Barbadoes Island (Pennsylvania)
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Barbadoes Island is an island in the Schuylkill River in West Norriton Township, south of Norristown in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, United States. Southbound U.S. Route 202 and various localized rail lines cross over the eastern tip of the island.
Barbadoes Island was part of the original land grants made to William Penn encompassing about 90 acres. In the 1700s, the University of Pennsylvania acquired title to Barbadoes Island. The name of Barbadoes Island may reflect a trade relationship between Philadelphia and Barbadoes, an island in the West Indies that was also under British control at one time. Wealthy planters from the Caribbean-isle sent their children to Philadelphia to be educated. In the early 1800s John Markley purchased Barbadoes Island, where he farmed the land and built a farm house. Between 1840 and 1910 pleasure steamboats carried excursionists to the island and up to Phoenixville from a wharf in Norristown. The island was purchased in 1922 by Counties Gas and Electric Company, which later merged with Philadelphia Electric Company (PECO).
A power plant was constructed on the island in 1926. Power plants fueled by gas, coal and oil occupied the island in post-World War II era until recently. The plant was originally coal-powered, then converted to diesel power in the 1970s. It was operated by the Philadelphia Electric Company (PECO/Exelon) until 1997. The PECO facility was most recently used for equipment storage, company training and as an electrical substation. On February 16, 2009, Exelon demolished the old power plant.
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