The Greater Reading area is the urban heart of Berks County and has been a place of great vitality and significance for centuries. The City of Reading is at the center of the region and serves as the county seat and is emerging as a magnet for the region's growing arts and cultural communities. Founded as a market town in 1748, the City is situated at the confluence of the Tulpehocken Creek and the Schuylkill River. The Union Canal and the Schuylkill Navigation also converged here, making Reading a crucial transportation hub for eastern Pennsylvania. The Reading Railroad also had a major presence in the area, with shops, depots, and miles of rail yards throughout the city and its surrounding communities. Reading was also home to a sizable textile industry, including some of the nation's largest hosiery factories. The mills and factories employed tens of thousands of people, and made Greater Reading an industrial powerhouse throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.
Today Greater Reading is a region of enormous momentum and unparalleled resources and opportunities. The Berks County Heritage Center and the Historical Society of Berks County are incredible resources for those who want to know more about the county and its history. The Heritage Center also houses the Gruber Wagon Works and the Heister Canal Center in addition to trails and other recreational opportunities. The Neversink Mountain Preserve and Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center also have trails and educational opportunities.