Program: “Darius Berky, World Explorer”

The Mennonite Heritage Center invites you to the program “An Amazing Life: Darius Berky, World Explorer from the Goschenhoppen Region”, presented by Reverend Robert W. Gerhart, former pastor of the Hereford Mennonite Church in Bally, and noted local historian.  Gerhart’s talk will focus on Berky’s extraordinary accomplishments in the early twentieth century.

Born in Clayton, Berks County shortly after the Civil War, Darius Berky explored the wild places of several continents as a researcher in terrestrial magnetism for the Carnegie Institute, based in Washington D.C.  His name became a household word when, in 1913, he was the first American to reach Timbuktu, after a ten-month journey by camel across the Sahara Desert.

Reverend Gerhart’s illustrated program will share excerpts of that epic journey from Berky’s own journal as well as features from other assignments he undertook to Baffin Island in Hudson’s Bay and to the Amazon Basin.  Gerhart is well versed in the history of the Berky family. As a youngster growing up in the Butter Valley he knew Darius’ brother Ralph, still living in Clayton.  Later, as pastor of the Hereford Mennonite congregation where the Berky’s had worshiped, Gerhart came to know the family through church records and discovered the extent of Darius’ journeys.  Darius was one of four brothers born toward the end of the nineteenth century, all of whom made unique contributions to our community and the nation.  Darius’ son Andrew went on to become Headmaster of the Perkiomen School, his father’s alma mater, as well as the Director of the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center.

The program is open to the public, no registration needed.