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Civil War

Berks County Civil War Trail

Pennsylvania has proven its status as the "Keystone State" through all major developments in American history, the Civil War being no exception. Our high school history books have well chronicled the battle at Gettysburg and the occupation of York, but the true heart of the Union was the pure innovative industrial might and commitment of citizens to the preservation of the United States. Greater Reading, being home to the Ringgold Light Artillery, Reading Railroad, two iron furnaces, and stops along the Underground Railroad, serves as an outstanding example of the innovation and dedication that were the driving forces behind the turning point of American history. Discover the deeper history of the Civil War as it relates to scenic Berks County on Greater Reading’s Civil War Trail. 

Greater Reading Civil War Trail Map

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Central Pennsylvania African American Museum
119 N. Tenth Street Reading, PA 19601
GPS: N40° 20.2361', W075° 55.0657'
Now that you’ve experienced the Civil War history of Greater Reading’s scenic semi-rural area, it’s time to travel into the city for a closer look at Reading’s historical significance. First stop is the Central Pennsylvania African American Museum located at the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the oldest black-owned church in Berks County. The museum not only holds records and artifacts relating to American black slavery, but is also a first hand witness to the Civil War as the church was a stop on the Underground Railroad.

Historical Society of Berks County
940 Centre Avenue Reading, PA 19601
GPS: N40° 21.0232', W075° 55.9522'
Sink your teeth into local history at our Historical Society. Explore the library, archives and exhibits for the stories of the four firsts in Berks: Ringgold Light Artillery, Ringgold Band, Ladies First Aid Society, and the first Civil War flag.
Ladies Volunteer Aid Society

Reading Railroad Heritage Museum
500 South Third Street Hamburg, PA
GPS: N40° 32.8543', W075° 58.8684'
Continue your travels north of Reading to Hamburg and visit the Reading Railroad Heritage Museum. Allow the enthusiastic staff to guide you through the history of the Reading Railroad as you imagine the nervous excitement of Union troops as they boarded the Philadelphia bound trains or the intense pressure on the workers in the yard to prepare the armor rail cars in time to protect our nation’s capital. Take the yard tour to get a closer look at the iron giants themselves. This outdoor exhibit features over 70 locomotives that once accelerated down the Reading lines between 1833 and 1976. You might want to check out the quaint town of Hamburg while you are here.

And More
Speckled Hen Cottage Pub & Alehouse
Berks County Genealogical Society
Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles

Civil War Cemeteries

  • Union Cemetery
  • Mohn’s Hill
  • Schwarzwald/Jacksonwald Cemetery
  • Spies Church
  • St. John Gernant’s Church Cemetery
  • Rock Baptist
  • Oley Church – Christ Church in Spangsville
  • Alm’s House
  • Aulenbach’s Cemetery
  • Alsace Cemetery
  • Trinity Cemetery
  • Charles Evan’s Cemetery
  • St. John’s Gibralter
  • Bern Church
  • Huff Church
  • Plow Church
  • Fairview Cemetery
  • Hope Cemetery
  • Cemetery at the AME Mount Frisby Church, or the Six Penny Colored Church
  • Isaac Cole’s property
  • Old Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church – current site of the CPAAM
  • Bethesda Church in Hopewell Village
September 2014
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