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North Wales Borough

North Wales Borough municipal offices are located at 300 School Street, North Wales PA 19454; phone: 215-699-4424.

South 5th Street
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The borough is part of the North Penn School District.

Beginnings [1]

In 1869, North Wales officially became a borough with boundaries then along Pennsylvania Avenue, Beaver Street, Sixth Street, and Summit Street. Part of a 1702 William Penn land grant, this rich farming country was given the name "Gwynedd", Welsh for North Wales, the homeland of the earliest settlers who were mostly Quakers. Germans soon added their heritage to the mix. Before 1850, a cluster of farms, plus a 1776 shared Lutheran and Reformed Church, dotted the present Borough's landscape. Today's Main Street, an old Indian trail, was laid out as the Great Road in 1728.

By 1828, it had become today's Sumneytown Pike, a toll road until 1914, and always an important route to Philadelphia. When the North Penn Railroad extended tracks to the rural settlements north of Philadelphia in the 1850s, "North Wales" became a station stop and prospered. Hotels, services, and businesses flourished, and change was in the air. North Wales benefited from its advantageous location between Philadelphia (20 miles south) and Bethlehem, PA (35 miles north), and became a thriving community.

Farmland fronting a short portion of Sumneytown Pike was gradually sold off for home sites, and many buildings survive. Some of the large homes at the turn of the 20th century catered to summer guests from the city. "Idlewilde", still on Main Street, hosted the Emperor of Brazil, Dom Pedro II, when he was visiting Philadelphia to open the 1876 U.S. Centennial Exhibition with President Ulysses S. Grant.

  1. North Wales Borough Comprehensive Plan Update, 2007,, accessed July 2008
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