kids encyclopedia robot

Bernville, Pennsylvania facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Bernville, Pennsylvania

Eagle Hotel
Eagle Hotel
Location of Bernville in Berks County, Pennsylvania.
Location of Bernville in Berks County, Pennsylvania.
Bernville, Pennsylvania is located in Pennsylvania
Bernville, Pennsylvania
Bernville, Pennsylvania
Location in Pennsylvania
Bernville, Pennsylvania is located in the United States
Bernville, Pennsylvania
Bernville, Pennsylvania
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Berks
School District Tulpehocken
Borough 1851
 • Total 0.43 sq mi (1.12 km2)
 • Land 0.42 sq mi (1.10 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.02 km2)
328 ft (100 m)
 • Total 955
 • Estimate 
 • Density 2,223.53/sq mi (859.37/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP Code
Area code(s) 610 Exchange: 488
FIPS code 42-05848

Bernville (Pennsylvania German: Bannwill) is a borough in Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 955 at the 2010 census. Bernville is bordered by Penn Township to the north, east, and south and by Jefferson Township to the west.


Before European settlers arrived in the Tulpehocken Creek valley, the area was inhabited by the Lenape people. In 1723, thirty-three Palatine families from Schoharie, New York, moved to the confluences of the Tulpehocken and Northkill Creeks. By 1735, a saw and grist mill was located three and a half miles up the Tulpehocken river from Bernville.

In 1737, Stephanus Umbenhauer immigrated from Bern, Switzerland, and purchased 220 acres (0.89 km2) from Thomas Penn. In 1819, Stephanus' grandson, Johann Thomas Umbenhauer, set aside 46 acres (190,000 m2) to be divided into 62 lots. On 24 August 1819, Peter Bennethum bought the first six lots. In January 1820, the town was named Bernville after Stephanus' birthplace. The first house was built by Philip Filbert in 1820. In 1828, the Union Canal was completed, connecting the Susquehanna and Schuylkill rivers. Union Canal guard lock #36 and Lock #36 with a lift of 5.0 feet (1.5 m) is located at the southwest corner of Bernville, near where Northkill Creek empties into Tulpehocken Creek. An historic marker on Route 183 states: "The canal, at this point, followed the north bank of the Tulpehocken. A dam, two locks, and a mule bridge made it possible for boats to cross Northkill Creek. Nearby were grist mills, a lime kiln, and a tannery." Due to the proximity of the Bernville Locks and the town's location on the canal, Bernville was a primary and prospering canal port.

In 1851, the village of Bernville, discontented with Penn Township's road maintenance and community services, incorporated as a borough. The borough included the original 62 lots, most of which measured 60 by 260 feet (18 by 79 m). In 1884, the Union Canal closed. With no canal or railroad access, Bernville withered. In 1950, Bernville Borough annexed property from Penn Township at both ends of Main Street.


Bernville is located at 40°26′1″N 76°6′40″W / 40.43361°N 76.11111°W / 40.43361; -76.11111 (40.433742, -76.111039). According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 0.42 square miles (1.1 km2), of which 0.008 square miles (0.02 km2), or 1.52%, is water. The boundary with Jefferson Township is formed primarily by Northkill Creek, but diverges from the creek north of its confluence with Little Northkill Creek.

Streets and buildings

Main St, Bernville PA 02
Main Street.

Main Street divides Bernville roughly east-west and spans the length of the original borough. Pennsylvania Route 183, which is known as "Bernville Road", runs roughly parallel to Main Street. Route 183 was built on the route laid out for the South Mountain Railroad, which was never built.

Two covered bridges, which no longer exist, crossed Northkill Creek, connecting Bernville with Jefferson Township. The Northkill Covered Bridge, 1848-~1950, crossed at 4th Street. The South Bernville Covered Bridge, 1849–1938, crossed near the South Bernville Hotel (a.k.a., Newport Hotel).

Main Street was created in 1819 and has numerous buildings dating back to the nineteenth century, including the Cyrus G. Blatt home (501-503 N. Main), the Eagle Hotel (301 N. Main) and the Joseph B. Conrad home (219 N. Main). Main Street is also the location of both churches: St. Thomas's UCC, and Evangelical Lutheran Friedens Church. Both churches are located across the street from each other.


Bernville has two parks. Umbenhauer Park, on Umbenhauer Drive, is home to a baseball field, tot-lot, and pavilion. Stanton Clay Park, on the corner of Third Street and Penn Valley Road, is home to a gazebo and a small field.

Northkill Creek feeds into Blue Marsh Lake, and the Blue Marsh slackwater is federal property. Hence a portion of Bernville is part of the Blue Marsh system. Blue Marsh Lake is a popular recreation site, offering hiking, boating, and fishing. The lake is also important for water supply, flood control, and wildlife habitat. A levee along Northkill Creek protects Bernville from Blue Marsh flooding above 300 feet (91 m) elevation.

Bernville also used to be home of Blue Marsh Ski Resort, before it ceased operations in 2005.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 457
1880 405 −11.4%
1890 365 −9.9%
1900 344 −5.8%
1910 308 −10.5%
1920 302 −1.9%
1930 322 6.6%
1940 339 5.3%
1950 363 7.1%
1960 884 143.5%
1970 848 −4.1%
1980 798 −5.9%
1990 789 −1.1%
2000 865 9.6%
2010 955 10.4%
Est. 2019 945 −1.0%

As of the census of 2000, there were 865 people, 351 households, and 249 families residing in the borough. The population density was 2,121.8 people per square mile (814.6/km²). There were 372 housing units at an average density of 912.5 per square mile (350.3/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 98.03% White, 0.58% African American, 0.81% from other races, and 0.58% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.39% of the population.

There were 351 households, out of which 31.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.7% were married couples living together, 10.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.8% were non-families. 22.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 2.85.

In the borough the population was spread out, with 25.2% under the age of 18, 5.8% from 18 to 24, 32.8% from 25 to 44, 20.1% from 45 to 64, and 16.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 90.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.2 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $41,250, and the median income for a family was $47,031. Males had a median income of $32,679 versus $25,109 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $19,038. About 7.5% of families and 8.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.9% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.


The Tulpehocken Area School District serves Bernville, with Penn-Bernville Elementary School located just outside the borough.

kids search engine
Bernville, Pennsylvania Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.