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Pottstown Historical Society subject files


Held at: Pottstown Historical Society [Contact Us]568 High Street, Pottstown, PA, 19464

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Pottstown Historical Society. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

"William Penn deeded the land, which is now Pottstown and the surrounding area to his son John in 1701. As early as 1714 the first iron forge was built. Among the early settlers were Germans, Swedes, and English. By the 1720s, the first blast furnace was in operation for the production of cast iron and wrought iron. In 1732, the first steel furnace was in production in the Pottstown area.

"The Potts family, who were iron masters, moved to [the] area and established a forge [there]. The Potts home was a showplace on a small hill just west of town. John Potts, the oldest son of Thomas Potts, purchased nine hundred ninety-five acres in the area and in 1752 Pottstown was founded. When the town was first laid out, it stretched from York Street to Charlotte Street and from the Schuylkill River to Beech Street.

"Before 1800, the village was called Pottsgrove, however, as the population increased, this slowly evolved into Pottstown. On February 6, 1815, this area was incorporated as a Borough, the second Borough formed in the county, Norristown being the first. The first election of town officers was held in April of 1815.

"Soon after 1842, the Reading Railroad completed a series of lines from Philadelphia to Mt. Carbon, near Pottsville. Raw materials and coal were moved easily, and markets were more readily accessible. At this time, the population of the Borough was six hundred. Since the first forge, Pottstown has received much recognition in the metal industries. The most significant projects include the locks for the Panama Canal and the Golden Gate Bridge.

"In 1847 the town was divided into two wards. By 1850 the population of the Borough reached a total of one thousand eight hundred fifty. As the town grew, new wards were added and old ones were divided. By 1893 the Borough had ten wards represented by twenty councilmen, two from each ward. Borough Council continued to function as one of the largest municipal representative bodies in Pennsylvania. In 1964 the number of wards was reduced to seven, with one councilman representing each ward.

"In 1944, the Council-Manager form of government was adopted; administrative responsibility for the operation of the Borough was given to a professional Manager. The Borough has had ten Managers since the position was created."


Quoted text from: Borough of Pottstown, "History." Accessed April 27, 2012.

This collection consists of copy and original photographs, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, ephemera, and miscellaneous documents relating to various Pottstown local history topics. Subjects include: area churches; Pottstown industries, business and products; schools and sports teams; weddings and death notices; and cemeteries. There is a large amount of family history material, organized alphabetically by family name. The largest family section, for the Potts family, is stored separately. Of special interest are copies of records from Pottstown Cemetery Association, Trinity Reformed Church, and First Presbyterian Church.

Oversize and other primary documents, such as maps, blueprints, local business records, and deeds, are stored separately in a flat file.

A card catalog listing the major subjects in this collection is available on-site.

Materials collected at various times by the Pottstown Historical Society.

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2011-2012 as part of a pilot project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.

In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact Pottstown Historical Society directly for more information.

Pottstown Historical Society
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Michael Gubicza through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
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