Rising from the ashes of post-industrialization. Chester County’s communities have that Old-World vibe amidst a modern-day setting, but one particular borough stands out for its unique historical background. Formerly a bastion of the American steel industry, Phoenixville Borough has lived up to its name by reemerging as a colorful cultural hub and a location of prime residential and commercial real estate.
The Lenape Indians used to call this area by the French Creek home. When the first of the European settlers came into the area, they called it Manavon – the earliest-known name of Phoenixville.
Here’s a timeline of Phoenixville’s history:
Late 1600s: Treasure hunter Charles Pickering found what he thought to be silver in the waters of the creek. He bought a land grant for the area and began mining there in search of precious metals. He eventually divided the land among his friends before his death.
1731: James Starr moved from Delaware to the new area with his family, bought land here, and established a grist mill – the first business to be established in the area.
1785: After the American Revolution, the old Starr grist mill was renovated and repurposed to become the French Creek Nail Works.
1813: Under new management, Nail Works was renamed to the Phoenix Iron Works. The owner, a German named Lewis Wernwag, employed the residents from the area. After his proposal to separate their locale from Schuylkill Township, the area was then rechristened to its present-day name, Phoenixville.
1849: Phoenixville was officially incorporated as a borough.
American Civil War: the borough’s steel industry flourished as they manufactured rifles and cannon barrels that were used by the Union. The company, now named the Phoenix Iron Company, also invented the Phoenix Column – a popular construction material used for structures like bridges and elevated rail lines.
1949: The company was renamed the Phoenix Iron and Steel Company.
1955: The company was, once again, renamed the Phoenix Steel Corporation.
World War II: Steep competition forces a decline in the company’s production.
1987: Phoenix Steel Corporation was closed for good
Today: After redevelopment plans took off, owing partly to the success of a 1958 horror-sci-fi movie entitled, The Blob, Phoenixville has become an artsy cultural hotspot and a great place to live. Niche.com ranks this borough at #25 out of 711 towns as the Best Suburb for Young Professionals in Pennsylvania.
Real estate in Phoenixville
Many of the available homes for sale in Phoenixville, PA are stately mansions scattered across the borough, some of which can go as high as over $6 million. However, those looking for starter homes here can also find beautiful bungalow-type residences with a garage and a lovely yard at less than half a million dollars.
Those looking for potential commercial real estate in Phoenixville, PA should know that there is also a number of apartments and multi-family homes for sale here, as well as large open lots found toward the outskirts of town.
Most homes here embrace the colonial architectural style, but with a variety of materials used for the exterior walls from locally sourced stones to brick and wooden sidings. The average number of bathrooms and bedrooms is at four each.
Living in Phoenixville
Phoenixville is served by the Phoenixville Area School District. According to GreatSchools.org, students from many of the schools in this district fare better academically than those from other districts in the Keystone State.
These are the schools under the said district:
- Early learning: Phoenixville Area Early Learning Center
- Barkley Elementary School
- Manavon Elementary School
- Schuylkill Elementary School
- Middle school: Phoenixville Area Middle School
- High school: Phoenixville High School
Here are some great places to see and things to do when you’re in Phoenixville:
- Scream and run in the Blobfest at the Colonial Theatre
Summertime is run-like-crazy time at the Blobfest. Residents relive this “terror” annually by reenacting one iconic scene from the 1958 movie that largely involved the now-fully restored Colonial Theatre.
- See the sights on Bridge Street
Perhaps the busiest section of Phoenixville these days is the recently revived Bridge Street where you will find almost everything from local shops to delightful restaurants. The Colonial Theatre is also situated here, as well as a variety of wine-tasting rooms and craft breweries.
The ongoing pandemic has forced the local council to close sections of Bridge Street at certain hours to assure that social distancing can properly be observed for patrons of the business establishments here. Learn more about this here.
- Get the freshest produce at Phoenixville Farmers’ Market
The Phoenixville Farmers’ Market, established in 2002, is committed to supporting local agriculture by connecting farmers with consumers. Usually open from May to November every year, you can expect nothing else but the freshest vegetables, fruits, flowers, and baked goods when you drop by.
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