History of Lansdale's Incorporation

Initial Development
Lansdale Borough has many unique qualities including its history of incorporation. As a result of  the railroad, chief railroad surveyor Phillip Lansdale Fox identified a prime location for a local stop along the railroad and within months a small village of railroad workers sprang up along the tracks. Some housing was for families that came to establish permanent roots in the area and the pace of development quickened. Service businesses like general stores, feed and grain mills, and lumber yards opened after the rail line opened in 1856 and the village needed to name its railroad station.

The logical name was “Jenkintown” but that name was assigned to another stop along the route. Residents decided to name the community after him, by then he had moved on to survey railroads out west and it is not known if he ever learned that our borough was named for him.

Civil War Years
Through the Civil War years the village was split down the middle between Hatfield and Gwynedd with Main Street as the dividing line and had no governing body to aid in the settlement of  issues for the rising town.  In 1872 Lansdale applied for and was granted incorporation as a Borough. There was no big fanfare in fact there was little noticeable change at all other that an election for a Borough Council for which there were few candidates.

Early Growth
After incorporation, proximity to the railroad was instrumental in Lansdale’s early growth. Heebner Agricultural Works, A.C. Godshall, and Abram Cox Stove Works located in Lansdale and were leaders in industry. As the twentieth century dawned Lansdale matured into a commercial hub that quickly became the population center of the region. There were more than 100 stores and professional offices along Main, Broad and Walnut Streets, and Railroad Avenue including Woolworth’s, Dresher Arcade, Clemens and Ralph’s Markets, the Acme and American stores, Kaufman’s Furniture, Sun Ray Drugs, Hager’s, Bartholomew’s, and Jeanne’s clothing stores. Lansdale was also home to industry with Franklin Tile Company, Weaver Steel, Dextale Hosiery, Interstate Mill, Koehler and Fretz, Perfect Foods, and Lansdale Tube Company.

A Community of Opportunity
While Lansdale has changed dramatically since the first train came through 155 years ago, it remains a community of opportunity for those who live here.