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Situated along M-49 (Edon Road, Main Street), the City of Reading, Michigan is near the Ohio and Indiana borders.

Reading Road enters the lower part of the city from the west as West Elm Street, intersecting M-49, while it enters the center of the city from the east as Michigan Street. These are the only routes to and from the city.

Michigan cities and villages within twenty-five miles of Reading include Camden, Montgomery, Allen, Hillsdale, Jonesville, Quincy, Litchfield, North Adams, Coldwater, Hudson, and Waldon. Also within twenty-five miles are the Indiana localities of Clear Lake, York, Fremont, and Jamestown. The Ohio localities of Nettle Lake, Bridgewater Center, Florence, Blakeslee, Montpelier, and Superior.

Located in Hillsdale County, the city is surrounded by Reading Township. However, the two are administered autonomously.

Acknowledged as the first permanent settler of Reading Township, Judge John Mickle came to the area in the fall of 1835 with his wife and a hired hand. They had come from Maumee, Ohio over the old Chicago Trail as far as Jonesville, and then cut their own road through the forest to a point three miles north of the current town of Reading, where they built a home on land acquired from the federal government.

Mickle built a small log cabin, from which he was able to provide shelter to several families who came later, most of them also coming from Maumee. He later replaced the log cabin with a much larger structure made of squared walnut logs.

In the fall of 1835, Jefferson Kellogg and Lorenzo Abbott came from Toledo, staying with the Mickles until they could build homes of their own. Kellogg built his home near Mickle's, bringing his family from Ohio the following spring.

Originally known as Basswood Corners, for a stand of basswood trees located near an intersection of trails leading to the community, a post office was established on December 14, 1840, with Ralph Bailey as postmaster. It was at that time that the community was renamed Reading, for the township, which had itself been named for the city in Pennsylvania.

A village was platted on land owned by David Prouty and Thomas Fuller in 1852, the same year that the Turner & Young Sawmill began operation. Later additions to the plat were made by H.B. Chapman, Thomas Berry, George Young, and A.M.R. Fitzsimmons.

The Fort Wayne & Jackson Railroad came through in 1869, and a railroad station was established at Reading.

The railroad brought additional growth. Three brick stores were constructed on Main Street by H.B. Chapman, H.B. Parmalee, and "Carp" Dodge. The community's common school was replaced by a graded school, and a three-story brick school building was constructed in 1873.

The Colby Wringer Company opened a factory in Reading in 1872, with the citizenry helping to fund its construction. Also in the 1870s, Dr. C.D. Warner began manufacturing Dr. Warner's White Wine and Tar Syrup, a cold and cough remedy, and later added a tonic marketed as Warner Hop Bitters.

In 1873, Reading was incorporated as a village, becoming a city in 1934.

Stillman Parker opened a tannery in 1877, tanning and manufacturing buffalo hides into robes. Later, a stock company was formed, and large buildings were built to support this business on a larger scale. At one time, it was the largest buffalo tannery in the world. Of course, the near extinction of North American buffalo brought an end to this business within a few years, although it continued on a smaller scale as a tanning business for a time.

Other early industries in Reading included the Acme Chair Company. Built in the early 1900s, it burned in 1920, but was rebuilt of brick.

Today, Reading is a mostly residential community of just over a thousand people. With minor fluctuations over the years, its population has remained very stable. Its peak population was 1,203 in 1980, and its population was 1,094 at the time of the 2020 census.

The community supports some small manufacturing enterprises and several commercial businesses. Reading Community Schools offers a PK-12th-grade curriculum for students in the city and township. Its campuses include Reynolds Elementary School and Owens High School.

The focal point of this portion of our guide is on the city of Reading, Michigan. Appropriate resources include websites representing the municipality or any other government entities located within the city, as well as local industries, businesses, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, events, entertainment venues, and recreational opportunities.



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