Spring City, Pennsylvania
|Elevation||184 ft (56.1 m)|
|Area||0.8 sq mi (2 km2)|
|- land||0.8 sq mi (2 km2)|
|- water||0.1 sq mi (0 km2)|
|Density||4,153.8 / sq mi (1,603.8 / km2)|
|- summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (December 2010)|
The first people in this area were the Lenni-Lenape Indians, who inhabited the Schuylkill watershed long before European colonization. The first non-Native American, arriving in the late 17th century, was a French Canadian fur trapper named Pierre Bezallion. The Lenni-Lenape, who hunted and fished in the area, traded with Bezallion. As a result, William Penn called upon him when needed to act as an arbitrator in Indian affairs. Bezallion used a natural cave that was in Spring City to store his furs and to stay over when he was trapping in this area. However neither he nor the Indians made this area their permanent home. Pierre Bezallion died in 1740 and is buried in Compass (near Coatesville).
Early visitors often stopped by at the town pump to get water for their horses. The water came from a spring located on the Yost farm. The pump itself was situated on Main Street at the bottom of the road we now call Yost Avenue. It was erected in 1830 and travelers who frequented this area often referred to it as "Pumptown." This name was not a popular name with many of the local residents. At a town meeting to determine a name there was a small group who suggested "Pumptown" and others who liked Jamestown. Eventually the natural springs in the area proffered an obvious name and "Springville" was chartered on August 12, 1867. Yet even this choice wouldn’t stand, as it was discovered that Pennsylvania already had a Springville. So, in 1872 the name was changed to Spring City.
It was the opening of the Schuylkill Navigation Canal in 1824 that can be directly attributed to the early development of this small town. The two men who were most influential in the development of the small town were James Rogers and Frederick Yost. Frederick built a grist and merchant mill at the abutment of the local bridge crossing over to Royersford in 1826. He also operated a coal yard, lumber yard and lime yards. James Rogers built the town's first store on the canal in 1838. He built a meeting house known as the lyceum, and a stove foundry in 1840 He also operated a lumber yard and coal yard in the lower part of the town. In 1840, the first bridge to connect Spring City to Royersford across the Schuylkill was completed. It was a covered wooden bridge. Canal-born industries such as the American Paper Company and the Spring City Stove Company were operating as early as the 1850s, and people were coming to live in Springville. As the people came, with them came the houses, churches, schools, and of course local government. Other industries such as glass making and knitting mills would soon follow.
Main Street was the center of activity in Spring City. It was where the businesses, stores and banks were located. The National Bank of Spring City, the Gem Theatre, the Spring City Hotel, and Mowery-Latshaw Hardware were but a few of the many establishments that were downtown on Main Street. Spring City had a large industrial development at the lower end of town on South Main Street and the Valley Forge Flag Company on North Main at the foot of Yost Avenue. The Spring City Hotel is located downtown at the corner of Main and New streets. The cornerstone for this hotel was laid in 1892. When it was completed, it was the showplace of the town. The hotel had gas and electric lights, flush toilets, and hot and cold running water in the bathrooms. This hotel is still in operation today and features a dining room and cocktail lounge.
The Spring City National bank first opened for business in 1872. The building is still in existence and is now a private residence. The Valley Forge Flag Factory was at the corner of Yost Avenue and Main Street in Spring City. The company began operation around 1932 in Spring City when the property was acquired from the Reiff shirt factory. Although flag manufacturing has ceased in Spring City, today the buildings have been given a new lease on life as the Flag House apartments for senior citizens. In 1864 a post office was opened in Spring City. John Sheeler was the postmaster, and the office was located on the west end of the canal bridge in the vicinity of the present-day Turkey Hill store.
In 1884, the Pennsylvania Railroad was opened from Reading to Philadelphia, with a station stop in Spring City. This gave the Reading Company in Royersford some competition. In 1899, the Spring City Trolley would begin operations. The trolley traveled from Spring City to Phoenixville and made many stops on its way, one being the Bonnie Brae Amusement Park. Trolley service continued until the great trolley accident on July 8, 1924. The end of the trolley spelled the end of Bonnie Brae and the end of an era.
The first public school in Spring City was held at the Lyceum building at Hall and Main streets. In 1849, classes were moved to the Union Meeting House and later to a small school building behind the old Lutheran Church. It was not until 1872 that the Church Street School was constructed. This brownstone building was enlarged in 1892 and was big enough to house all 12 grades. In 1929, the high school on New Street opened, and the Church Street School became a grade school. Both of these buildings are now gone. In 1955 the jointure was formed with Spring City and Royersford becoming part of the Spring-Ford Area School District. A new elementary school on Wall Street was opened in 1960, and a new high school on Lewis road in Royersford opened in 1959. The senior high school now occupies a new building across the street from the one built in 1959.
Mechanics Hall is the second oldest public meetinghouse in Spring City. Located at the bottom of Hall Street across from the firehouse, it is now known as the Tall Cedars Temple. This building was constructed in 1852 and was used by many organizations. Several churches, including the Lutheran and Reformed, held services there before their houses of worship were completed. In 1882, the Spring City Borough Council purchased a new firefighting apparatus from the Silsby Manufacturing Company in New York at a cost of $3600. This action was a result of a fire that destroyed the Shantz & Keeley Stove Works in July 1881. The Liberty Steam Fire Engine Company No. 1, a volunteer firefighting organization, was incorporated in 1882. The firehouse was built at the bottom of Hall Street in 1892. The firefighters today are still volunteers. Horse racing began in 1893 as the Spring City Driving Association acquired a large property on Wall Street. There were grandstands and stables on the grounds. Racing and horse shows were held regularly in the 1930s and 1940s. This track was located on Wall Street, where the Spring City Elementary School now stands. The property was vacated and sold to the school district in 1958.
The Pennhurst State School and Hospital in Spring City was opened in 1908. Sitting high atop Crab Hill, looking down on the Schuylkill River, it was a community that was separated from the rest of Spring City. A sprawling complex of red brick buildings, it included a dairy farm, power house, greenhouses, movie theater, laundry, cafeteria and many other facilities. Pennhurst was a state institution for the mentally handicapped and at one time had more than 3000 patients. The hospital has been closed, and most of the buildings remain empty today. The New Horizons building on the upper campus was completely renovated and is now the main building of the Southeastern Veterans' Center.
The Spring City Free Public Library was established in 1910. The following year, the Women's Library Club of Spring City was founded by Mrs. H. Wells Taylor. Taylor gathered a small group of women in her home to discuss their mutual concern of assisting the library and keeping it in operation. The ladies formed the “Women’s Auxiliary to the Free Public Library” and elected Mrs. Taylor as the first president, a post she held through 1917. Their main purpose was to assist in the maintenance of the borough’s library, to help educate the youths in a taste for good literature and to profit by meeting together for mutual helpfulness.
The first librarian was S. Elizabeth Rogers who held that post from 1910 to 1946. She was succeeded by M. Bertha Brower, who was the librarian from 1946 to 1980. Other directors included Matilda Diemer, Dorothy Borst, Anita Regester, and Suzanne Macaulay. The current Library Director is Nicole McCourt Socha.
In 1935 the library moved to its current location on Broad Street. Formerly a one-room school house, the building has been expanded twice, most recently in 1990 funded by the Bard Foundation. At 1,600 square feet (150 m2) the library is in need of more space. The Spring City Free Public Library Board of Trustees is currently embarking on a building project with a goal of expanding the current location to a 4,000-square-foot (370 m2) building with a second floor loft space for programming.
Spring City has a rich history. At the turn of the 20th century it was a growing, vibrant and complete community. There was all of the industrial development, agricultural development, and commercial enterprise needed to support a growing town. Schools, churches, and numerous social organizations were growing with the population. For recreation there were two movie theaters on Main Street and an amusement park just outside of town that could be easily reached with a short trip on the trolley. Horse racing at the track on Wall Street was also very popular and attracted people from several nearby states. The canal was used for boating and fishing during the summer months and ice skating in the winter. Trains ran on a regular schedule for those wishing to travel to Reading or Philadelphia and beyond. Although progress and the passing of time has changed the face of Spring City, the 21st century brings promise, as the citizens who live here today are infused with the spirit and resolve of those who originally settled here!
Spring City is located at (40.177866, -75.549828).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2), of which 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2), or 7.32%, is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,305 people, 1,412 households, and 835 families residing in the borough. The population density was 4,321.9 people per square mile (1,679.0/km²). There were 1,508 housing units at an average density of 1,972.0 per square mile (766.1/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 95.25% White, 1.94% African American, 0.51% Native American, 1.03% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.27% from other races, and 0.94% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.18% of the population.
There were 1,412 households out of which 28.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.8% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.8% were non-families. 33.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 3.03.
In the borough the population was spread out with 23.8% under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 34.9% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 11.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 102.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.0 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $40,601, and the median income for a family was $52,292. Males had a median income of $36,866 versus $27,054 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $20,931. About 4.1% of families and 6.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.4% of those under age 18 and 4.1% of those age 65 or over.
- Sherwood H. Hallman, a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in World War II
- Hy Mayerson, philanthropist, CEO of Spring City's The Mayerson Law Offices, P.C., and founder of Spring City's Meetinghouse Building, Gallery, and ImaginAIRium
- Chuck Sheetz, Emmy Award-winning animation director for The Simpsons
- Ham Wade, Major League Baseball player for the New York Giants
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.