Birdsboro, Pennsylvania

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Birdsboro is a borough along the Schuylkill River in Berks County, Pennsylvania, eight miles (13 km) southeast of Reading. In the past, Birdsboro was noted for its large foundries and machine shops, none of which remain in operation today.

Contents

History

Birdsboro was named for ironmaker William Bird, who established a forge on Hay Creek about 1740. His son Marcus founded Hopewell Furnace in 1771, which was the largest domestic producer of iron by the time of the American Revolution. The Schuylkill Canal, running parallel to the river, was completed in 1827. The Philadelphia and Reading Railroad, constructed to haul anthracite coal, was completed in 1843. Edward and George Brooke, descendants of the Birds, established the Birdsboro Iron Foundry Company (1867), which became Birdsboro Steel Company (1905). The principal employer in the borough, the steel plant closed in 1988, following a lengthy strike.[1]

The borough was created in 1872, from sections of Union and Robeson Townships. Its population increased slowly from 2,261 in 1890, to 2,264 in 1900, to 2,930 in 1910. The population was 5,064 at the 2000 census.[2]

In 1987, torrential rains over a period of several days caused Hay Creek to flood Pennsylvania Route 82, which ran through the borough, and washed out several bridges. After many years of discussion between local and state officials, the decision was finally made in 2004 that the bridges should not be rebuilt. Instead, the former road connecting Birdsboro to Robeson Township would be used formally as a nature trail, as it had been informally used since the time of the flood.[citation needed] In December 2008, the PA 82 designation was removed from this stretch of road.[3]

Geography

Birdsboro is located at 40°15′47″N 75°48′28″W / 40.26306°N 75.80778°W / 40.26306; -75.80778 (40.263142, -75.807832).[4]

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