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 MARBLE

Pennsylvania Marble, quarried less than thirty miles from the city of Philadelphia, was an important regional building stone in the first half of the 19th century. This marble was also known as Pennsylvania White Marble, Montgomery County Marble, King of Prussia Marble, and Henderson Marble.

Marble was found on the southern edge of Upper Merion Township. About half a mile from King of Prussia near the Chester Valley Railroad was the quarry formerly worked by J. Brooke from 1858 to 1876 and later by Derr & Adams and eventually by Schweyer & Leias. What was known as Henderson’s Quarry and later owned and worked by Daniel 0. Hitner was situated two miles southwest of Bridgeport and was worked before 1782. There was an extensive steam mill for sawing marble. These were the only marble quarries that had been worked in the township.

The appearance of King of Prussia Blue, combined with its reputedly fine quality and accessibility, made it a natural choice of Philadelphia architects. It was used primarily for monumental public building projects from 1790-1860, especially those designed in the Greek Revival style.

By the middle of the 19th century, however, the poor performance of the marble, the inability of the large grained stone to take detailed carving, changing design tastes, and improved transportation systems that increased the availability of white marbles from New England and Georgia all contributed to the demise of King of Prussia Blue Marble as a building stone.

Among the buildings constructed of King of Prussia blue marble were:
*The Second Bank of the United States
*Samuel Blodget’s First Bank of the United States, 1795–97
*John Haviland’s Franklin Institute (Atwater Kent Museum), 1825
*William Strickland’s Merchants’ Exchange, 1832–33
*Thomas U. Walter’s Founder’s Hall at Girard College, 1833–47
*Fort Mifflin
*Senate Reception Hall in the Capitol in Washington, D.C
*Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, built in 1854, and the addition to the courthouse built in 1902
*United States courthouse and post office in
Williamsport
*United States post office in Reading
*Bomberger Memorial Hall on the Ursinus campus in Collegeville
*Chester High School in Chester
*Girl’s High School in Reading
*Central Grammar School in Chester
*Bryn Mawr High School in Bryn Mawr
*St. Patrick’s Parochial School in Norristown
*Allentown Hospital in Allentown
*St. Mark’s Reformed Church in Lebanon
*Calvary Baptist Church in Norristown
*St. Paul’s Reformed Church in Sellersville
*Grace United Evangelical Church in Reading
*German Reformed Church in Pennsburg

The marble was also commonly used in homes in Philadelphia and could be seen in the marble stoops in the city. Ronald Evitts, a New York architect, noted that fireplaces of King of Prussia marble could be found in many historic US homes. It had also been used for table tops, mantels, replace surrounds, and gravestones.

Before the end of the nineteenth century, the quarrying of marble in Upper Merion had ceased since the demand for the material had diminished.
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This “America Mural” currently resides on the wall at the King of Prussia branch of Bryn Mawr Trust bank on DeKalb Pike. The branch is to close soon. A new branch is taking it’s place elsewhere ...

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FRIDAY FACT: THE KING OF PRUSSIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY

In 1953, 65 years ago, a group was established as the “Committee to Save the King of Prussia Inn.” They were successful in saving the structure from being removed when US 202 was to be widened for the first time. Although it resulted in the inn being stranded between the north and southbound lanes of the highway, at least it was spared the wrecking ball.

Due to the success they achieved in saving the inn, in 1956, the Committee broadened its scope to include other important buildings in Upper Merion, and was renamed the “King of Prussia Historical Society.” This group of dedicated individuals was extremely active in the community, and for over 30 years documented our local history and valiantly attempted to preserve it. The Old Roberts School is an excellent example of a structure saved and restored by the Society.

As more and more of our history gave way to progress, the Society found itself with a building that was falling apart and a dwindling membership. When the King of Prussia Inn was moved, interest began to grow again. However, it was not enough to keep the Society going, yet there was no real official end to the functioning Society. Somewhere along the line the King of Prussia Chamber of Commerce, the forerunner to the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, absorbed it.

It was not until the year of the Upper Merion Tricentennial, in 2013, that an agreement was reached with the Chamber to allow the name to be licensed. So on April 24, 2012, a meeting was held at the Historic King of Prussia Inn to sign papers that would finally reestablish the King of Prussia Historical Society, and bring it back to the people of Upper Merion.

The Society then envisioned the building as a Welcome Center, a Museum, and a meeting place for the King of Prussia Historical Society, as well as other community organizations. Those visions currently seem unlikely.

We are eternally grateful to all those who believe in our mission and are helping us grow our membership as the Society continues to work toward its goals:
1) To encourage research in the history of Upper Merion Township and adjoining communities;
2) To promote interest and research in local history by publishing and distributing a quarterly periodical entitled THE KING OF PRUSSIA GAZETTE;
3) To collect, archive, and preserve the various documents, photographs and artifacts of local historic significance; and
4) To maintain a cooperation with the teachers and administration of the Upper Merion Area School District, and the Upper Merion Township Library, designed to increase community interest in local history.

This Saturday, January 13 at 2:00 pm the Society holds its Annual Meeting at Christ Church (Old Swedes) Hall. A presentation follows, "Aerial Drone Photos of Upper Merion". Please join us and help us "Preserve Upper Merion's Past to Enlighten It's Future."

Check out our website to view our digital archive, read past issues of our publication and more. www.kophistory.org. Please consider becoming a member or making a tax deductible donation.
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From the Digital Archive
Visit our collection of images, audio files and documents – new material will continue to be added.