PRINTER'S NO. 3189

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA


HOUSE RESOLUTION

No. 372 Session of 1998


        INTRODUCED BY SANTONI, CALTAGIRONE, ARGALL, MILLER, LEH, ROHRER,
           SEMMEL, THOMAS, ZUG, NAILOR, BELARDI, FLEAGLE, MUNDY, DALEY,
           OLASZ, READSHAW, PIPPY, HERMAN, GORDNER, GEORGE, SCHULER,
           DeWEESE, KENNEY, FICHTER, BROWN, TIGUE, HENNESSEY, SCHRODER,
           ORIE, CAPPABIANCA, HERSHEY, JOSEPHS, BOSCOLA, McNAUGHTON,
           GODSHALL, BELFANTI, CORRIGAN, WOJNAROSKI, SURRA, ITKIN,
           CLYMER, WOGAN, BATTISTO, RUBLEY, MAITLAND, COY, LESCOVITZ,
           HALUSKA, GEIST, DENT, RAMOS, SHANER, LAUGHLIN, BROWNE, BAKER,
           PETRONE, BENNINGHOFF, GANNON, ROONEY, ROSS, SAYLOR,
           TRAVAGLIO, DEMPSEY, BEBKO-JONES, FAIRCHILD, WALKO, MANDERINO,
           KIRKLAND, L. I. COHEN, SCRIMENTI, ROBERTS, TANGRETTI, TRUE,
           B. SMITH, DONATUCCI, CIVERA, ADOLPH, ROBINSON, MELIO, KAISER,
           STABACK AND YOUNGBLOOD, MARCH 17, 1998

        INTRODUCED AS NONCONTROVERSIAL RESOLUTION UNDER RULE 35,
           MARCH 17, 1998

                                  A RESOLUTION

     1  Extending congratulations on the 250th anniversary of the
     2     founding of the City of Reading and declaring March 23
     3     through 30, 1998, as "The City of Reading's 250th Anniversary
     4     Week" in this Commonwealth.

     5     WHEREAS, The City of Reading is conducting a yearlong
     6  celebration of the 250th anniversary of its founding; and
     7     WHEREAS, A birthday weekend, Wednesday, March 25 through
     8  Monday, March 30, is featuring reenacted appearances by Thomas
     9  and Richard Penn, the arrival of the Lord Mayor of Reading,
    10  England and a re-creation and rededication of the principles of
    11  the founding of Readington at City Hall; and
    12     WHEREAS, The people of Reading and its businesses, nonprofit
    13  organizations, schools, churches, hospitals, health care

     1  providers and elected officials have contributed to the benefit
     2  of this Commonwealth; and
     3     WHEREAS, The City of Reading, the sixth largest city in this
     4  Commonwealth, is an important economic, tourist, political,
     5  social, transportation, educational, health care, business and
     6  social hub; and
     7     WHEREAS, Reading businesses and workers contributed to
     8  Pennsylvania's economy as a center of the iron industry in the
     9  19th century, with 41 ironworks, and operated factories for the
    10  manufacture of cigars, paint, textiles, automobiles, pretzels,
    11  candy, cough drops, steel, shoes, bricks, goggles, gas ranges
    12  and wrought-iron pipes and other products; and
    13     WHEREAS, Today, Reading is known for many factory outlets and
    14  has earned recognition in the production of clothing and various
    15  food specialties and the construction of auto parts and steel
    16  products; and
    17     WHEREAS, Thomas and Richard Penn, sons of William Penn,
    18  founded Reading in 1748 and named it for the birthplace of their
    19  father; and
    20     WHEREAS, The Penns planned to develop Reading as early as
    21  1733 when Richard Hockley bought 1,150 acres on the east side of
    22  the Schuylkill River, and Samuel Finney and Thomas Lawrence also
    23  acquired land in what now comprises the heart of the city; and
    24     WHEREAS, Joseph Finney, a son of Samuel Finney, is regarded
    25  as the first settler in the area of the present City of Reading;
    26  and
    27     WHEREAS, Joseph Finney established early development in an
    28  area which, after his death, became known as Widow Finney's; and
    29     WHEREAS, Thomas Penn in his first visit in 1739, began plans
    30  for a new county, which he named Berks after his father's home
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     1  county of Berkshire, England; and
     2     WHEREAS, Thomas Penn remained in constant correspondence
     3  about the development of Reading after he returned to England in
     4  1742, directing through letters the purchase of lands, the sale
     5  of lots and the organization of Reading's early government; and
     6     WHEREAS, Thomas Penn's agents, Richard Hockley and Richard
     7  Peters, used a "straw man" to secure Thomas Lawrence's 437 1/2
     8  acres of land; and
     9     WHEREAS, Thomas Lawrence's parcel was transferred to Thomas
    10  and Richard Penn on March 30, 1748, and Reading was formally
    11  founded; and
    12     WHEREAS, Berks County was named as a separate county on March
    13  11, 1752; and
    14     WHEREAS, Reading, the county seat since passage of the act
    15  creating Berks County, was recognized as a borough and formally
    16  separated from Alsace Township on September 12, 1783, by an act
    17  of the General Assembly; and
    18     WHEREAS, As early as 1795, discussion arose about moving the
    19  State capital from Philadelphia, with Reading as a possible
    20  site; and
    21     WHEREAS, A charter providing enlarged powers was granted on
    22  March 29, 1813, and Reading was incorporated as a city by an act
    23  of the General Assembly on March 16, 1847; and
    24     WHEREAS, Reading city government organized on March 26, 1847,
    25  with Peter Filbert, a Lutheran clergyman, serving as the first
    26  mayor of the City of Reading; and
    27     WHEREAS, On May 23, 1874, Reading became a city of the third
    28  class; and
    29     WHEREAS, In 1992, voters approved a home rule charter
    30  reorganizing city government into a strong mayor-council form;
    19980H0372R3189                  - 3 -

     1  and
     2     WHEREAS, The citizens of Reading have established a
     3  distinguished record of military service; and
     4     WHEREAS, On July 17, 1775, a few months after the start of
     5  the American Revolution in Lexington and Concord, six companies
     6  of soldiers from Berks and neighboring counties were organized
     7  in Reading; and
     8     WHEREAS, On July 22, 1775, under the command of Captain
     9  George Nagel, these companies left Reading to march to Cambridge
    10  and earned distinction as the first troops to report to General
    11  George Washington, becoming known as The First Defenders; and
    12     WHEREAS, Forges and furnaces in Reading turned out cannon for
    13  the Continental Army, and Reading served as a depot for
    14  Continental military supplies and as the site of a camp for
    15  British and Hessian prisoners; and
    16     WHEREAS, A plot in 1777 to replace General Washington as
    17  Commander-in-Chief was stopped in Reading when Major James
    18  Monroe joined Major James Wilkinson for dinner at the Bald Eagle
    19  Hotel and Wilkinson confided information about the plot to
    20  Monroe, who immediately reported it to Washington; and
    21     WHEREAS, More than 9,000 soldiers from Reading and Berks
    22  County fought to set the United States free from English tyranny
    23  during the American Revolution; and
    24     WHEREAS, Troops from Reading also attained distinction in the
    25  Civil War; and
    26     WHEREAS, Captain James McKnight and his Ringgold Light
    27  Artillery was the first company in the nation to leave home
    28  after President Abraham Lincoln's call to duty on April 16,
    29  1861, after the firing on Fort Sumter in South Carolina; and
    30     WHEREAS, The company joined the Washington Artillery, the
    19980H0372R3189                  - 4 -

     1  National Light Infantry from Pottsville, the Allen Rifles of
     2  Allentown and the Logan Guards of Lewistown to barricade the
     3  City of Washington against possible attack; and
     4     WHEREAS, The first Ladies Aid Society in the nation was
     5  organized in Reading during the Civil War; and
     6     WHEREAS, Development in Reading contributed to the growth of
     7  business and industry in this Commonwealth; and
     8     WHEREAS, The Schuylkill and Susquehanna Navigation Company
     9  and the Delaware and Schuylkill Canal Company were chartered in
    10  the 1790's, and construction in the 1800's of a canal system in
    11  and around Reading opened up the State to development; and
    12     WHEREAS, The canal system in the area began operating on
    13  January 1, 1828, and functioned until the railway system became
    14  the major route of transportation; and
    15     WHEREAS, With the construction and expansion of the railway
    16  system, Reading secured its place as an industrial giant in this
    17  Commonwealth and our nation; and
    18     WHEREAS, The Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company was
    19  incorporated on April 4, 1833; and
    20     WHEREAS, The first track extended to Pottstown by December
    21  1837, and the system extended to Norristown and Philadelphia
    22  before its expansion and incorporation as the Reading Railroad;
    23  and
    24     WHEREAS, In 1858 J. Robley Dunglison came from Philadelphia
    25  to start the Reading Daily Times, and in 1868 the Reading Eagle
    26  started publishing under the supervision of William S. Ritter;
    27  and
    28     WHEREAS, These companies combined, and the tradition of a
    29  continuous daily newspaper begun in 1858 has survived to the
    30  present day; and
    19980H0372R3189                  - 5 -

     1     WHEREAS, Albright College relocated to Reading in September
     2  1928 when it merged with the Schuylkill Campus; and
     3     WHEREAS, The Pagoda, a city landmark visible in all
     4  directions, was built by William A. Witman, Sr., at the southern
     5  extremity of Mount Penn in 1908; and
     6     WHEREAS, The citizens of Reading acknowledge with pride the
     7  contributions of the city's native sons; and
     8     WHEREAS, Conrad Weiser, one of the founders of the city,
     9  provided aid to the Penns and early settlers and established
    10  good relations with native Americans who had made the site of
    11  Reading an important tribal area; and
    12     WHEREAS, Edward Biddle, the last speaker of the last Assembly
    13  of Pennsylvania under the proprietary government, represented
    14  Reading and Berks County in the first and second Continental
    15  Congress and signed the Olive Branch, in which the colonists
    16  sought to obtain redress from England, and the Declaration of
    17  Independence; and
    18     WHEREAS, The Rev. Frederick A.C. Muhlenberg served in the
    19  Continental Congress in 1779 and 1780, was president of the
    20  Constitutional Convention in 1787 and, a speaker of the first
    21  and third Congress, served in the first, second, third and
    22  fourth Congress from 1789 to 1797; and
    23     WHEREAS, Joseph Hiester, one of Reading's favorite sons,
    24  succeeded his father, Daniel Hiester, in Congress, serving from
    25  1797 to 1807 and from 1815 to 1820, and he was governor of
    26  Pennsylvania from 1820 to 1823; and
    27     WHEREAS, John Andrew Melchior Schulze, the second area native
    28  to be elected governor in the 1800s, won gubernatorial elections
    29  in 1823 and 1829; and
    30     WHEREAS, Thomas Mifflin, who lived in the area for many
    19980H0372R3189                  - 6 -

     1  years, served as a major general of the Continental Army during
     2  the Revolutionary War, represented Berks County in the
     3  Continental Congress in 1782 and was governor of Pennsylvania
     4  from 1790 to 1799; and
     5     WHEREAS, Henry August Muhlenberg, a Democratic nominee for
     6  governor in 1835 and 1844, served nine years as a member of
     7  Congress and was ambassador to Austria from 1838 to 1840; and
     8     WHEREAS, Major General David McMurrie Gregg, who resided in
     9  Reading from 1874 until his death in 1916, served with the Army
    10  of the Potomac, accepted appointment as consul at Prague in 1874
    11  and was State auditor general from 1892 to 1895; and
    12     WHEREAS, At his death, Major General Gregg was the last Civil
    13  War general in this Commonwealth, and statues in Reading and on
    14  the battlefield at Gettysburg commemorate his service; and
    15     WHEREAS, Spencer Fullerton Baird, born in Reading on February
    16  3, 1823, achieved national recognition as a natural scientist
    17  and, from 1850 through 1887, as assistant secretary and
    18  secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, D.C.;
    19  and
    20     WHEREAS, Mr. Baird contributed to the expansion of the
    21  Smithsonian Institution, bringing it to international
    22  prominence, and also held the post of United States Commissioner
    23  of Fish and Fisheries from 1871 until his death in 1887; and
    24     WHEREAS, James H. Maurer, a labor leader, organizer of the
    25  Socialist Party and 1906 gubernatorial candidate, won election
    26  to the State House of Representatives in 1910, 1914 and 1916;
    27  and
    28     WHEREAS, Mr. Maurer introduced and supported passage of the
    29  Workmen's Compensation Act and was a president of the
    30  Pennsylvania State Federation of Labor and a Socialist Party
    19980H0372R3189                  - 7 -

     1  candidate for national offices in 1928, 1932 and 1934; therefore
     2  be it
     3     RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives congratulate the
     4  City of Reading on the occasion of its 250th anniversary,
     5  recognize the notable contributions of its citizens, past and
     6  present, and declare the week of March 23 through 30, 1998, as
     7  "The City of Reading's 250th Anniversary Week" in this
     8  Commonwealth.















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