Settled in 1840 and incorporated as a village in 1842, Reading was originally known as Basswood Corners. The coming of the railroad in 1868-69, made Reading one of the best shipping points on the Lakeshore & Michigan Southern Line. Although the topography necessitated climbing a steeper grade to connect the Village, the “town bonded in aid of the railroad” assuring it be built through their township.During the late 1880's a number of excellent manufacturers and businesses prospered there.
The stately C.D. Schermerhorn home just south of the main business district, is today the St. John-White Funeral Home.
In the late 1800's the Reading House was said to be one of the leading up-to-date hotels in the county.
H.P. Parmelee was a early dealer in dry goods and groceries and was one of three businesses in the first brick block built in the village.
The Buffalo Tannery was begun in 1877, becoming one of the largest of its kind in the world. Once the slaughter of buffalo began in the west, their population quickly disappeared, putting an end to the once thriving industry.
In A History of Reading, Village and Township: 1836-1911, the village of Reading is described as “one of the prettiest towns on the map.”
The Acme Chair Company office, shown c. 1910. The original plant was of wood and burned in 1920. It was rebuilt of brick.
Carol A. Lackey