wilmington, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Wilmington is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States.

Boxford, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Boxford is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the town's population in 2016 was 8,277.

Rutland, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Rutland is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 7,973 at the 2010 census. Rutland is the geographic center of Massachusetts; a tree, the Central Tree, located on Central Tree Road, marks the general spot.

Bradford, Massachusetts Village in Massachusetts, United States

Bradford is a village and former town, in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. Eastern Bradford is the current town of Groveland, while western Bradford was annexed by the city of Haverhill, and today consists of the part of Haverhill on the south bank of the Merrimack River. While its separate existence from Haverhill has been largely obscured, the names of many locations in the area still bear the Bradford name.

References

  1. "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Reading town, Middlesex County, Massachusetts". United States Census Bureau . Retrieved April 6, 2012.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 "The Town of Reading – History". The Town of Reading. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  3. Our History. First Parish Congregational Church. fpccwakefield.com
  4. Parker, Theodore, John Parker of Lexington and his Descendants, Showing his Earlier Ancestry in America from Dea. Thomas Parker of Reading, Mass. from 1635 to 1893, pp. 15–16, 468–470, Press of Charles Hamilton, Worcester, MA, 1893.
  5. About Wakefield. wakefield.ma.us
  6. Eaton, William E. Historical Sketches of Ancient Redding, Massachusetts, Vol. I, pp. 6, 6A, 20, 23, 30, 34, 114–5, Wakefield, MA, 1935.
  7. Cutter, William Richard, Historic Homes and Places and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, p. 1860, Lewis Historical Publishing Co., New York, NY, 1908.
  8. Parker, Theodore, John Parker of Lexington and his Descendants, Showing his Earlier Ancestry in America from Dea. Thomas Parker of Reading, Mass. from 1635 to 1893, pp. 21–36, Press of Charles Hamilton, Worcester, MA, 1893.
  9. Parker, Augustus G., Parker in America, 1630–1910, pp. 5, 27, 49, 53–54, 154, Niagara Frontier Publishing Co., Buffalo, NY, 1911.
  10. A Brief History Archived October 4, 2013, at the Wayback Machine . wakefieldhistory.org
  11. Goudsouzian, Aram. King of the Court: Bill Russell and the Basketball Revolution. Univ of California Press, 2011.
  12. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  13. "Total Population (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010.
  14. "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  15. "1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1990. Table 76: General Characteristics of Persons, Households, and Families: 1990. 1990 CP-1-23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  16. "1980 Census of the Population, Number of Inhabitants: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1981. Table 4. Populations of County Subdivisions: 1960 to 1980. PC80-1-A23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  17. "1950 Census of Population" (PDF). Bureau of the Census. 1952. Section 6, Pages 21-10 and 21-11, Massachusetts Table 6. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1930 to 1950. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  18. "1920 Census of Population" (PDF). Bureau of the Census. Number of Inhabitants, by Counties and Minor Civil Divisions. Pages 21-5 through 21-7. Massachusetts Table 2. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1920, 1910, and 1920. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  19. "1890 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. Pages 179 through 182. Massachusetts Table 5. Population of States and Territories by Minor Civil Divisions: 1880 and 1890. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  20. "1870 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1872. Pages 217 through 220. Table IX. Population of Minor Civil Divisions, &c. Massachusetts. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  21. "1860 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1864. Pages 220 through 226. State of Massachusetts Table No. 3. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  22. "1850 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  23. "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau . Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  24. "Selected Economic Characteristics". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  25. "The Town of Reading – Voting Precincts". The Town of Reading. Retrieved November 8, 2007.
  26. 1 2 "The Town of Reading – Board of Selectmen". The Town of Reading. Retrieved November 8, 2007.
  27. "Directory List". Reading Public Schools. Retrieved November 8, 2007.
  28. Missile Sites. Ed-thelen.org. Retrieved on July 21, 2013.
  29. Nike Sites of Boston: Reading B-03 CL. Ed-thelen.org (May 17, 2000). Retrieved on July 21, 2013.
  30. "Reading Chronicle". Woburn Chronicle. Retrieved November 16, 2011.
  31. "Reading Advocate". Gatehouse Media. Retrieved November 16, 2011.
  32. "Reading Community Television" . Retrieved November 16, 2011.
  33. "The Late William Weston" . Burlington Free Press . Burlington, VT. April 2, 1875. p. 4 via Newspapers.com.

Further reading