Anyone who has ever played Monopoly knows about the Reading Railroad, which operated from 1833 to 1976. Reading, Pennsylvania was the home of this railroad and it is the seat of Berks County.
Founded in 1752, Berks County was formed from the existing counties of Chester, Lancaster, and Philadelphia. This popular and continually-growing county contains several universities, including Albright College, Penn State Berks, and Reading Area Community College.
Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site is located near Elverson. When it was founded in 1771, it was a large “iron plantation” that included the ironmaster’s home, a blacksmith shop, a store, houses, and the blast furnace. Located on nearly 850 acres, the site includes 14 restored buildings. French Creek State Park wraps around the site and includes Scotts Run Lake and Hopewell Lake, both popular fishing locations. The park consists of 7,526 acres with over 40 miles of trails. This park is a popular location for mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, swimming, boating, and camping.
Situated northwest of Philadelphia, Berks County is convenient to many area attractions, such as the Alleghney Aqueduct, built in 1821; the historic sites, restaurants, shops, and shows in Philadelphia; the William Penn Memorial Fire Tower; the Daniel Boone homestead, located in Exeter Township; and the Reading Public Museum and Art Gallery.
Reading is a large city – the fifth largest in Pennsylvania. Mount Penn overlooks the city and is home to the city’s iconic landmark, the Pagoda. The historic Pagoda was built in 1908 and is now part of Mount Penn Reserve. The Pagoda’s main draw is its panoramic views of Reading and the surrounding areas. Reading was founded in 1748 and is home to several other historic locations. Some of these locations are the Keystone Hook and Ladder Company, built in 1886; Liberty Fire Company No. 5, built in 1876; and the Skew Bridge, built in 1857.
Although Reading is the only city in Berks County, there are many smaller communities and boroughs, including Birdsboro, Centerport, Hamburg, Mount Penn, Albany, Amity, Bern, Shoemakersville, Shillington, Marion, Maxatawny, Jefferson, Hereford, Greenwich, Windsor, and Flying Hills.