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Upper Bern Township


Township municipal offices are located at 25 North 5th Street, Shartlesville PA 19544; phone: 610-488-1191.

First settled around 1730, incorporated in 1789 from Bern Township, Upper Bern did not operate autonomously until 1820.

Beginnings [1]

Upper Bern lies in the northern part of Berks County. It was formed as a new township from Bern, in 1789. Because of its proximity to the Blue Mountains, which at this point rise to an elevation of 1,500 feet, and its distance from Reading, Upper Bern was exposed to attacks from Indians.

On September 11, 1763, Commissary Seely wrote to Governor John Penn: "This moment, at Reading, as I was sending off the express, certain intelligence came that the house of Frantz Huble, in Bern (now Upper Bern), about 18 miles from here, was attacked Friday evening last by Indians; he is wounded, his wife and three children carried off, and three other of his children scalped alive, two of whom have since died."

Early settlers were Germans and engaged mostly in farming. The ruins of an old forge can be seen along the Northkill at the base of the Blue Mountains. This shows that the iron industry was located here in early colonial days.

Grist mills and other mills have been operated in the area since the earliest settlement.

During summer months, when the huckleberries are ripe, berry parties scour the mountains for this fruit. A day's berrying on top of the mountains is quite a recreation for both young and old. The picturesque views along the mountains, the meandering streams, the clear spring water, and the pure air are the best of Nature's tonics. In the Fall of the year, just before the frost sets in, tea-picking starts. We do not need to go to China and Japan for tea. A day's ramble in the mountains near Sand Spring, the source of the Northkill, will give you a year's supply of the famous Blue Mountain Tea, which is delightful in taste and rich in medicinal properties.

  1. A. E. Wagner, Ph.D., F. W. Balthaser, M.E., and D.K. Hoch, The Story of Berks County Pennsylvania, Eagle Book ad Job Press, Reading, 1913
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