The Reading Terminal Market has been an iconic Philadelphia attraction since 1892 and offers visitors, especially foodies, a sumptuous treat with an extensive selection of food set against a rustic and historic venue.
Al fresco farm markets were very famous during early colonial America owing with their central location and a variety of fresh produce they offer to residents. However, these outdoor marketplaces eventually became cumbersome because of their health implications and the traffic jams that they cause. However, instead of scrapping all together the shopping and epicurean destination that many Philadelphia residents have grown to love, the local city government of Philly brought the outdoors to the inside, owing also to the help of Reading Terminal.
The structure which contains the Reading Terminal Market was conceptualized by F.H. Kimbal of the Wilson Brothers Architecture and Engineering firm. By the time it was completed, it ranked as one of the structures with the largest single-piece arched roofs in the planet. It is now the oldest building of its kind and is the only remaining of such building holding a single-span roof in the United States. The general aesthetics of the building follows the Italian Renaissance Style and the market?s interior is embellished with opulent decorative marbles and plasters.
Philadelphians loved the Reading Terminal Market starting the first day it opened its doors to the public, mainly because of its modern refrigeration system and the wide variety of produce it offers. Situated directly under a railroad terminal station, the Reading Terminal Market boasts of 800 individual shops offering different food choices. Its strategic location in the Reading Terminal Station also made it as a popular shopping destination for suburban housewives who could have fresh produce brought to them aboard the train without having to go to the city.
The Reading Terminal Market thrived through many trying times including the Great Depression in the 1930s and the World War II in early 1940s. However, advancement in transportation and as more and more people used cars rather than the trains, the Reading Terminal Market lost its patrons. The Reading Terminal closed in 1976 which and very little portions of the market withstood it and by 1985, the Reading Terminal ceased operations.
However, concerned Philadelphia residents lobbied behind the revitalization of the market that they have grew up with and in the 1980s, the Reading Company gave in to the request of the residents and started a wide-scale rehabilitation and enhancement process. Today, the Reading Terminal Market is once again a bustling commercial area and is also a venue for a number of concerts and other live entertainment. It also has a mascot now named Philbert the Pig and has also has a piggybank rendition displayed in the market. Every dollar put into this piggybank is donated to The Food Trust feeding program.