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Douglass Township

Douglass Township municipal offices are located at 1320 East Philadelphia Avenue, Gilbertsville PA 19525; phone: 610-367-6062.

The township, incorporated in 1741, was originally settled by German, Pennsylvania Dutch immigrants.

A Brief History [1]

The original boundaries of Douglass included the land of New Hanover and extended south to the Schuylkill River. In 1683, the first German settlers arrived as part of William Penn's recruiting effort and organized themselves as the Frankfurt Company. In 1741, New Hanover, Douglass, Upper Hanover and Pottsgrove Townships were formed by the division of Hanover Township. In 1807 the southern boundary of Douglass Township was established forming the current-day township boundary.

A "publick house" or inn built along East Philadelphia Avenue in Gilbertsville in the 1700's was a landmark within Gilbertsville. From the late 1800's to 1920, East Philadelphia Avenue was a toll road run by the Limerick and Colebrookdale Turnpike Company. By 1848, the development of Gilbertsville made it large enough to be recognized as a specific place. The Village of Congo, north of Gilbertsville came about in 1848 when a hotel was established there along Hoffmansville Road.

The Village of Niantic, also north of Gilbertsville became a place after the development of a Gristmill along the West Branch of the Perkiomen Creek. The Village of Sassmansville was created in 1888 to honor the organizer of a Reformed church who built the village.

Early schools within the Township were affiliated with neighboring churches. A Township-wide public school system was created in 1851 at which time numerous neighborhood schools were constructed to serve the local school-aged children. In 1965, a jointure was formed with the Boyertown Area School District. Boyertown remains the school district for the Township today.

Trolley tracks were laid in Gilbertsville in 1909, however the trolley did not run for several more years due to controversy over its development. The trolley did finally run from Pottstown to the Swamp Hotel in New Hanover and through Gilbertsville to Boyertown where it ended. This rail line allowed residents to use public transportation all the way to Philadelphia until service was suspended in 1937. In the 1960's, well after the automobile had taken over as the main mode of transportation in the Region, Route 100 was constructed through the Township.

The Berks-Montgomery municipal sewer system was extended to Douglass Township in the 1960's.

Today, the rural character of Douglass still remains in the northern and central parts of the Township. However, the Township is seeing increasing pressure to develop as suburbanization spreads into the area.

  1. Montgomery Township, 2005 Pottstown Metropolitan Region Comprehensive Plan,
**Information is curated from a variety of sources and, while deemed reliable, is not guaranteed.
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