Phoenixville, Pennsylvania

Phoenixville, Pennsylvania

Borough of Phoenixville
Phoenixville, looking across the Phoenix Iron Works site and French Creek.
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Chester
Elevation 138 ft (42.1 m)
Area 3.8 sq mi (9.8 km2)
 - land 3.6 sq mi (9 km2)
 - water 0.2 sq mi (1 km2), 5.26%
Population 16,518[1] (2012)
Density 4,566.6 / sq mi (1,763.2 / km2)
Incorporated March 6, 1849 [2]
Mayor Michael J. Speck [3]
Timezone EST (UTC-5)
 - summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Zip code 19460
Area code 610/484
Location of Phoenixville in Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the United States

Phoenixville is a borough in Chester County, Pennsylvania, United States, 28 miles (45 km) northwest of Philadelphia, at the junction of French Creek with the Schuylkill River. The population is 16,440 as of the 2010 Census.[4]


  • History 1
    • Name 1.1
  • Attractions 2
  • Economy 3
  • Geography and climate 4
    • Adjacent municipalities 4.1
  • Transportation 5
  • Governance 6
  • Education 7
    • Public school 7.1
    • Private schools 7.2
    • Charter Schools 7.3
    • Higher education and colleges 7.4
  • Demographics 8
  • Religion 9
  • Notable people 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


Phoenixville Mural

Originally called Manavon, Phoenixville was settled in 1732 and incorporated as a borough in 1849. In its industrial heyday early in the twentieth century, it was an important manufacturing center and it was the site of great iron and steel mills such as the Phoenix Iron Works, boiler works, silk mill, underwear and hosiery factories, a match factory, and the famous (and now highly collectible) Etruscan majolica pottery. Like many American towns and cities, Phoenixville owes its growth to its waterways. It is not only situated on the broad Schuylkill River, a historic thoroughfare to Native Americans and early settlers alike, but it is bisected by the fast-flowing French Creek, which was quickly harnessed for water power.

Much of this history was recognized by the creation of the Phoenixville Historic District, the largest National Register of Historic Places site in Chester County. The Black Rock Bridge, Gay Street School, and Schuylkill Navigation Canal, Oakes Reach Section are also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[5]


The first nail factory in the U.S., the French Creek Nail Works, was established in Phoenixville (then called Manavon) in 1790. In 1813, a bridge builder, Lewis Wernwag, became part owner and renamed it the Phoenix Iron Works. In 1840, new owners added a blast furnace. In 1855 a new group of owners incorporated as the Phoenix Iron Co.

Burning of the Phoenix

When the borough was incorporated in 1849, it incorporated the name of its major employer.

After several ownership changes, the plant was completely shut down in 1949 and later acquired by the Barium Steel Corp. and renamed the Phoenix Iron & Steel Company, later The Phoenix Steel Corporation. The entire plant was shut down for the last time in 1987.[6]


In March 2010, Philadelphia Magazine listed Phoenixville as one of "10 Awesome Neighborhoods To Call Home".[7]

Phoenixville is home to the Colonial Theatre, opened in 1903. In 1958, the theatre, along with some other parts of the borough, was featured in the motion picture The Blob. Beginning in 2000, Phoenixville has celebrated this with the annual Blobfest.[8] Festivities include a reenactment of the scene featuring the Colonial. The Colonial runs special programs some weekends in July, and an ongoing series of movies and events for children.

Since 2004 on the first Friday night of every month, the downtown stores, restaurants and businesses and volunteer community groups hold special events including street musicians and entertainers and some outdoor concerts. This is referred to as "First Friday" by the locals.[9]

Also since 2004, Phoenixville has celebrated the "rebirth" of the town with the burning of a large wooden phoenix. The bonfire at the Firebird Festival is used to harden clay birds crafted over the preceding weeks.[10]

Phoenixville is in close proximity to Valley Forge National Park and the Perkiomen and Schuylkill River trails.


Phoenix Iron Works foundry building.

Phoenixville has a diverse local economy that largely includes many local artisans and restaurants. Local hotspots include an Iron Hill Brewery and Molly Maguire's Pub, both located on Bridge Street.[11] Customers Bank, the nation's fourth-best community bank for return on equity in 2011, according to the American Bankers Association, is headquartered in downtown Phoenixville.[12]

Main Street

Geography and climate

Phoenixville is located at (40.130819, -75.519061).[13]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 3.8 square miles (9.8 km2), of which 3.6 square miles (9.3 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) (4.27%) is water. Phoenixville is home of the highest recorded temperature in Pennsylvania, 111 °F (44 °C), set on July 10, 1936.[14]

Average annual rainfall: 30"

Average annual snowfall: 13"

Average temperature in winter: 34°F

Average temperature in summer: 73°F[15]

Adjacent municipalities


Phoenixville is at the intersection of three state highway routes: 23, 29, and 113. Phoenixville is currently served by SEPTA's Route 99 bus, which connects with the Manayunk/Norristown Line Regional rail service at the Norristown Transportation Center, and the Route 139 bus, which connects the King of Prussia Mall with Limerick.

Several major railroads once served Phoenixville. The Reading Railroad entered the east side of town via a station above Bridge Street. The line passes under the north side of town in the Black Rock Tunnel, the third railroad tunnel constructed in the United States. Regular commuter trains last stopped at the Phoenixville Station in 1981, when SEPTA ceased operating non-electrified commuter lines. Norfolk Southern Railway (NS) currently utilizes the busy line on a daily basis as part of its Harrisburg Line.

The Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) Schuylkill Branch also served Phoenixville. The line enters town crossing the Schuylkill River from neighboring Mont Clare on a high bridge, north of French Creek. The line passes along the north side of the former Phoenix Iron Works site. The station on Vanderslice Street, west of Gay Street, no longer exists. Past the Works, the line splits. The main fork passed through the now abandoned Phoenixville Tunnel, which partially collapsed in the 1990s, and continued toward Reading. The other fork continued along the Pickering Creek Valley and used to connect with the Main Line at Paoli. A section of the line remains in place, and is currently known as the Phoenixville Industrial track (also owned by NS). Passenger service ended in 1928 and regular freight service on the line ceased in 2004. During the 2008 replacement of the Gay Street Bridge, the line was severed at its crossing of Main Street and that rail bridge raised a few feet to allow emergency vehicles to reach the north side of town.

Interest to resume passenger rail service was spurred by the Schuylkill Valley Metro (SVM) project, which was rejected by Federal Transit Administration in 2006. Another project, called the Greenline, has since been proposed an alternative to the SVM. It would utilize the Phoenixville Industrial track, to give Phoenixville a rail link to Philadelphia via Paoli and the Paoli/Thorndale Line of regional rail. The effort to resume passenger train service has led to the creation of the group Citizens for the Train.


The borough of Phoenixville is governed by a mayor and by eight council members, two for each of four wards: Middle, East, North, and West. Each ward is further divided into three numbered election precincts. The precincts do not have government representatives.

Phoenixville is in Pennsylvania's 6th federal Congressional District, the 157th State House of Representatives District, the 155th State House of Representatives District, and the 19th State Senatorial District.


Phoenixville High School

Public school

Phoenixville is served by the Phoenixville Area School District, which has three elementary schools, a middle school and a high school. High school students can choose to attend the Technical College High School Pickering Campus for specific hands-on training in particular fields of study.[16] The School District also serves the surrounding municipalities of East Pikeland and Schuylkill Townships.

Private schools

Charter Schools

Higher education and colleges


As of the census of 2010, there were 16,440 people, 7,590 households.[4] There were 6,793 housing units at an average density of 1,892.6/sq mi (730.6/km²).

The racial makeup of the borough was 78.0% White, 8.6% African American, 0.2% American Indian, 3.5% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 2.6% two or more races, and Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.4% of the population.[22]

The Borough's age demographics were 6.3% under the age of 5, 79.9% (12,822) from 18 to 65, and 11.6% (1,870) from 65 and older. The median age was 37.90 years, 52.6% (8,448) are females, and 47.4% (7,606) are males. The median income for a household in the Borough was $56,704, and the median income for a family was $71,005.[23]


Saint Ann's Church of Phoenixville
Church and Main Street

Phoenixville is home to 34 designated places of worship of several different religions.[24]

58.4% of residents are Catholic, 7.3% are of the United Methodist Church, 6.7% are Presbyterians, 4.5% are of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 4.2% are Jewish, 3.4% are of the Episcopal Church, 2.7% are Baptists, 2.4% are Muslims, 1.9% are of the United Church of Christ, 1.2% are Quakers, and 11.5% are classified as other.[25]

Notable people


  1. ^ US Census Bureau. "Population of Phoenixville", US Census Bureau,September 25, 2,013. Retrieved on 26 February 2,014.
  2. ^  
  3. ^ New Phoenixville mayor sworn in, council elects leadership
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  6. ^ "Phoenix Steel Corporation Records, 1827-1963 (bulk 1856-1949)". Retrieved 2011-07-21. 
  7. ^ McCutcheon, Lauren and Christine Speer. March 2010, Philadelphia Magazine, "10 Awesome Neighborhoods To Call Home". Accessed 19 July 2011.
  8. ^ Blobfest Archive at the Wayback Machine (archived May 12, 2015)
  9. ^ "Phoenixville First Friday". Phoenixville. Retrieved 19 July 2011. 
  10. ^ Jusinski, Lynn (12 December 2011). "Firebird Festival Draws Thousands to Phoenixville". Phoenixville Patch. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  11. ^ "". Retrieved 2014-08-03. 
  12. ^ ABA Banking Journal Ranks Customers Bank Fourth Among Community Banks in the USA, archived from the original on March 24, 2012 
  13. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  14. ^ "Record Highest Temperatures By State" (PDF). National Climatic Data Center. Retrieved June 20, 2013. 
  15. ^ Phoenixville Hospital: About Us at the Wayback Machine (archived January 27, 2009)
  16. ^ "CCIU Pickering Campus". Chester County Intermediate Unit. 
  17. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Number of Inhabitants: Pennsylvania" (PDF). 18th Census of the United States. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  19. ^ "Pennsylvania: Population and Housing Unit Counts" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  20. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  21. ^ "Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions Datasets: Subcounty Population Estimates: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  22. ^ "Census 2010: Pennsylvania". Usatoday.Com. Retrieved 2014-08-03. 
  23. ^ "Phoenixville Demographics". The Borough of Phoenixville. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  24. ^ "Religion in Phoenixville". The Borough of Phoenixville. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  25. ^ "Percentage of religion in Phoenixville". Advameg Inc. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  26. ^ Bob Byrne, ed. (October 4, 2013), Bacon Brothers Come Home to Phoenixville This Weekend, archived from the original on February 2, 2014 

External links

  • Website of the Borough of Phoenixville
  • Phoenixville, Pennsylvania at DMOZ
  •  "Phœnixville, Pa.". The New Student's Reference Work. 1914.