Ambler, Pennsylvania

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Borough of Ambler
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Montgomery
Elevation 220 ft (67.1 m)
Coordinates 40°09′18″N 75°13′13″W / 40.15500°N 75.22028°W / 40.15500; -75.22028Coordinates: 40°09′18″N 75°13′13″W / 40.15500°N 75.22028°W / 40.15500; -75.22028
Area 0.8 sq mi (2.1 km2)
 - land 0.8 sq mi (2 km2)
 - water 0.0 sq mi (0 km2), 0%
Population 6,417 (2010)
Density 7,605.8 / sq mi (2,936.6 / km2)
Incorporated 1888
Government Council-manager
Mayor Jeanne Sorg
Timezone EST (UTC-5)
 - summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP Code 19002
Area code 215
Location of Ambler in Montgomery County
Location of Ambler in Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the United States

Ambler is a borough in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, in the United States, approximately 16 miles (26 km) north of Philadelphia.


Dawesfield was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.[1] The town's many buildings were built by Italian immigrants from Maida, Italy and still has a large Italian population today. Maida, Italy is the town's sister city today.

Village of Wissahickon[edit]

Ambler was originally known as the Village of Wissahickon, named for the North Pennsylvania Railroad depot established there in the mid-1850s. The town was renamed to Ambler in 1869 in honor of Mary Johnson Ambler, a local Quaker woman who heroically assisted during The Great Train Wreck of 1856, a local train accident in which 59 people were killed instantly and dozens more died from their injuries.

Legacy of asbestos[edit]

In 1881, the Keasbey and Mattison Company, whose business included the manufacture of asbestos, moved to Ambler from Philadelphia. The company invested heavily in the town. However, the Great Depression took its toll on the company, and it was sold to an English concern, Turner & Newhall, in 1934. Newhall operated the factory until it closed in 1962. Federal-Mogul, an American automotive supplier, purchased the assets of Turner & Newhall, and is itself in Chapter 11 bankruptcy due to asbestos liability.

Contamination remains an issue in Ambler.[2] One area was declared a Superfund site and remediated by the United States EPA. Another remains unremediated. In 2013, Heckendorn Shiles Architects and Summit Realty Advisers teamed on an adaptive reuse project which converted the derelict factory and smokestack into a LEED Platinum Certified multi-tenant office building that employs an outline of smart, modern design features—alternative financing, substantial green features, historic preservation, transit-oriented design, and brownfield development. Local government has made redevelopment of the sites a priority. A 2005 proposal for a 17-story condominium tower, was withdrawn after community opposition to the project.[3]


First Presbyterian Church of Ambler in a pre-1923 postcard

Ambler is located at 40°9′18″N 75°13′13″W / 40.15500°N 75.22028°W / 40.15500; -75.22028 (40.155099, -75.220160).[4]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2), all of it land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 251
1890 1,073 327.5%
1900 1,884 75.6%
1910 2,649 40.6%
1920 3,094 16.8%
1930 3,944 27.5%
1940 3,953 0.2%
1950 4,565 15.5%
1960 6,765 48.2%
1970 7,800 15.3%
1980 6,628 −15.0%
1990 6,609 −0.3%
2000 6,426 −2.8%
2010 6,417 −0.1%
Est. 2014 6,506 [5] 1.4%
Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democratic
2012 31.2% 959 67.3% 2,069
2008 30.8% 947 68.4% 2,099
2004 33.7% 989 65.7% 1,927
2000 35.1% 875 60.4% 1,464

As of the 2010 census, the borough was 76.5% White, 12.8% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 3.8% Asian, 0.3% Native Hawaiian, and 3.4% were two or more races. 7.9% were of Hispanic or Latino ancestry, an almost four-fold increase since the 2000 census [1].

As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 6,426 people, 2,510 households, and 1,598 families residing in the borough. The population density was 7,605.8 people per square mile (2,953.7/km²). There were 2,605 housing units at an average density of 3,083.3 per square mile (1,197.4/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 83.29% White, 12.03% African American, 0.25% Native American, 2.47% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.50% from other races, and 1.40% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.13% of the population.

There were 2,510 households out of which 29.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.7% were married couples living together, 13.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.3% were non-families. 30.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.08.

Ambler train station with restaurant Trax behind it

In the borough the population was spread out with 23.5% under the age of 18, 7.0% from 18 to 24, 32.5% from 25 to 44, 19.7% from 45 to 64, and 17.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 86.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.8 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $47,014, and the median income for a family was $51,235. Males had a median income of $40,305 versus $30,735 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $21,688. About 2.4% of families and 5.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.8% of those under age 18 and 4.9% of those age 65 or over.

Politics and government[edit]

Ambler has a city manager form of government with a mayor and a nine-member borough council. The mayor is Jeanne Sorg. The borough is part of the Thirteenth Congressional District (represented by Rep. Brendan Boyle), the 148th State House District (represented by Rep. Mary Jo Daley) and the 12th State Senate District (represented by Sen. Stewart Greenleaf).


The Borough of Ambler is served by the Wissahickon School District. In 2004, the Wissahickon School District had 4,535 students. Wissahickon School District has six schools: four elementary, one middle (grades 6-8) and one high school (grades 9-12).

Temple University, whose main campus is in nearby urban Philadelphia, has a suburban campus that is referred to as the Ambler Campus[9] (and has an Ambler postal address although it is outside the borough limits and is in Upper Dublin Township) which offers an array of undergraduate, graduate, and non-credit programs.

Arts and culture[edit]

Act II Playhouse[edit]

Act II Playhouse is a 130-seat professional theatre founded in 1999. Act II has been nominated for 31 Barrymore Awards and has won six.

Ambler Symphony Orchestra[edit]

Founded in 1952, the Ambler Symphony Orchestra performs several concerts per year under the musical direction of WRTI program director Jack Moore.

Ambler Theater[edit]

Originally opened in 1927 as a Warner Brothers movie theater, the recently restored and renovated Ambler Theater is a non-profit, community owned movie theater that shows independent, art and limited-distribution films.


Ambler is served by SEPTA's Lansdale-Doylestown rail line; Ambler station is a major park-and-ride facility on the line. SEPTA bus routes 94 and 95 also serve Ambler.

Sister Cities[edit]

Ambler is a sister city with:


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  2. ^ "REACH Ambler: From factory to the future in Ambler, Pennsylvania". REACH Ambler. Chemical Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 5 August 2015. 
  3. ^ Reiny, Samson (2015). "Living in the Town Asbestos Built". Distillations Magazine 1 (2): 26–35. Retrieved 5 August 2015. 
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  5. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Census of Population and Housing: Decennial Censuses". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-03-04. 
  7. ^ "Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions Datasets: Subcounty Resident Population Estimates: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  8. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  9. ^ "Ambler Campus". Temple University. Retrieved 5 August 2015. 
  10. ^ "Ambler forms twinship with Maida, Italy". Retrieved 2012-12-30. 

External links[edit]