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Berks County > County Departments > Parks and Recreation

Around the Heritage Center

Stone House

The Reeser Farm House was built by Abraham Reeser after he bought the land in 1774. The 55-acre farm was owned and operated by various families until being sold to the county in 1978. It now serves as the main office for the Heritage Center.

 herb garden
The Herb and Salad Garden shows a typical part  of farm life brought to America by the Europeans. Only herbs and vegetables grown in the early 1800’s are planted here

Melcher’s Grist Mill, moved to the Heritage Center from Bally, PA was built in 1888. A water-powered mill, it was designed to be used only by the inhabitants of the farm on which it was, which was unusual.

 
 grist mill

 

 red bridge  

Wertz’s Covered Bridge, also known as the Red Bridge, is the longest single-span bridge remaining in Pennsylvania. Built in 1867, it stretches 204 feet across the Tulpehocken Creek, connecting Bern and Spring Townships. Although no longer in use for regular traffic, it is capable of being used and is available for emergency vehicles.

 

 

A monument built to commemorate the Bicentennial has the signatures of all of the signers of the Declaration of Independence carved into cement, surrounded by 18 flagpoles flying Revolutionary War-time flags.

 flags

 

 distlefink  

The Distlefink is an example of Pennsylvania Dutch art. When the early German immigrants arrived at their new homes in Pennsylvania, they identified the small field finch found here with a similar European bird call the Distlefink, which translates to Thistlefinch.

            Folk art that grew out of that period used motifs common to the everyday lives of the “artists”. Flowers, fruit, animals, and birds were used to decorate all manner of furniture, tools, and records kept on paper within the German community.

 The Distlefink, a happy, bright bird was a popular choice, and came to represent happiness and good luck.

            As the folk art movement spread to other communities, the Distlefink was represented in different proportions and colorations; this design and color has been researched as authentic of the early versions. Our Distlefink wishes happiness and good luck to all his visitors!

 

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