A Brief History of
The first people to inhabit the Upper Perkiomen Valley were the Lenni Lenape Indian
tribes. For many years these Native American people lived in peace and harmony
with the first European settlers.
This made it easy for William Penn to buy the Upper Perkiomen Valley Area
in 1684. The seventeenth century witnessed the Reformation and the Thirty Years
War in Europe. European life was in shambles
and the new Protestants suffered persecution. Brethren (or Dunkers), Lutherans,
members of the Reformed Church, Schwenkfelders, Mennonites, and other “peace”
sects looked toward Penn’s “Holy Experiment” with fervent hope. These European
settlers, many of German descent, migrated to present day Upper Hanover Township.
Before 1741, Upper Hanover was part of Hanover Township along with Douglass, Pottsgrove, and
New Hanover Townships and the Borough of Pottstown.
Upper Hanover became a separate township from Hanover Township 1741 and, at that time, its boundaries also
included the three villages of Palm, Kleinville, and Hillegassville, in addition
to the settlements which now constitute the Borough of Pennsburg, Red Hill and
The township’s rich soil attracted excellent German farmers
who settled in the area. Industrial activity was second only to agriculture in
importance during this early period. The primary industry was building
construction. This was facilitated by utilizing the Hosensack Hills, which
provided granite boulders that were split into building materials. Water power
was also available from the Perkiomen Creek and propelled water wheels for five
gristmills and four sawmills.
In 1851, the Goshenhoppen and Green Lane Turnpike (presently
Route 29 or Gravel Pike) was completed. The Geryville and Sumneytown Turnpike,
finished in 1865, also crossed the eastern portion of the township. The railroad
further opened up the area in 1874 and facilitated easier shipment of
manufactured goods, farm produce and wheat to the more densely settled areas of
Montgomery County and Philadelphia. The railroad also opened up the
area for tourist and weekend visitors.
The flood of 1936 wiped out almost all of the ice dams on the
Perkiomen Creek that had once supported a flourishing ice production
During World War II many of the valley’s workers traveled to
industrial centers (i.e. Pottstown, Allentown,
Lansdale, etc.) outside the valley to find
employment in the war effort.
In 1954 a fierce controversy gripped the valley. The
Philadelphia Suburban Water Company wanted to impound three billion gallons of
the Perkiomen Creek’s water to supply municipalities at the eastern end of
County. Valley residents
felt their water rights were being confiscated. The citizens of the valley
organized, took the issue to court, and lost. The dam was started in 1954. The reservoir and its surrounding
parklands are now an important natural resource and recreation area for the
The Upper Perkiomen Valley School
District was also formed in 1954. Red Hill,
Pennsburg, East Greenville, Green
Upper Hanover, and Hereford
Township in Berks County merged to better serve school needs
in the valley. A multimillion dollar high school was constructed, spanning part
of Red Hill and Upper Hanover
Over the next few decades major growth and changes occurred
Hanover Township. Industries such as Knoll, Inc.,
Brown Printing and Blommer Chocolates located their business in the Township.
Housing development flourished in the early years of the 21st century
and boosted the population to over 6,000 residents. A major shopping center, The
Shoppes at Upper Hanover, opened for business
in 2006. Despite the recent growth, Upper Hanover
Township has maintained its
rural character through active coordination with the Montgomery County Open
Space Program and the Farmland Preservation Program.
(Source: Upper Perkiomen Valley Regional Comprehensive Plan of