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History Of Reading, Massachusetts

If you are new to the Reading area or have lived here for a while, you might know all the best local spots, but you may not know all of the rich historical events that have taken place on this soil. Massachusetts is a prominent state for America’s free beginning, but many shocking events happened before the town of Reading came to be what it is today.

Knowing the history of where you live can be comforting and exciting. Other than knowing you pronounce the town as “Red-ing,” there are some historical occurrences you may not have known, which will give you a better understanding of the quaint little town.

Beginnings

The first people to colonize the town of Reading in 1644 came over from England in the 1630s. Reading got its name from Reading, England. After the town was established, the first church and parish were established in an area that would later become Wakefield. The town’s first settlement was called Lyn Village and settled at “the Great Pond.” The area is now known as Lake Quannapowitt, where the residents of Reading love visiting today.

The Parker Tavern, a still-standing structure, is one of the oldest remaining buildings from the seventeenth century. It was built in 1694 and today operates as a museum of local history where residents can learn more about Reading when the tavern was built.

Witch Trials

The famous seventeenth-century Witch Trials included some Reading residents. 1692 was the beginning of the mass witch trial accusation, and the Dustin family were facing the accusations head-on. The first to be accused was a widow named Lydia Dustin, who later died in prison before she was released after being found not guilty. Her daughters Sarah Duston and Mary Colson were also arrested with a warrant out for her granddaughter, Elizabeth Colson, but she was never found. It was speculation that Elizabeth fled the town and planned to leave the country to avoid going through the trial and accusation. In the end, no one from Reading was found guilty of witchcraft.

American Revolution

When it came to the American Revolution, the town of Reading was highly active. The Capt. Nathaniel Parker Red House, located on Ash Street, was a meeting place of minutemen during the revolutionary war. The Capt. Nathaniel Parker Red House is still up today and can be visited to see the long-standing building. According to the records, only one Reading soldier died in battle. Joshua Eaton died in the Battle of Saratoga in 1777. The town also had minor involvement during the Civil War, with 411 people fighting in battle. Out of the 411 Reading soldiers, 15 died from being on the front lines, while 33 died from sickness and infections. A memorial still exists today in the Laurel Hill Cemetary honoring the fallen from the Civil War.

Economy Rise

The aftermath of the wars brought businesses to the town, starting with a Tire & Rubber company. Since then, Reading became industrialized after WW1 and saw a rise in its economy and population.

Directions from Capt. Nathaniel Parker Red House to 128 Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electric: