The Matt Wolf Team at Berks Real Estate recommends a visit to the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in downtown Reading, PA, one of the largest, most comprehensive interactive arts center of its kind in the country, where you and your family can enjoy the unique works of art, crafts, dance and musical performances they offer throughout the year.
Once home to the former Willson safety goggles factory – the first factory in the world to manufacture optical glass for lenses and reading glasses – the 5-story building at 201 Washington Street was renovated and repurposed in 2005 as GoggleWorks Center for the Arts, a community-based arts center built around artists’ studios.
Founded in 1871, the Willson factory became known for launching the safety protection industry by addressing the occupational hazards faced by factory workers with the manufacture of shatterproof protective lenses, as well as ear protectors, breathing devices, and gas masks for coal miners, military personnel and aviators.
During World War II, Willson Goggles was supplying goggles and high-altitude oxygen masks to American military pilots and all of the sunglasses worn by U.S. soldiers. The company also produced fashion sunglasses (modeled by 1938 Miss America pageant contestants) and swimming goggles (worn by Florence Chadwick, the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions in 1950).
The business was sold in 1989 and the factory would eventually close in 2002. The factory building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The GoggleWorks complex is comprised of 145,000 square feet of art space in six buildings, with teaching studios in ceramics, glass blowing, metalsmithing, photography, and woodworking. You’ll also find 35 artists working in their professional studios and several galleries that exhibit their work. Admission and parking are always free (except for special events).
In addition to the arts facilities, exhibitions and classes/workshops at GoggleWorks, visitors also enjoy the annual Arts Festival Reading, which takes place in early October, daily art film screenings in the 130-seat Boscov Film Theatre, and quarterly Family Arts Nights.
About Berks Real Estate
The Matt Wolf Team at Berks Real Estate specializes in residential real estate in Berks County and surrounding counties in Southeastern Pennsylvania. A member of the RE/MAX International Hall of Fame and Chairman’s Club, Matt Wolf and his team have vast knowledge about the region that can help you accomplish your goals.
When you choose us to help you buy or sell a home, you’ll experience a whole new level of service.
- Experienced real estate professionals;
- Local knowledge of the area, including schools, neighborhoods, the local economy and more;
- Committed allies who will negotiate on your behalf;
- Guidance through every aspect of your transaction;
- Incomparable online home search capability;
- Access to leading internet technology and marketing techniques;
- Highly regarded local reputation;
- The backing of a trusted broker, RE/MAX.
The Matt Wolf Team offers the expertise to expertly manage your real estate needs in and around Reading, PA. In addition to GoggleWorks, we’ll also show you the many other wonderful places to experience in the area! Give us a call at 610-685-3189 to find out how we can help.
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