Reading Terminal Market Throws it Back to 1893

Philadelphia's oldest culinary destination has been around for 125 years. Here's how they're celebrating this month.

Photo by Mario Oliveto

Reading Terminal Market, one of Philly’s most beloved food icons, turns 125 this year. And on Thursday, February 22nd, the market will celebrate 1893 Day, a flashback to its first year in business.

In 1893, sawdust littered Reading Terminal’s floor, vendors made home deliveries by wagon or train, and the market’s refrigeration system — comprised of 52 rooms that could be custom-cooled to as low as 15 degrees — was a technological wonder.

On 1893 Day, the market is skipping the sawdust —but they’re adding some period touches. The space will be decorated with a Victorian theme, with some merchants dressing in old-timey costumes, and penny-farthing riders making their way around the market.

Another perk of living like it’s 1893? The prices. Throughout the day, merchants will ring a bell to signal a drop to 1890s prices at their stall (think cents instead of dollars).

1893 Day will kick off a yearlong celebration of Reading Terminal’s 125th anniversary, including their annual Party for the Market fundraiser just two days later on February 24th.