Reading Massachusetts, 1890

Reading is an old and pleasant town in the extreme eastern of Middlesex County, 12½ miles north of Boston on the Western Division of the Boston and Maine Railroad; whose stations here are Reading and Reading Highlands. The other village is Dragon's Corner. The first is the post-office.

The boundaries are North Reading on the north, Lynnfield on the east, Wakefield on the southeast, Stoneham on the south, and Woburn and Wilmington on the west. The assessed area is 5,737 acres. There are 2,264 acres of woodland, containing oak, pine and maple. The rook is sienite, which here and there appears in ledges. Bear Hill, at the extreme southeast, is a handsome elevation The land generally is uneven but not hilly, so that the scenery is varied, and even picturesque in some localities. In the northerly parts of the town are extensive meadows which yield good crops of swale hay and cranberries. The nursery products in 1885 were $7,099. The aggregate value of the products of the 172 farms was $93,341.

The last State census reports nine boot and shoe factories employing 133 persons, and making goods to the amount of $115,596; three furniture factories, employing 52 persons; two organ factories, employing 33; a machine shop employing 23 men; a rubber factory employing 50 persons; and one fireworks factory employing 10 persons. Coach lace, straw goods and other clothing were made to the value of $130,003. Additional manufactures are carriages, lumber, leather and food preparations. The aggregate value of goods made was $708,581. The savings bank at the close of last year held deposits to the amount of $97,890. The co-operative bank, established in 1886, may accumulate capital to the amount of $1,000,000; and at the close of last year had assets consisting of loans on real estate and stock, dues, cash, etc., amounting to $27,310. The population was 3,539, including 868 legal voters. The valuation in 1888 was $2,555,400, with a tax-rate of $16.40.

The dwelling-houses are of wood, and number 788. The village of Reading is very pleasantly situated on rising ground, and contains many elegant residences and handsome churches. Of the latter, the Congregationalists have two, and the Baptists, Methodists, Unitarians, Roman Catholics and Presbyterians have one each. There are 9 or 10 school-houses, valued at some $35,000. The schools have four grades, including a high school. The public library contains upwards of 6,000 volumes. The "Reading Chronicle" is the public journal.

In the State records, under date of May 29, 1644, is the entry, "Linn Village shall he called Redding." The name early became spelled as at present, but with a pronunciation of the old, as if in protest against the change. A part of the territory was taken in 1730 to form Wilmington; in 1812, the First or South Parish of Reading was established as South Reading (since changed to Wakefield); and in 1853 a part was established as North Reading.

A party of five Indians raided this town in 1706, killing a woman and three of her children, and carrying away five of their brothers and sisters. These captives were subsequently recovered.

pp. 560- in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890