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History of Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center

When hosiery baron Jacob Nolde acquired this area in the early 1900s, a single white pine grew amid meadow vegetation. Inspired by this tree, the German-born Nolde hired an Austrian forester to create a coniferous forest. As the plantations grew, they formed a “luxury forest,” a source of family pleasure and pride.

During 1926, Hans Nolde, a son of Jacob, initiated work on the Tudor-style mansion. When this year-round home was finished, it overlooked the sawmill pond and the lights of Reading.

The Nolde Forest continues to provide outdoor opportunities for visitors. The commonwealth purchased the property during the late 1960s with Project 70 funds. The Project 500 bond issues provided the funds necessary for the center’s development.

During 1970, federal program grants and the Berks County Intermediate Unit helped establish Nolde Forest as the first environmental education center operated by DCNR’s Bureau of State Parks. Since the center’s conception, the bureau has maintained an enduring commitment to environmental education and recreation.

A Single White Pine, a book on the history of Nolde Forest, may be purchased at the center.