Berks County

US States / O-U / Pennsylvania / Berks County
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Berks County is named for the County of Berkshire in England.

 

Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Schuylkill County

E – Lehigh County

S – Montgomery County and Chester County

W – Lancaster County and Lebanon County

 

Created:  October 14, 1751                    Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

County Seat:

Reading  1751 – present

 

County Courthouse - Reading  

 

Location:  633 Court Street / North 6th Street

Built:  1930 – 1931

Style:  Art Deco

Architect:  Miles Dechant and F H Dechant of William H Dechant & Sons

Contractor:  McCloskey & Company

 

Description:  The building faces south and is a twenty-two story concrete and stone clad structure. The building is located in the center of Reading. The outside walls are granite and Indiana limestone. The south front has a high tiered tower with vertical windows and entrance on the first story. The first and second stories have stone facing. There are bas-reliefs above the entrances and around the top including large eagles on each side. The east and west wings are ten stories. The roof line is flat. The interior has Ary Deco ornamentation and the courtrooms have American historical themes. The main courtroom 5A is located on the fifth story and is designed in the Colonial style of the 1740’s and has the only balcony. The windows are deep-set, as those of old colonial buildings, and wood-paneled their whole depth. The chandeliers are about three feet in diameter. They are hung upon ornamental brass fasces, symbols of authority since the days of the Roman Empire. The room is trimmed in white-and-black colored marble, called French grand antique. The spectators’ benches are of walnut, as are the rest of the upholstered furnishings. Courtroom 5B is Colonial of a later period. Courtrooms 7A And 7B on the seventh story are in the Italian Renaissance style with light colored marble and wall features sculpted in walnut. The courtroom located on the ninth story is modern with blue and silver colors and curved ceiling. The building was restored in 1991 to 1995 by architect John M Kostecky Jr. and by contractor 2C/M Incorporated..

 

Note:  Stone, wood, and metal from foreign countries went into the massive, ornamental structure. Three million bricks were used. In February, 1931, a temporary courthouse was setup in the old Nogar building at the corner of 4th Street and Court Street.

 

History:  The county was created in 1751 and Reading was selected as the county seat. The first courts met in taverns. The first courthouse was at two story brick structure built in 1761 in the middle of Penn Square at 5th Street and Penn Street. The second courthouse was a two story Greek Revival structure designed by Thomas Ustick Walter and built in 1840 at a cost of $63,000. In 1869 a fireproof two-story addition was added in the rear. The third and present courthouse was constructed in 1930 to 1932 at a cost of $2,000,000.

 

County Administration Building – Reading  

 

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Location:  633 Court Street / North 7th Street

Built:  1989 – 1992

Style:  Modern

Architect:  John M Kostecky, Jr. & Associates

Contractor:  2C/M Incorporated

 

Description:  The building faces west and is a sixteen story concrete and glass structure. The building is located in the center of Reading on the east side of the courthouse. The west front has a slightly projecting center section with recessed entrance on the first story. Glass paneled walls are on either side of the center section. Two story wings extend on the north and south sides, with the south wing connected to the courthouse by a three story glass covered wing. The roof line is flat. The building is named as the Berks County Services Center. 

 

 

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County Courthouse – Reading

 

 

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County Administration Building – Reading

 

 

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Photos taken 2015