Traffic, Weather, & Local News
Meet our officials, Town Council meeting minutes
Contact our local businesses
Check out our local organizations!
There's a lot going on here...
We're steeped in it.
Contact the site manager.
Frequently Asked Questions/Recently Asked Questions.
Links to external sites.
For more historical information contact
the Spring-Ford Area Historical Society or
the Spring City Library

      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 1600s, was a French Canadian fur trapper named Pierre Bezallion. The Leni Leanpe, 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 over in Compass (near Coatesville).

      As this area was settled it came to be referred to as “Pump Town,” so named due to a public pump frequented by citizens and visitors. The early residents had quite a battle over settling on an official name. There was a group who fought for the name “Pumptown” and others who liked Jamestown. Eventually the natural springs in the area proffered an obvious name and “Springville” was chartered on August 12th, 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. 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 1850’s 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 show place 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 today 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 c.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 current day Turkey Hill store. 1884, the Pennsylvania Railroad was opened from Reading to Philadelphia, with a station stop in Spring City. This obviously gave the Reading Railroad 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 8th, 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 scool 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, green houses, 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 Veteran’s Center.

      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, 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!

William C. Brunner

Please report problems to webmaster@springcitypa.net