Reading Terminal Market is an enclosed public market located at 12th and Arch Streets in Center City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It opened originally in 1893 under the elevated train shed of the Reading Railroad Company after the city of Philadelphia advocated moving public markets from the streets into indoor facilities for both safety and sanitary reasons.
When the Center City Commuter Connection was completed in 1984, the Reading Terminal ceased operating as a train station, impacting foot traffic at the Market. The Reading Company proposed using the Reading Terminal complex as a new convention center site. The site was chosen for the convention center, and in 1990 the Company transferred the title to the complex to the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority. Presently, the Market still occupies the ground floor, and basement levels of the Reading Terminal’s former train shed, which is now part of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Vendor stalls occupy the ground floor with entrances on Filbert Street to the South, Twelfth Street to the West, and Arch Street to the North. The stalls are arranged in a grid pattern with an open area in the center with tables and seating. Over one hundred merchants offer fresh produce, meats, fish, artisan cheese, groceries, ice cream, flowers, grilled cheese, baked goods, crafts, books, clothing, and specialty and ethnic foods. Two vendors are descendants of original merchants from the initial opening in the late 1800s. The basement floor of the market holds the refrigerated storage area for vendor use. The storage area was considered state-of-the-art when it was built in 1893. Currently, the market is open every day of the week, although the Pennsylvania Dutch merchants (a small but significant minority) generally do not operate Sunday through Tuesday.
Open-air markets have flourished in Philadelphia since its founding. Growth of the city demanded more markets, and the string of open-air markets extending from the Delaware River ran for six blocks, or one full mile, prompting the main street (then called ‘High Street’) to be renamed ‘Market Street’ in 1858. Soon after the markets reached their peak growth and capacity, the public began to perceive open-air markets within the city as dirty and unhygienic. Some residents also considered the frenzy along High/Market Street a nuisance and traffic hazard. In 1859, city officials bowed to public pressure and dismantled all of them, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania chartered seventeen different market companies. This prompted two indoor markets to open at 12th and Market Streets, Franklin Market and Farmers’ Market. These two would be the foundation of the Reading Terminal Market.
Today, the market is a popular location for local Philadelphians to buy their goods and produce as well as extraordinary culinary treats and unique merchandise; it is listed with such Philadelphia tourist destinations as Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. It is adjacent to two Marriott Hotels, a Hilton Garden Inn, the Pennsylvania Convention Center, SEPTA’s Jefferson Station, the Philadelphia Greyhound Terminal, and another Philadelphia landmark, the Fashion District Philadelphia shopping mall.
As addressed in the official Reading Terminal Market’s mission statement, the current organization wants:
- To preserve the architectural and historical character and function of the Reading Terminal Market as an urban farmers’ market. Junk Removal Philadelphia Kings
- To provide a wide variety of produce, meat, fish, bakery and dairy products, and other raw and prepared food brought to a public market in the center of the city by farmers, growers, producers, and chefs;
- To maintain an environment that recognizes and celebrates the diversity of our citizens and fosters their interaction;
- To strengthen the historical link and mutual dependency of our rural and urban communities; and,
- To achieve this while preserving the financial viability and achieving self-sufficiency for the Market.
Address: 1136 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA
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