Borough administration offices are located at 491 East Main Street, Collegeville PA 19426.
Collegeville Borough [†] sits close to the geographic center of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania and is one of the most historic of Philadelphia's suburbs.
The area's earliest settlers arrived in the late 17th century and many of their buildings are still standing, including the Perkiomen Bridge Hotel which has existed in that spot since 1689 The historic bridge, an iconic entrance to the Borough located right next to the Hotel, was completed in 1799, allowing the town to flourish With the addition of the railroad and a small liberal arts college that would one day become Ursinus College, Collegeville Borough began to take shape as the small college town it is today Over the decades the railroad disappeared but development in and around the Borough continued and accelerated Today the Borough has a population of just over 5,000 residents and supports 2,246 jobs located within the municipality Collegeville has emerged as a dense, walkable community built around a traditional main street and bolstered by Ursinus College, its largest employer.
Collegeville, like all of Pennsylvania, was originally part of a grant made to William Penn by Charles II of England in 1682. Penn designated the area which is now the Borough as the Gilbert tract. This tract also included the present townships of Upper Providence and Lower Providence and parts of Perkiomen and Worcester. The first family of settlers was the Lane family. In 1689, Edward Lane constructed a house that has been enlarged and remodeled into the Perkiomen Bridge Hotel, a major landmark in the region. The hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as is the nearby bridge.
In 1708, Edward Lane constructed the first mill on the Perkiomen Creek. It was located near the site of the old Collegeville Dam. This mill, which survived until 1972, was a major element in the early settlement of Collegeville. However, it was not until 1799, with the construction of the Perkiomen Bridge, that settlement began in earnest. It was located along the banks of the creek and soon developed into a village known as Perkiomen Bridge.
By the mid-nineteenth century another village, called Freeland, was founded. About one-half mile to the west of the older village, it was clustered along Main Street, while the village of Perkiomen Bridge continued in its location near the creek. Collegeville began to take on its present form after 1868 when the railroad arrived. The two villages had vied for both the location and name of the train station. The railroad settled the matter with a compromise. The station was placed between the two villages and named Collegeville, after the nearby Pennsylvania Female College. As the two villages began to grow together and with the founding in 1869 of Ursinus College, Collegeville became the accepted name. The present Borough of Collegeville was incorporated in 1896 when it was formally separated from Upper Providence Township.
Collegeville Borough is a small college town in the heart of a rapidly developing section of Montgomery County. Its location has put enormous development pressure on the Borough and what was once farmland is now residential development and shopping centers. However, it enjoys a position of importance in the region as the downtown center of the central and lower Perkiomen Valley. Because of the presence of Ursinus College, as well as its Main Street and proximity to natural features, Collegeville has cultural, educational, and economic advantages that many of its neighbors do not.
Transportation has always played a vital role in the development of the Borough. Construction of the stone arch bridge across the Perkiomen Creek in 1799 and the arrival of the railroad in 1868 enabled Collegeville to become the prosperous college town that it is today. The railroad is gone, but the Borough's location at the crossroads of two regionally significant roadways that cross Montgomery County, Route 29 and Ridge Pike, mean that the Borough is still an important destination in the region.
Ridge Pike extends west through Limerick Township to Pottstown and east through Norristown and on to Philadelphia. Route 29 travels north through Perkiomen Township to the northwest corner of Montgomery County and south to Route 422 and on to Phoenixville Borough. Route 422 provides access to Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Turnpike to the east and Pottstown as well as Reading farther to the west. This means Collegeville has easy access to all the cultural, political, and economic advantages of Philadelphia, King of Prussia, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, Reading, and Norristown. Further, because of the crossroads and its location in the center of Montgomery County, the Borough can be seen as a gateway to western Montgomery County.
Collegeville is flanked by the Perkiomen Creek, the Borough's most significant natural feature. This creek on the Borough's eastern border is part of a vast watershed that extends far beyond the Montgomery County. Following along the creek, the Perkiomen Trail is a great new addition to the Borough that extends from Oaks to Green Lane. It allows access to Valley Forge National Historic Park, the county's Norristown Farm Park, and the Upper Perkiomen Valley/Green Lane Reservoir Park. The Perkiomen Creek and Trail are phenomenal amenities that have contributed greatly to Collegeville's current success and will figure prominently in its future revitalization.
† Collegeville Borough Municipal Sustainability Plan, updated 2012, www.collegeville-pa.gov, accessed January, 2021.
Nearby Towns: East Pikeland Twp • Limerick Twp • Lower Frederick Twp • Lower Providence Twp • Lower Salford Twp • Perkiomen Twp • Phoenixville Boro • Schuylkill Twp • Schwenksville Boro • Skippack Twp • Spring City Boro • Trappe Boro • Upper Providence Twp • West Norriton Twp •