Reading is an industrial, agricultural, and banking center and the seat of Berks County. It is located on the Schuykill River 65 miles (105 km) northwest of Philadelphia in the middle of Pennsylvania Dutch country. The city is known for its pretzels and candy, and is a popular destination for discount outlet shopping.
Named for Reading, England (ancestral home of the Penn family), Reading was designed in 1748 under two sons of William Penn. With development of the Schuykill Canal and the Reading Railroad, it became a regional transportation center in the early 1800s. By the 20th Century it had gained considerable importance. Its population peaked in 1930 at 111,171.
The lankmark Pagoda on Mount Penn overlooking the city is one of two authentic Japanese pagodas in the US.