Preserving Upper Merion's Past To Enlighten Its Future
King of Prussia Historical Society

Our Mission
To preserve and interpret the history of Upper Merion Township, and to stimulate public interest and to support the township’s heritage through educational programs and public events focusing on preserving the past and shaping the future.
What We’re Doing
Monthly Events – Held at Christ Church (Old Swedes) Upper Merion.

Register of Historic Places – Help us to identify places in need of preservation.

Digital Archive Project – We are digitizing our collection of maps, aerial photos and more.

Latest News – See what’s going on.

Facebook Page – Join the conversation!
How You Can Help
Become a member or renew – join the fine group of people learning, preserving and educating, and receive quarterly issues of the King of Prussia Gazette – our newsletter.

Donate via Paypal – help us in our mission; receive a thank you gift of a print of a panoramic photograph of King of Prussia for donations at a certain level.

Amazon Smile – Amazon donates to us every time you make a purchase.

Donate items of historical interest.

Volunteer – opportunities to help out are available.

Join our mailing list
Learn More
E-History Facts – See a list of the facts posted weekly on Facebook.

Educational Resources – A detailed list of resources on Upper Merion History.

Books & Publications – Read about Upper Merion’s 300 year history.

Digital Archive – Old maps, aerial photos and other items of historical interest.

The Gazette – Our monthly newsletter which includes articles on our local history.


KING OF PRUSSIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY FACEBOOK PAGE

FRIDAY FACT: KING OF PRUSSIA PLATE

In July, 1971, the King of Prussia Historical Society debuted the first 100 of a limited edition King of Prussia Plate. The pewter-like plate is 6 inches and made of an alloy, Armetale. The exclusive design of the plate was made by an 18th century pewterer. The center artwork is from a drawing by Eric Sloan from an early book of the Society. The Greater Valley Forge Chamber of Commerce was the exclusive distributor of the plate at a cost of $5.

Anyone have one on display as the accessory showpiece envisioned on a local mantel or hutch?
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TBT- The year is 1928, and once gain Victor Dallin took to the air and photographed the sleepy little hamlet of King of Prussia, PA. It’s hard to believe that so many changes have come about, but here is the proof.

Looking south, you can see the King of Prussia Inn in the center and the Peacock Gardens to its right, with King of Prussia Road running from the center to the top of the photograph. Did you know that the road once actually came all the way into town? Swedesford Road (US 202) runs left to right, while Gulph Road runs upper left (toward Gulph Mills) to lower right (toward Valley Forge). Interestingly, you can also see the Thomas Rees House at the top of the page. It is the sister property to the King of Prussia Inn. Finally, notice the Reading RR Chester Valley branch and the PRR Trenton Cutoff bisecting the picture.

In contrast, this shot from 2009 shows nearly the same angle looking south. Notice the change to the intersection of US 202 and Gulph Road.

Old photo courtesy of the Hagley Museum and Library, new photo courtesy of Roger Thorne and TEHS.

Please Note: If you like what you see here and you think it is of value, please consider supporting us with a donation or a membership so as to help keep this information alive and available to future generations.
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FRIDAY FACT: UPPER MERION 1971 SINKHOLE

Remember the King Manor sinkhole of 1971 that caused the rerouting of Rt 202?

Upper Merion Hole Gives Officials a Sinking Feeling
Philadelphia Inquirer, Sunday, April 11, 1971

If you have nothing better to do, you can stand around and watch a section of US 202 in Upper Merion Township fall slowly into the sinkhole.

A lot of area people do that. Sinkholes are old hat in Upper Merion.

Take late Friday morning. The freshly blacktopped surface had sunk about 81 inches and it looked like a great gob of licorice going down a drain. Later, the blacktop cracked open and a crevice appeared in the road.

Heavy holiday traffic twisted by on a temporary runaround, avoiding a cone shaped hole that had become more than 6 feet across and just as deep. This sinkhole, near the Suburban Water Co. quarry in the King Manor section, has swallowed tons of concrete, boulders, fill and blacktop poured in by the PA Dept of Transportation.

By its estimate, PennDOT has poured nearly $25,000 down the hole in the last three months trying to block it. That figure includes about 1,000 man-hours as of Thursday, the day after the hole was most recently filled up.

According to Irwin Schier, public relations director at the PennDOT district office in St. Davids, the department will soon solve the problem once and for all.

But he said there were "mitigating factors which prevent urgency." The new Route 202 will solve the problem for most motorists," Schier said.

PennDOT has repaired the present road five times since the first cave-ins late in January. When the road sank the third time on St Patrick's Day, workmen hastily built the runaround to keep the busy highway open while repairs were under way.

The new Route 202 is scheduled for construction sometime this year, yet the present road is important because of homes and businesses and because it will connect with ramps to the new highway. Scheir said the sink would not affect the new road because it will be further west.

Township Manager Robert W. Geerdes said sinkholes were common in Upper Merion. "It's something you learn to live with," he mused.

Geerdes said sinks were not particularly dangerous because they usually give plenty of warning. They begin with small holes and enlarge slowly.

"I've never heard of a house or a car or anything falling into one," Geerdes said. "Of course you could not possibly say it could never happen. But the odds are very much against it."

According to a geological report the township supervisors bought in 1967, sinkholes are common in the area underlain by the Conestoga Limestone formation in the Great Valley. Acid and limestone don't mix.

Carbonic acid is formed when rainwater picks up carbon dioxide from the lower atmosphere. Air pollution adds to the problem because the rain water picks up sulfur gases in the urban and industrial area that make it even more acidic.

"Limestone is soluble in acid solutions. The action of these acids over long periods of time can dissolve huge masses of limestone," the report said.

Acidic rainwater percolated through folds and breaks in the limestone formations gradually eat out underground caves, rooms and shafts. Underground water washing through these cavities makes them even larger.

"On occasion, the ceiling of an underground cavity collapses thereby creating a sink," the report said.

According to the report, ground water moves through the limestone "toward the Schuylkill or centers of pumping such as the Bethlehem Steel Co. limestone quarry on 202."

The quarry is the one near the 202 sink. It was bought from Bethlehem by the Philadelphia Water Co. in April 1967 for use as a reservoir.

According to Schier, the quarry could be a "contributing factor" to the sink on 202.

"It's conceivable but there's no evidence, It's always a remote possibility." he said.

Thomas O'Leary, vice president for public relations for the water company, denied any connection between the nearby sink and the quarry.
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From the Digital Archive
Visit our collection of images, audio files and documents – new material will continue to be added.