The Reading Terminal Market can trace its origins to early Philadelphia when farmers sold their produce in the middle of East Market Street.  By 1857, the street market was closed by the city as a traffic obstruction and an indoor facillity built at the present site.  In 1889, the Reading Railroad reached an agreement to build its terminal on the site with provision for the market under its viaduct and immense train shed.   The market originally extended for several blocks and included a section that was entirely refrigerated---a remarkable feature of the time.

Over the years, a number of changes have taken place.  The Reading Terminal ceased to serve trains in 1984 when an underground station was constructed.  The train shed above the market became an entrance for the Pennsylvania Convention Hall.  The market itself suffered from the general decline of Philadelphia's fortunes and eventually shrank to its present one block area.  In recent years, an urban revival has improved economic conditions at the market which now appears to enjoy full tenancy.  One modernization regreted by some was the replacement of the curious century-old fixtures in the restrooms.

At present, one will find a bustling market in an antique setting selling a variety of products, some to be eaten on the spot.  Some of the long- time tenants are locally famous vendors of ice cream, clam chowder, etc.  Of particular interest to visitors are the Amish and Mennonite vendors, but be warned that they do not work on Sundays.

Reading Terminal Market