clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Photos: Reading Terminal Market from 1891 to today

It was just named a top food hall in the U.S.

Reading Terminal Market was just named the third best food hall in the U.S.
Courtesy of Shutterstock

Reading Terminal Market was just named among the top 20 food halls in the U.S., taking the number three spot.

Cushman & Wakefield recently released its Food Halls of America Report, which suggests that the rise of food halls is the really the return of “urban markets of the past.” And in Philly, the “Reading Terminal Market may be the perfect example of the classic American Food Hall.”

Today, the historic market boasts more than 60 restaurants and merchants, with very little turnover. But in its hey day before the Great Depression, advertisements show that the market served more than 200 vendors, not to mention the major train station for the Reading Company.

To celebrate the market’s recent accolades, take a trip down memory lane from Reading Terminal’s very beginnings to today.

Courtesy of PhiladelphiaBuildings.com

↑ 1891: Construction begins on the Reading Terminal, with an agreement to build a market below the train station to account for the already open-air market on the site. The Italian Renaissance Revival-style Headhouse was designed by F.H. Kimball, while Wilson Brothers were responsible for the train station.

Courtesy of the Library of Congress

↑ 1892: Construction continues on the Reading Terminal. At the time, the train shed was one of the largest single-span arched roof structures in the world. That same year, merchants moved into the ground-floor market.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

↑ 1893: After three years, rail service begins with the first train rolling into Reading Terminal.

Courtesy of PhiladelphiaBuildings.org

↑ 1901: The terminal enjoys its first few decades as the main source of food supply in the Philly region, with 250 merchants and 100 farmers selling their goods at the market.

Courtesy of the Library of Congress

↑ c. 1948: The waiting room undergoing construction at the Reading Terminal train station.

Courtesy of Phillyhistory.org

↑ 1971: Reading Company declares bankruptcy this year, leaving the future of the market and train station in flux. A battle ensues between preservationists and developers.

↑ 1980: Reading Terminal undergoes some restorations after emerging from bankruptcy and buying the property back from a developer.

Courtesy of Phillyhistory.org

↑ 1982: The market is nearly 60 percent leased with merchants who have returned after leaving years before due to rising rents. But the last train leaves the station in 1984.

Courtesy of the Library of Congress

↑ 1990-2000: In 1990, the Pennsylvania Convention Center buys the market, restoring the historic train shed and transforming it into the event space it is today.

Courtesy of Shutterstock

↑ 2016: Today, Reading Terminal Market is 100 percent full of an array of vendors and plays host to outdoor flea and flower markets on Filbert Street, movie nights, and more. It remains open while the convention center replaces the roof of the Headhouse, which should finish up in December 2017.