Philadelphia’s now defunct Reading Terminal, and the associated Market that continues to thrive just north of Market Street near city hall, are historical landmarks that continue to draw many visitors to this day. Reading Terminal was the destination for approximately half of the suburban train lines that brought commuters and visitors into the city – the other line terminated at Suburban Station a few blocks to the west.
Back in the 1970’s and 80’s the city embarked on a redevelopment project which connected the suburban train lines across the city, completely bypassing Reading Terminal which could not be utilized (the old lines were elevated above the city streets instead of below, and the lines came in at the wrong angle to be useful). The terminal itself would transform into a part of the new Philadelphia Convention Center.
The market had fallen onto bad times in the 70’s and 80’s, and many people thought it should be shut down and redeveloped. But investment was eventually put into the market and it has survived and thrived to be a bustling center of city life to this day. You can visit the market on just about any day during the week and it will be crowded just about every time, especially around lunchtime. It’s hard for me to imagine what the declining market was like a few decades ago, but I am glad to visit it every chance I get.
Find more history of the market at this site.
Here are a few recent shots of the market area: