Reading Terminal Market

Reading Terminal Market

Reading Terminal Merchants

Markets have been a part of Philadelphia’s history since the city’s development by William Penn in the late seventeenth century. When William Penn’s managers established the town of Philadelphia, one of their first actions was to herd the ragtag crowd of farmers, fisherman, and huntsman, who were hawking their goods all over the bustling settlement, into an open area at the foot of what was known as High Street, along the Delaware River. Soon the so-called ‘Jersey Market’ (because most of the hucksters were from the neighboring state) began to expand westward in the middle of the thoroughfare that had been appropriately renamed Market Street. With the growth of Philadelphia came the expansion of public markets. By the middle of the nineteenth century, the string of market sheds had become six blocks long, making the easternmost mile of the city’s main street a veritable babble of farmers and food purveyors on most days.