Reading is a survivor state in southeastern Pennsylvania centered on the city of Reading with territorial control as far north as Schuylkill County to as far south as central Lancaster County, west to the Susquehanna River and east to Allentown. However much of the southeastern portion of the nation’s claimed territory is uncontrolled due to radioactive fallout from the destruction of Philadelphia. It takes its name from the capital and largest city of Reading, and the government was only intended to be an interim authority until jurisdiction could be resumed from the Pennsylvania state government.
While it has not declared formal independence, the nation has been de facto independent since Doomsday.
- 1 History
- 2 Demographics
- 2.1 Census
- 2.2 Ethnic Groups
- 2.3 Languages
- 2.4 Immigration
- 2.5 Municipality Classification
- 2.6 Largest Communities
- 2.7 Metropolitan Statistical Areas
- 2.8 Micropolitan Statistical Areas
- 2.9 Counties and Territories not in a Statistical Area
- 2.10 Tallest Buildings
- 2.11 Future of Bethlehem, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia
- 3 Constitution
- 4 Government
- 5 Political Divisions
- 6 Economy
- 7 Education
- 8 Communication and Media
- 9 Sports
- 10 Military
- 11 International Relations
- 12 References
- 13 See also
There were several nearby strikes on Bethlehem, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia which completely destroyed all three cities, as well as strikes in Baltimore and the District of Columbia. Allentown, while not targeted was damaged from the blast on Bethlehem and rapidly decayed into an anarchical situation.
Reading received its fair share of refugees from Harrisburg and Philadelphia. As a result the city was overcrowded and food shortages dominated the first two years after Doomsday. By 1987, the population of the Greater Reading Area was less than 95,000. In a last ditch effort to prevent total anarchy surrounding the cities, local National Guardsmen under the command of World War Two veteran Joe Toye drove out the refugee bands surrounding the city outskirts to allow Reading to consolidate a good control over the local food supplies.
Soon after, the government at Reading organized a new authority, the Provisional Government of Pennsylvania at Reading at an attempt to secure the area.
By 1990 Reading's government controlled the city and surrounding suburbs and towns, and gradually expanded its control over the region, consolidating farms and any other sources of food. They made contact with the cities of Pottsville (in Schuylkill County) in 1991 and Lebanon (in Lebanon County) in 1992. Both cities declared their support for Provisional Pennsylvania in Reading and agreed to submit to the authority of the state government. In 1996, Epharata and northeastern Lancaster County also requested admission with the southwestern part of the county including Lancaster City were dealing with instability due to limited foodstuff and a higher population.
However, the provisional government was in communication with the local authorities in Lancaster and worked to provide food and other supplies to the city and surrounding regions.
Between 1995 and 1996, Reading came in contact with State College, North Pennsylvania and Gettysburg. While scouts passed through what would become Susquehanna and a provisional government had formed in Bloomsburg, control over much of the territory was extremely limited and frequently the Readingers would pass through completely unnoticed.
Reading was aware of the provisional government but decided to avoid contact as there were concerns of hostilities and reports of gangs in the eastern regions caused officials to be wary of official contact.
In 1998, two scout regiments were given orders to head for the cities of Coatesville and Bethlehem respectively and make contact with survivors in both cities. However, there were some doubts as to whether an expedition should be sent to Bethlehem, as it was close to the Bethlehem Steel Works which were targeted by an airburst blast, as well as the presence of the Allentown Mob in Allentown, which separated the city from the western counties.
Both scout groups arrived in their respective destinations on July 6, 1998. Radio contact with the Bethlehem scouts was intermittent due to the radiation lingering in the area. They reportedly found a small community of survivors in the southern portion of the city and had been invited by the local leaders for informal talks. The expedition reported that they avoided Allentown proper and managed to pass through the Allentown Mob's territory unnoticed.
The Coatesville scouts encountered a thriving city of almost ten thousand people. Surprised to find such a large group of people so close to a known nuclear target, the scouts naturally wanted to know how they managed to survive and immediately requested to talk with the local leaders. It was shared that the borough council had evacuated the community to eastern Lancaster County for two years after Doomsday, relying on police and volunteers to monitor Coatesville and prevent looting. When radiation levels were detected to have dropped to safe levels, the borough was slowly repopulated.
The scouts were invited to tour the Lukens Steel Company, which Coatesville had partially restored though output was limited due to the facility relying solely on manual labor by workers and livestock. Most of the material being processed were salvaged scrap steel or raw materials on-site prior to Doomsday.
State officials met with borough leaders in late 1998 and the community agreed to join the provisional government as the county seat of a reformed Chester County, though the authorities only controlled the far western reaches of the county.
While the provisional government had firm control of the larger communities in northern Lancaster, Lebanon, and southern Schuylkill counties as well as most of Bucks County at the turn of the millennia, it lacked meaningful influence over more rural populations. Gangs and looters frequently took advantage of the situation and would raid communities then evade security or law enforcement personnel responding, creating a headache for local law enforcement.
Firm contact with four other survivor states in Pennsylvania as well as Delmarva and the Republic of New York were cemented by 2001. Embassies to Delmarva and New York were exchanged while officials only had informal relations with the other Pennsylvanian survivor states due to Reading's claim to be the legal successor to the pre-Doomsday Pennsylvania State Government.
In 2003, Reading and Susquehanna formalized territorial control in Schuylkill County to prevent a long term conflict as well as agreed to trade provisions. While Reading still, as part of public policy, officially claimed Susquehanna as part of its territory, the two governments agreed to dodge the issue at the time and focus on areas of collaboration.
Throughout the early to mid-2000's, the National Guard was enlarged and strengthened with local weapons manufacturing and efforts made to restore pre-Doomsday armored vehicles to working order. These efforts proved fruitful as the state government managed to tamp out raiders in Schuylkill and Lebanon County and began work to influence the rest of Lancaster County as well as the city government to agree to unification. This would payoff as the region would vote to join the provisional state in 2005.
News in late 2005 of the Commonwealth of Susquehanna declaring formal independence and renouncing claims as a successor state to Pennsylvania caused a minor political crisis in Reading. Certain officials advocated for the provisional government to invade Susquehanna and occupy the capital or a show of force to convince the government to accede to control to Reading. However cooler heads prevailed and Reading continued to improve relations with the new nation.
In 2009, a political crisis arose in Reading when the Governor was ambushed and assassinated by the Allentown Mob. The people were divided between isolationist Lieutenant-Governor Rocky Colavito who pushed for the state government to concentrate efforts on securing existing territory and cutting off contact with Gettysburg, Susquehanna, and the other states and nations it was in communication with and Lebanon Mayor Bob Anspach, who advocated increased contact with the other survivors and improving ties. The matter was finally solved when they agreed to share power until the 2010 election winner was sworn in.
The official state government policy advocated for increased contact but limited intervention or assistance in foreign affairs to focus on development within Reading. Even so trade with survivors in Millersville, which began in 2006 increased and state officials were surprised when the county government requested to join Reading. While there was minor internal debate over what the outcome should be, it was finally agreed to as it was felt in certain political circles that control of the former capital of Pennsylvania would improve Reading's competing claim with State College to the successor state of Pennsylvania.
On November 9th, 2010 John E. Jones III, a former county clerk and judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Pennsylvania from Schuylkill County, was elected as the 46th Governor and he was sworn in on January 20th of the following year.
Governor Jones immediately promised to secure Allentown and improve safety in eastern Berks County and western Lehigh County by calling up the National Guard and 3,000 volunteers to remove the gangs and marauders that had taken control of Allentown in the mid-1980's. Jones also pledged to cement and improve relations with nearby survivor states of Delmarva, Gettysburg, North Pennsylvania, State College, Susquehanna, and, if possible, form permanent ties with both the United Communities and the League of Nations.
Between September 1st 2011 and October 4th 2011, Reading fought, what had been dubbed the Allentown Mob, in a brief war named the Reading-Allentown War. The first week saw slow progress with just around one quarter of the city being liberated and secured. Unfortunately the rest of the city had been heavily fortified and remained in the hands of the gangs.
However, covert negotiations between Reading and smaller gangs that were only occupying the region as a means of survival, not control, managed to convince several of the gangs, primarily being Kerry Collins, the leader of the Wilson Fighting Men, to defect. The gang began to assist the Readinger National Guard in seizing control of the Allentown Municipal Airport.
While the capture was more strategic than tactical, the facility allowed for Reading to stage support troops and supplies in a single facility and helped improve logistics.
On September 28, Commander Marshall reported that the National Guard had surrounded the Allentown City Hall and PPL Building where the surviving members of the Allentown Mob had fortified and holed up in. The Reading National Guard Special Forces, guided by the Wilson Fighting Men and the Reading Air National Guard, entered the two buildings simultaneously and fought floor to floor, heavily damaging both buildings.
On October 4, the flag of the Allentown Mob, the Jolly Rodger, was struck down and the flag of Pennsylvania was raised. Roy Afflerbach, chairman of the Allentown Transitional Council, was sworn in as mayor and pledged allegiance to Reading. However, reports came in that some of the gang leaders and members had escaped to neighboring Northampton and Carbon counties. The surviving gangs would be arrested or destroyed in the following few years.
Expansion and International Organizations
Under Governor Jones' new policy, expansion became one of the primary objectives of Reading. The nation expanded into former Montgomery and Northampton counties and secured its holdings in western Dauphin and Lancaster counties, which while claimed by Reading since the mid-2000's were under tenuous control and raider attacks were frequent.
In 2015, Reading, Lehigh, and Susquehanna signed the Treaty of Pottsville, forming the Confederation of Pennsylvanian States. The supranational organization was arranged to provide mutual defense and economic security between the three signatories. Lehigh and Susquehanna at that time agreed to officially adopt the Reading Dollar as the legal currency for the country. Additionally, a formal border between Reading and Susquehanna was drawn with Reading gaining over 240 square miles of territory in the western part of the former county.
While certain elements in the state government disagreed with provisions recognizing Susquehanna's independence, the bill passed by a majority when Susquehanna agreed to recognize Reading as the only legal successor to the pre-Doomsday Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and state government. Lehigh and Susquehanna also agreed to recognize the Reading Dollar as the legal tender of the nation.
The Williamsport Conference in 2019 saw the first conference composing the majority of Pennsylvanian survivor states. While Reading and State College did not resolve the competing claims to the successor state of Pennsylvania they agreed to resolve the dispute in future negotiations.
Present Day (2020-Present)
Since the formation of the Confederation of Pennsylvania, Reading has seen an increase in economic output as companies expanded operations into Susquehanna and improved ties with New York. The state government has also announced plans to secure the rest of southeastern Pennsylvania.
In 1990 the provisional state government renewed census taking following the pre-Doomsday federal enrollment. The provisional government excludes unorganized territories from the census as obtaining accurate data is extremely difficult.
While the nation remains largely agrarian, a rapidly growing portion of the population are living in more urban areas throughout the nation. Reading, Lebanon, Lancaster, and Coatesville have seen some growth since 2010 as the local economies grew and the counties stabilized.
The census is taken every ten years and is released in January of the census year, at which point the General Assembly seats are redistricted.
Reading has seen significant population increase in every census. This has come from high birth rates as well as a consistent increase in territory between censuses.
The largest racial group in Reading are whites, per the 2020 Census. Small minorities of black, Asian, Hispanic, and other individuals populate the country with most of these individuals around Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, and Lebanon.
German, Polish, Irish, and Italian are the largest ethnic groups. However English, Ukranian, African American, and Hispanics all have a population that is 1% or more of the overall population composition.
- Racial Makeup
- 94% White
- 92% White (Non-Hispanic)
- 2% White (Hispanic)
- 3% Black
- 2% Asian
- 1% Other
- 94% White
- Ethnic Groups
- 34% German
- 21% Polish
- 17% Irish
- 12% Italian
- 8% English
- 4% Ukrainian
- 2.8% African American
- 2% Hispanic
- 0.4% Chinese
- 0.3% Korean
- 0.2% Indian
- 0.1% Vietnamese
- 1.3% Other
English is the most widely spoken language as well as the official language of Reading. Pennsylvania Dutch is commonly spoken among the Amish population in Lancaster and there have been discussions of making Pennsylvania Dutch an official second language, however the majority of Amish also speak English. Other languages such as Chinese, Italian, Hindi, and Greek may be spoken in homes however these are in the minority and are small enough that they were unable to be officially recorded on the census.
- 94% English
- 4% Bilingual (English/Pennsylvania Dutch)
- 1.5% Pennsylvania Dutch
- <0.5% Other Languages
Prior to 2009, Reading had limited immigration laws or policies in place due to the lack of ability to control its borders. This was due to poor capabilities for border patrol, limited if any documentation of births and death between 1984 and 1995. In mid-2010, the government passed laws recognizing any former citizen of Pennsylvania or a legitimate survivor state would be eligible for citizenship after five years of permanent residency and actively engaging in employment.
Immigration rates are fairly flat, with most immigration coming from Gettysburg or State College. However, a number of Reading citizens live in Susquehanna and work in Reading due to the low cost of living in Susquehanna. Domestically, business leaders and government officials are working to increase immigration rates this and help bring skilled workers into the nation.
Under Reading's state law there are four types of incorporated municipalities: cities, towns, boroughs, and townships. The majority of municipalities are boroughs or townships and no active towns. Each have different jurisdictions, legal arrangements, and responsibilities.
With the massive destruction on Doomsday, most of the largest cities in Pennsylvania were destroyed. Several large cities in the region; Bethlehem, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia; were destroyed. Overall, these are thought to be the ten largest communities. Allentown, at the time of Doomsday was the fourth largest city in Pennsylvania and Reading was the fifth largest city in Pennsylvania.
Since Doomsday, Reading is now the largest surviving city in former Pennsylvania and Allentown is the fifth largest city.
Ten largest Communities in Reading:
|Rank||Community||Image||Population (1980)||Population (2020)||Classification||Area (sq mi)||Population Density (/sq mi)||County|
Metropolitan Statistical Areas
There are four Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) in the nation. Primary cities are the main centers for business and trade with populations of greater than 10,000 people. Secondary cities are minor hubs that have an impact on the local economy but are much smaller in economic influence and a population of greater than 5,000 people. Metropolitan Statistical Areas must have at least one city with a population greater than 10,000 people.
List of Metropolitan Statistical Areas
- Allentown Statistical Area: Lehigh County - Population (2020): - Primary City: Allentown
- Coatesville-Lancaster Statistical Area: Chester County, Lancaster County - Population (2020): - Primary Cities: Coatesville, Lancaster; Secondary City: Epharata
- Lebanon-Millerburg Statistical Area: Dauphin County, Lebanon County - Population (2020): - Primary City: Lebanon; Secondary City: Millersburg
- Reading Statistical Area: Berks County - Population (2020): - Primary Cities: Reading, Wyomissing; Secondary City: Shillington
Micropolitan Statistical Areas
There is one Micropolitan Statistical Areas (μSA) in the nation. Primary cities are the main centers for business and trade with populations of greater than 5,000 people. Secondary cities are minor hubs that have an impact on the local economy but are much smaller in economic influence and a population of greater than 2,000 people. Micropolitan Statistical Areas must have at least one city with a population greater than 5,000 people.
- Pottsville Statistical Area: Schuylkill County - Population (2020): - Primary City: Pottsville
Counties and Territories not in a Statistical Area
- Montgomery Territory - Population (2020):
- Northampton County - Population (2020):
Allentown, Lancaster, and Reading contain most of the tallest buildings in the nation. Of the tallest ten buidlings in the nation, Pottsville has one, Allentown and Lancaster each have two, and Reading has seven (two pairs of buildings each are the same height).
List of the Ten Tallest Buildings in Reading
|Rank||Name||Usage||Height||Floors||City (County)||Year Constructed||Notes|
|1||Pennsylvania Power & Lights Building||Mixed-Use/Offices||321.58 ft (98.02 m)||24||Allentown (Lehigh)||1928|
|2||Berks County Courthouse||Government||275.00 ft (83.82 m)||22||Reading (Berks)||1932|
|3||Episcopal House||Residential/Abandoned||207.00 ft (63.09 m)||19||Allentown (Lehigh)||1968|
|4||Reading State Building (Former Apartment)||Offices||205.62 ft (62.67 m)||17||Reading (Berks)||1965||Converted into offices for State Government|
|5||Trinity Lutheran Church||Church||195.00 ft (59.44 m)||1||Lancaster (Lancaster)||1794|
|=6||Berks County Courthouse||Mixed Use (Courthouse/Office)||193.53 ft (588.99 m)||16||Reading (Berks)||2007|
|=6||Wyhndam Reading||Mixed Use (Hotel/Office)||193.53 ft (58.99 m)||16||Reading (Berks)||1929|
|7||Greist Building||Mixed Use (Government/Office)||192.00 ft (58.52 m)||10||Lancaster (Lancaster)||1925|
|=8||Washington Towers||Apartments||181.43 ft (55.30 m)||15||Reading (Berks)||1967|
|=8||Skyline View Apartments||Apartments||181.43 ft (55.30 m)||15||Reading (Berks)||1972|
|9||Schuylkill County Courthouse||Courthouse||171.00 ft (52.12 m)||4||Pottsville (Schuylkill)||1891|
|10||Madison Building||Offices||169.34 ft (51.61 m)||14||Reading (Berks)||1926|
Future of Bethlehem, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia
On Doomsday, Bethlehem and Harrisburg were both targeted by single air bursts over the cities the Bethlehem Steel Works and the downtown of each respective city, causing catastrophic damage. However, the type of burst limited radiation levels to the targeted areas and immediate surroundings. Philadelphia saw multiple strikes both airburst and ground strikes over the city proper and Willow Grove, destroying the city and irradiating the entire county and surrounding region.
Since Doomsday, all three regions have been off-limits to the general public and are marked as exclusion zones, monitored by the armed forces and State Police to prevent explorers or scrappers from entering the areas.
The Constitution of the Provisional Government of Pennsylvania in Reading is the same constitution as the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Considering itself a legal successor to the state government, the provisional authorities have not altered the pre-Doomsday constitution in hopes of restoring the entire commonwealth.
With nearly 40 years passing since Doomsday, there has been debate in the General Assembly over future alterations to formally declare independence and restructure the constitution to reflect an independent nation. However with the political dispute between Reading and State College ongoing, the government has regularly voted down this measure.
As a provisional state government, the Readinger government imitates the former Pennsylvanian government, which was divided into three branches: the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Its constitution is the same one that Pennsylvania adopted back in 1968.
The current governor is Gary Day. The other elected officials composing the executive branch are Lieutenant Governor Justin Lawrence, Attorney General William H. Ryan, Jr., Auditor General Jack Wagner, and State Treasurer Rob McCord.
Reading has a bicameral legislature imitating the one set up by Commonwealth's constitution in 1790. According to the Pennsylvania Constitution the General Assembly has 50 senators and 203 representatives. However, in practice, the General Assembly has been composed of 28 senators and 108 representatives to prevent an overly cumbersome legislature from forming. As more territory becomes counties or unification occurs in the future, Reading will expand the number of senators and representatives to keep equitable representation in the General Assembly.
Senators and representatives are elected from different districts. The provisional government discussed reverting to the previous method of electing representatives by county, as was done before 1963. However this has not passed the General Assembly.
Reading is divided into 20 judicial districts, which have magisterial district judges who preside mainly over minor criminal offenses and small civil claims. The Courts of Common Pleas, where most civil and criminal cases originate, also serve as appellate courts to the district judges and local agency decisions. The Superior Court hears all appeals from the Courts of Common Pleas not expressly designated to the Commonwealth Court or the Supreme Court of Reading. The Commonwealth Court is limited to appeals from final orders of certain state agencies and certain designated cases from the Courts of Common Pleas. The Supreme Court of Reading is the final appellate court. All judges in Reading are elected with the chief justice is determined by seniority.
The flag, described as a red-white-blue tricolor, with a large yellow diamond overlain on it. In the diamond a black-line illustration of a plow. In the upper hoist the date 1752, the day Berks County was incorporated from parts of Lancaster, Chester, and Philadelphia Counties. In the lower fly the name Berks, which stands for Berks County, central county of Reading, named after Berkshire, England, home of William Penn's family. It was designed in 1914 by Charles K. Snell of Reading and officially adopted in 2010 by the Readinger state government, replacing the flag of the former state of Pennsylvania, which had been used in a provisional capacity since 1983.
Reading is currently divided into seven counties, one autonomous community, and two territories. Counties and territories are further divided into boroughs, townships, and unincorporated or census-designated places.
Counties compose the majority of the territory controlled by Reading. They are governed by a county commission which varies in sized based on the population of the county.
List of Counties
|County||Capital||Largest City||Population (2020 Census)||Admittance or Ratification||Jurisdiction||Abbreviation||Flag|
|Berks||Reading||Reading||168,386||1983||All of Berks County||BK|
|Chester||Coatesville||Coatesville||83,718||2001||All of Chester County||CH|
|Dauphin||Millersburg||Millersburg||67,014||2009||All of Dauphin County outside Harrisburg Exclusion Zone and FITG||DN|
|Lancaster||Lancaster||Lancaster||184,602||1983||All of Lancaster County||LC|
|Lebanon||Lebanon||Lebanon||70,956||1983||All of Lebanon County excluding FITG||LE|
|Lehigh||Allentown||Allentown||89,773||2018||All of Lehigh County||LH|
|Schuylkill||Pottsville||Pottsville||37,845||1986||Northwestern and Southern Schuylkill County||SL|
Reading has one autonomous territory, Fort Indiantown Gap. The military installation was controlled by surviving military and government officials.
|Autonomous Territory||Capital||Largest City||Population (2020 Census)||Admittance or Ratification||Jurisdiction||Abbreviation||Flag|
|Fort Indiantown Gap||Fort Indiantown Gap||Fort Indiantown Gap||438||1985||All of Fort Indiantown Gap||FG|
|Territory||Capital||Largest City||Population (2020 Census)||Organization Date||Planned Admittance||Jurisdiction||Abbreviation|
|Montgomery Territory||Pottstown||Pottstown||31,496||21 October 2005||2025||Western Montgomery County (claims entire county)||MO|
|Northampton Territory||Northampton||Northampton||14,587||4 May 2019||2034||Northwestern Northampton County (claims entire county)||NP|
|Unorganized Territory||Largest City||Population (Estimate)||Planned Organization||Jurisdiction||Abbreviation|
|Bucks Unorganized Territory||Quakertown||~12,000||2028||All of Bucks County||BU|
|Monroe Territory||East Strousburg||~9,000||2034||Southern Monroe County, southeastern Carbon County||MR|
|Region||Population (estimate)||Admittance or Ratification||Jurisdiction||Abbreviation||Notes|
|Delaware Region||~4,000||2040 (as Unorganized Territory)||All of Delaware County||DE||Restricted due to radiation from Philadelphia, cleanup due to begin in 2025|
|Philadelphia Region||<100||Unknown||All of Philadelphia County||PA||Restricted due to radiation from Philadelphia, cleanup date uncertain|
Like most post-Doomsday survivor states, initially the economic output was doused around materials that were necessary to survive including agriculture, blacksmithing, and medicine. However as the region stabilized, especially since the Allentown Mob was disbanded and the members were either driven out or arrested, tertiary economic output has renewed.
While Reading is more industrialized than its neighbors, agriculture still plays a crucial role in the economy. Lancaster and Berks counties are the main agricultural centers of Reading, however Lebanon and Schuylkill counties both have significant agricultural output.
Sovereign Bank is the largest financial institution in Reading, with headquarters in Reading proper and major branches around the nation. It has also begun planning expansion into Susquehanna in the near future.
Reading operates steel mills in Coatesville with coal and iron originating from Lebanon and Schuylkill counties. Major manufacturing occurs in Berks, Lebanon, and Lehigh counties. Raw materials are imported from Delmarva, State College, and Susquehanna.
Major manufactured goods include cast parts, fabrications, automotive parts, radios and minor electronics, industrial gases and solvents, and optical lenses.
Minerals and Natural Resources
Reading has minor coal deposits in eastern Dauphin County. Iron ore is mined in Berks and Lehigh counties and processed into iron or steel at the Coatesville Steel Works. Timber is harvested throughout the nation as are clay and shale. Carpenter, in Reading manufactures a limited quantity of stainless steel sheets and parts.
Redner's Markets is headquartered in Reading, which has grocery stores across Reading. Sovereign Bank is the main bank serving Reading with headquarters in Wyomissing and major offices in the capital. Boscov's is a major department store headquartered in Reading with stores across the nation and discussions are being held to expand into Susquehanna.
Reading has mandatory education for first through tenth grade. The education system, while collapsing after Doomsday, was restored in the late 1980's. Local colleges and universities that survived played a crucial role in the long term development of the nation and helped support the medical and industrial economies in the country.
Primary and Secondary Education
Primary and secondary education are handled at the local leve by school districts with a statewide Department of Education. The department is responsible for managing the education policies of Reading and improving the education experience of the citizens. It also provides input to the General Assembly on school district financing for each fiscal year.
Several private schools function throughout the state including parochial schools and a handful of boarding schools. The boarding schools became popular among the wealthier population after Doomsday since they were able to provide additional campus security from raiders and gangs who occasionally targeted schools to kidnap students for ransom.
Colleges and Universities
Reading's state school is Penn State, which operates from the pre-Doomsday Berks campus. Penn State absorbed the resources of the pre-Doomsday Kutztown and Millersville universities into the system. Millersville serves as a satellite campus, named Penn State Millersville, while Kutztown was closed. In 2020, Penn State opened a new branch in Allentown on the former campus of Muhlenberg College.
Reading Area Community College is a lower cost option for students and serves the eastern half of the nation including Berks, Chester, Lehigh, and Schuylkill counties with the main campus in Reading and satellite campuses located in Allentown and Coatesville. Harrisburg Area Community College, while named after the pre-Doomsday destroyed city, serves Dauphin, Lancaster, and Lebanon counties, with the main campus in Millerburg and satellite campuses in Lebanon and Lancaster.
Alvernia University is a private Franciscan Roman Catholic liberal arts university in Reading. It offers degrees in the medical field as well as business and teaching, though it is more focused on medicine and research as these have proven to be more useful in the post-Doomsday world.
Franklin & Marshall in Lancaster is a small private liberal arts college, though it has shifted to also provided courses in technology outside of the liberal arts. To support this, the university merged with Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology.
Lancaster Bible College is a private non-denominational Bible college in Lancaster, which resulted from the consolidation of the college and Lancaster Theological Seminary. It also operates a satellite campus in Reading.
Communication and Media
Film has begun to edge in on the market recently as the power grid has been restored. However, most movies being played in local cinemas originate from before Doomsday, with most new films originate from Canada or the Celtic Alliance. Movie theaters operate in all major cities and several smaller towns. Drive-in theaters are common and are popular in summer months.
HAM radio is a popular communication format both for national and international communication.
Reading has several newspapers with most major communities having independent papers. The national newspaper is the Reading Eagle, which has been printed since 1868 with only a brief interruption from 1983 until 1985.
Other newspapers include the Intelligencer Journal (in Lancaster, reformed in 1993), Lancaster New Era (reformed in 2007), Lebanon Daily News (reformed in 2001), Republican-Herald (in Pottsville, reformed in 1995), and The Morning Caller (in Allentown, reformed in 2018). The newspaper in Lancaster publish in the morning and evening, with the Intelligencer Journal publishing in the morning and Lancaster New Era in the evening. The Republican-Herald publishes on a daily format, while the remaining newspapers publish weekly or twice a week.
Stage plays are decidedly more popular, and have much more variety, as there had been an annual playwriting contest in the state since the early 1990s.
Radios are a common form of entertainment with many households having a battery powered or hand cranked radio. Talk shows, pre and post-Doomsday music, opinion, and entertainment are broadcasted nationally, essentially replacing television as the main form of entertainment.
The state government operates one radio station with around a dozen private stations functioning in Allentown, Reading, and Lancaster. All the stations are capable of transmitting across the country and three are powerful enough for international transmission.
Domestically, telegraph is a common form of long distance communication with both government and private lines. Public or state telegraphs are frequently powered by the power grid, while private telegraph units are more often powered by batteries.
Telephone lines have only recently been restored with most of the lines constructed utilized by the government or private businesses. The most common form of personal communication continues to be HAM radio or telegraphs.
Television service has not been restored to Reading, however there have been discussions since 2015 to restore service. The state government has been looking to stabilize electrical service nationally before restoring television.
Athletics have begun rising in popularity in the early years of the new millenium. Teams from local colleges have played each other regularly since 2000, and they began playing against Penn State University in State College and Clarion University in North Pennsylvania in 2002. Albright College first played Gettysburg College in 2003. Minor and Little League baseball teams have sprung up in various boroughs and townships throughout the state.
In 2017, with the rising popularity of the Susquehanna-based Pennsylvania Football League in Reading, four teams from Readinger cities (including a refounded Maroons team that nevertheless claims the history and lone NFL championship of the original Maroons), joined the PFL, several which relocated from Susquehanna. All teams are semiprofessional and sponsored by local corporations to handle the brunt of the finances. The Pennsylvania Football League recognizes the Maroons claims as the rightful champions of the 1925 NFL season.
Collegiate level competition between Readinger and Susquehannian based colleges and universities is planned to begin in late 2021. This was planned as roadways between the two nations were repaired and restored. However infrequent scrimmages have occurred on a fairly regular basis since the early 2010’s.
The Reading National Guard is composed of both former Pennsylvania National Guard troops and volunteers, although the latter is increasingly outnumbering the former. It is divided into two sections, the Army National Guard and Air National Guard. The Army National Guard is made up of units from the 28th Infantry Division (Mechanised) that managed to escape the nuclear devastation of Harrisburg and Philadelphia and the 213th Area Support Group, which was based in Allentown before they were kicked out by the Allentown Mob. With the city back in responsible hands, the 213th was able to move back in.
The Air National Guard is made up of units from the 193rd Special Operations Wing based at Muir Airfield in Fort Indiantown Gap.
The police departments of Reading's four biggest cities (Reading, Pottsville, Lebanon, and Allentown) have been reorganized into a paramilitary force, capable of assisting the National Guard should the need arise while maintaining their original duties of serving and protecting the people.
Although they have not actually taken over outright, the Reading National Guard constantly uses the training facilities in Fort Indiantown Gap with permission from the local leaders. Eventually, though, the Fort Indiantown Gap officials asked for permission to become part of Reading, and it was absorbed as a self-governing territory on 30 December 2012.
Reading had become an isolated community dealing mostly with the maintaining a measure of control over Berks, Schuylkill and Lebanon counties. Nearby Allentown, until very recently, was controlled by gangs that survived by brute force, many holding roots to inner-city gangs of Philadelphia and New York City which prevailed in pre-doomsday times. In September 2011, Governor John Jones III launched an attack against the Allentown gangs, and succeeded in kicking them out of the city on October 4th.
Contact with explorers from other, larger survivor states have brought some trade via armed transport. In recent years, in fact, there has been a growing relationship with the neighboring nation of State College. Discussions, via re-established radio contact and infrequent road travel after 2016 through Susquehanna, has determined that the government at State College has legal claim to the successor government of Pennsylvania.
When that information was confirmed, Governor Jones immediately set in motion plans to reintegrate with their larger neighbor, although it is assumed that it would take years of coordinated effort to achieve unity. If that option was not possible, then he would set in motion Plan B: a declaration of independence. Several in-person talks were held between Reading and State College between 2014 and 2018 to negotiate possible reunification. One possible stumbling block is Susquehanna geographically separating Reading and State College, as the Commonwealth has officially declared independence and has not shown an interest in formal reunification.
Thanks to State College's help, Reading has friendly relations with the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Keene, Vermont, and the Virginian Republic. Through North Pennsylvania, Reading has contact and/or informal relations with London, Ontario, Norfolk-Haldimand, Ithaca, Binghamton, and the Toledo Confederation. Reading enjoys cordial, close relations with the Commonwealth of Susquehanna, collaborating in defense against raiders, law enforcement, and trade. In 2020, a formalized agreement, the Treaty of Pottsville recognized each nation’s respective territorial holding and eliminated competing claims in several of the bordering counties including Schuylkill, Carbon, and Monroe.
Reading joined the United Communities in 2013.