Located an hour and ten minutes northwest of Philadelphia, Berks County is a part of Pennsylvania that’s steeped in history. Though Reading is the largest city in the county, Berks is home to a number of smaller communities and townships. Here’s an overview of four historic sites in Berks County that are worth exploring.
1. The Daniel Boone Homestead in Birdsboro
Birdsboro, Pennsylvania, is home to the Daniel Boone Homestead, a site that recounts the youthful exploits of the famous pioneer. Staff and volunteers give visitors a taste of what daily life was like when Boone was growing up in the Oley Valley during the 18th century. Early settlers in the valley included the Boones and several other families. At the homestead, you can explore the Boone House, a smokehouse, a cellar, a blacksmith shop, and more.
There’s no fee to enjoy the visitor center, but there’s a nominal fee for guided tours. The homestead’s hours vary with the season so it’s a good idea to check the site’s schedule before you go.
2. Allegheny Aqueduct Historical Park in Birdsboro
Originally built to accommodate boats, the Allegheny Aqueduct spans Allegheny Creek, which was once a part of the Schuylkill Canal system. After the canal system ended operation in 1931, the aqueduct no longer had a function. The brick structure measures 112.5 feet long and features five arches made of red sandstone and brownstone.
In 1983, a local group started a restoration project for the aqueduct and successfully had it added to the National Register of Historic Places. The aqueduct and the area around it are now a county park that’s ideal for walking, jogging, and picnics. There’s no fee to use the park.
Be sure to stroll past Beidler House inside the park. Built in 1783, the home belonged to the man who operated a nearby mill. The house is only open a few times a year, so you may want to plan a visit to coincide with an open house event.
3. Centre Park Historic District in Reading
In the northwestern part of Reading, you’ll find a charming neighborhood called the Centre Park Historic District. Take a walk through the district, and you’ll see 840 structures representing a variety of designs and architectural styles. Most of the homes and other buildings in this area were built between 1895 and 1915 as trolley service enabled the development of this area, which was considered a suburb at the time.
4. Conrad Weiser Homestead in Womelsdorf
The Conrad Weiser Homestead in Womelsdorf gives visitors a look at the life of a German immigrant who worked with Native Americans and helped establish Pennsylvania’s policies toward the native groups. At the homestead, you can visit several homes, a springhouse, and a log hut. If you want to have a picnic during your visit, there are two picnic areas on the west side of the homestead. Visitors can use the tables for free without reservations. Plan to go when the weather’s warm because the homestead closes during winter.
In Berks County, there are a variety of places you can visit to learn about the stories and people of the past.