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SAVE THE DATE! BHC’s 2024 Fall Road Ramble will take place on October 19th! 

940 Centre Ave, Reading, PA 19601 | (610) 375-4375 
Hours: Wednesday – Saturday 9am – 3pm

940 Centre Ave, Reading, PA 19601
(610) 375-4375 
Hours: Wednesday – Saturday 9am – 3pm

Berks History at Home

Learn » Berks History at Home


Berks History Center offers a variety of online resources to help you discover more about the history of Berks County. 

Watch Berks History

BHC Photo Collections

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One of contemporary Berks County’s most popular tourist attractions is the VF Outlet. Most visitors to the outlets do not realize the rich history of the buildings that make up the outlet complex. Manufacturing began on the site in 1896 when Ferdinand Thun and Henry Janssen moved their Textile Machine Works to Wyomissing. The Textile Machine Works manufactured knitting and braiding machines. On July 6, 1906 the Textile Machine Works opened an experimental knitting mill as a test bed for the machinery they manufactured. In short order their experiment grew to become the largest full-fashioned knitting mill in the world, The Berkshire Knitting Mill. These pictures were taken in the early 1930’s.

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Carsonia Park operated in Lower Alsace Township from 1896 to 1950. The park was constructed by the United Traction Company as a destination for its trolley service. Over the course of its existence, Carsonia Park featured many rides and attractions. The roller coasters Jack Rabbit and Thunderbolt, The Airplane Ride, Dodgem Cars, Strato Ship, Castle of Mirth, The Pretzel, Shoot the Shoot, Cuddle Up, and a ferris wheel are just a few examples of what the park offered.

For an extensive pictorial and narrative history of Carsonia Park see Volume 1 of The Passing Scene by Meiser and Meiser. Available for viewing at the Historical Society of Berks County’s library.

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All Images from the collection of the Berks History Center.

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Berks County is fortunate to have five covered bridges that are still standing. Four of them The Dreibelbis Bridge, The Kutz’s Mill Bridge, The Pleasantville Bridge and Griesemer’s Bridge are still open to traffic. Wertz’s Bridge (the Red Bridge) is closed to vehicle traffic. In the past there where many more covered bridges in Berks County. The pictures below represent just a small sample.

In 1930 a firemen’s convention was held in Reading. Earl R. Anderson, a local publisher and member of the convention steering committee, photographed many of the fire companies in Berks County. Some of his pictures are presented here.

The Images found on this page are the property of a private collector.  Prints or copies are not available.

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Station in Mineral Springs Park, within easy access by street cars from all parts of the city and railroad stations. A mountain climb behind a powerful engine (itself a novelty), two and a half miles to the summit of Mt. Penn, 1200 feet above the sea-the Black Spot. A lofty solid Stone Tower on the mountain top, from which appears a magnificent view of the city of Reading, the broad and fertile Schuylkill and Lebanon Valleys, the distant ranges and peaks of the Blue Mountains, to the hor izion-30 miles in every direction. Large pavilions for shelter and rest and a well-conducted restaurant. From the summit a rapid flight BY GRAVITY, 5 miles, over a road of light grades, through groves, vineyards, and mountain farms to the starting-point. Along the road, attractive summer resorts and picnic grounds. 

Accommodation for excursions of any size. For further information and rates, apply to C.M. DECHANT, Supt., Reading, Pa. 1890

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