Early Education in Reading

2012-11-14
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Education was encouraged at Reading from the beginning of its history. It was carried on mostly in connection with the churches. Two of the earliest teachers connected with the Lutherans, who taught for many years, were Joseph Fleischer and Paul Fuegner. John Philip Foesig was the teacher with the Reformed for over fifty years, having begun in 1751. The Trinity Lutheran School at Sixth and Washington streets was used for educational purposes for nearly one hundred years, 1765 to 1855.

First School House at Reading

The Reading Academy was a prominent school for sixty years. It was incorporated in 1788 and given aid by the State. The building stood on the southwest corner of Seventh and Chestnut streets. The trustees sold it in 1838, and then erected another at Fourth and Court streets (site of old Girls' High School), which was occupied as a private school until 1853, and since then as a public high school.

The common school system of 1834 was adopted at Reading in 1836. The first directors had been, however, elected in 1835. Then there were seventeen schools, seventeen teachers, and 1,439 scholars. The first public school buildings were erected in 1838, four in number, and the illustration given represents the building at Sixth and Walnut streets.

The High School was organized in 1852, and the co-education of boys and girls was carried on from 1857 to 1881. The Boys' High School was erected in 1883 at a cost of $65,500; the Girls' (in place of the Reading Academy) in 1895, at a cost of $110,000; and the new Boys' High School in 1905, at a cost of $375,000.

The revised charter of 1864 for the city consolidated the five wards into one district, under the name of the Reading School District.

In 1908, the school department had forty-six buildings which were occupied by schools, and one (formerly the Boys' High School) for administration purposes. Their situation, value, and capacity appear in the following table:


Old Schools of Reading
(Click images to enlarge)

2nd & Oley, No. 1

2nd & Oley, No. 2 as it appeard in 1906

4th and Elm

5th and Spring

6th and Chestnut

9th and Marion

9th and Spruce

10th and Green (1903)

10th and Green (front)
Mulberry and Green (back)

10th and Union

10th and Washington

11th and Pike

12th and Buttonwood

12th and Greenwhich

13th and Cotton

17th and Cotton

Bingaman and Orange

Old Boys High School

Buttonwood and Pear

Douglass and Weiser

Elm and Madison

Elm and Moss

Flanklin and Peach

Girls High School

Maple and Cotton

Spring and Moss



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