Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
Bridge Street in Phoenixville
Bridge Street in Phoenixville
Location of Phoenixville in Chester County and the state of Pennsylvania
Location of Phoenixville in Chester County and the state of Pennsylvania
Phoenixville is located in Pennsylvania
Location in Pennsylvania
Phoenixville is located in the United States
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 40°07′51″N 75°31′09″W / 40.13083°N 75.51917°W / 40.13083; -75.51917
CountryUnited States
 • MayorPeter Urscheler[1]
 • Total3.72 sq mi (9.63 km2)
 • Land3.51 sq mi (9.09 km2)
 • Water0.21 sq mi (0.54 km2)
138 ft (42 m)
 • Total18,602
 • Density5,299.7/sq mi (2,046.2/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Code
Area code(s)610/484
FIPS code42-60120

Phoenixville is a borough in Chester County, Pennsylvania, United States. It is located 28 miles (45 km) northwest of Philadelphia at the junction of French Creek and the Schuylkill River. It is in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. According to a 2021 estimate, the population was 19,029.[4] As noted by Forbes, Phoenixville is a former beaten-down mill town with a recent downtown revitalization plan that led to 10 craft breweries, a distillery, and winery tasting rooms.[5]


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Originally called Manavon, Phoenixville was settled in 1732 and incorporated as a borough in 1849. In its industrial heyday early in the twentieth century, it was an important manufacturing center and the site of great iron and steel mills such as the Phoenix Iron Works, boiler works, silk mill, underwear and hosiery factories, a match factory, and the famous (and now highly collectible) Etruscan majolica pottery. Like many American towns and cities, Phoenixville owes its growth to its waterways. It is not only on the broad Schuylkill River, a historic thoroughfare to Native Americans and early settlers, it is also bisected by the fast-flowing French Creek, which was quickly harnessed for water power.

Much of this history was recognized by the creation of the Phoenixville Historic District, the largest National Register of Historic Places site in Chester County. The Black Rock Bridge, Gay Street School, and Schuylkill Navigation Canal, Oakes Reach Section are also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[6]

The Phoenixville Historical Society has a rotating display of historical artifacts in its museum.[7]


The first nail factory in the U.S., the French Creek Nail Works, was established in Phoenixville (then called Manavon) in 1790. In 1813, a bridge builder, Lewis Wernwag, became part owner and renamed it the Phoenix Iron Works. In 1840, new owners added a blast furnace. In 1855, a new group of owners incorporated as the Phoenix Iron Co. When the borough was incorporated in 1849, it incorporated the name of its major employer. After several ownership changes, the plant was shut down in 1949 and later acquired by the Barium Steel Corp. and renamed the Phoenix Iron & Steel Company, later The Phoenix Steel Corporation. The entire plant was shut down for the last time in 1987.[8]



Phoenix Iron Works foundry building
Phoenix Iron Works foundry building
Church and Main streets
Church and Main streets
Main Street
Main Street
Burning of the Phoenix
Burning of the Phoenix

Phoenixville has a diverse local economy that largely includes many local artisans and restaurants. Among the local hotspots are Steel City and the Colonial Theater,[15] two establishments that survived both the economic downturn and Phoenixville's recent revitalization.

While the plans for an economic revitalization began back in 2001, it was not until 2009 that first brewpub opened in Phoenixville. That brewpub was Iron Hill Brewery. Molly Maguire's Pub, both located on Bridge Street.[16] Customers Bank, the nation's fourth-best community bank for return on equity in 2011, according to the American Bankers Association, is headquartered in downtown Phoenixville.[17]

One impact of economic revitalization has been the increase in the cost for residents living in Phoenixville[18] which was partially the result of increased demand for housing caused by the growth of local restaurants, breweries and boutiques in town. Community leaders, the Phoenixville Borough Council, along with two consecutive mayors, saw the need to create an Affordable Housing Task Force to study what personal financial issues existed in the community, as well as to propose solutions to any housing issues they uncovered.

That task force later became the Affordable Housing Council of Phoenixville. The council's website states: "In Chester County, we recognized that the community was changing and Phoenixville needed to keep pace with the evolving demographics of its wonderful town. Our community saw an increase in homelessness as well as limited housing options for families and seniors/individuals with a limited income. Several of the local community leaders took it upon themselves to research the issue and gained the support from the Borough of Phoenixville to create a task force. The focus of the task force is to create affordable housing options for families and seniors/individuals with a fixed income."

In 2017, several community leaders and residents voiced support[19] for the approval of Steel Town Village which was an affordable housing community, as well as the general need for affordable housing throughout the borough. Some opposed the project, but borough council approved the project.

Geography and climate

The record high in Pennsylvania was recorded in Phoenixville, on July 9–10, 1936, at 111°F. [23]

Climate data for Phoenixville 1 E, Pennsylvania (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1893–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 77
Average high °F (°C) 41.0
Daily mean °F (°C) 31.9
Average low °F (°C) 22.8
Record low °F (°C) −19
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.15
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 9.3 8.7 9.8 10.3 9.8 9.3 9.8 8.4 7.5 8.1 7.7 10.2 108.9
Source: NOAA[24][25]

Adjacent municipalities


PA 23 westbound and PA 113 southbound in Phoenixville
PA 23 westbound and PA 113 southbound in Phoenixville

As of 2019, there were 53.89 miles (86.73 km) of public roads in Phoenixville, of which 7.10 miles (11.43 km) were maintained by Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and 46.79 miles (75.30 km) were maintained by the borough.[26]

Phoenixville is served by three state highways: Pennsylvania Route 23, Pennsylvania Route 29, and Pennsylvania Route 113. PA 23 follows a northwest-to-southeast alingment through western and southern sections of the borough via Nutt Road. PA 29 follows a southwest-to-northeast alignment through southern and eastern sections of the borough via Main Street, Manavon Street, Starr Street and Bridge Street. Finally, PA 113 follows a similar alignment through western and northern parts of the borough via Kimberton Road, Nutt Road, Bridge Street, Franklin Avenue, Emmett Street, Dayton Street, Franklin Street and Black Rock Road. PA 23 and PA 113 share a short concurrency in the western portion of the borough.

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Phoenixville is currently served by SEPTA's Route 99 bus, which connects with the Manayunk/Norristown Line Regional rail service at the Norristown Transportation Center, and the Route 139 bus, which connects the King of Prussia mall with Limerick.

Several major railroads once served Phoenixville. The main line of the Reading Company entered the east side of town via a station above Bridge Street. The line passes under the north side of town in the Black Rock Tunnel, the third railroad tunnel constructed in the United States. Regular commuter trains last stopped at the Phoenixville Station in 1981, when SEPTA ceased operating non-electrified commuter lines. Norfolk Southern Railway (NS) currently utilizes the busy line on a daily basis as part of its Harrisburg Line. Phoenixville was also the place where the Pickering Valley Railroad joined the Reading. The Pickering Valley was operated as a subsidiary of the Reading until 1906, when it was merged into the Reading,[27] and became the Pickering Valley Branch of that railroad.[28] The branch was closed in the late 20th century, and most of the track has been removed.[29]

The Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) Schuylkill Branch also served Phoenixville. The line enters town crossing the Schuylkill River from neighboring Mont Clare on a high bridge, north of French Creek. The line passes along the north side of the former Phoenix Iron Works site. The station on Vanderslice Street, west of Gay Street, no longer exists. Past the Works, the line splits. The main fork passed through the now abandoned Phoenixville Tunnel, which partially collapsed in the 1990s, and continued toward Reading. The other fork continued along the Pickering Creek Valley and used to connect with the Main Line at Paoli. A section of the line remains in place, and is currently known as the Phoenixville Industrial track (also owned by NS). Passenger service ended in 1928 and regular freight service on the line ceased in 2004. During the 2008 replacement of the Gay Street Bridge, the line was severed at its crossing of Main Street and that rail bridge raised a few feet to allow emergency vehicles to reach the north side of town.

Interest to resume passenger rail service was spurred by the Schuylkill Valley Metro (SVM) project, which was rejected by Federal Transit Administration in 2006. Another project, called the Greenline, has since been proposed an alternative to the SVM. It would utilize the Phoenixville Industrial track, to give Phoenixville a rail link to Philadelphia via Paoli and the Paoli/Thorndale Line of regional rail. The effort to resume passenger train service has led to the creation of the group Citizens for the Train.


Phoenixville Borough Hall
Phoenixville Borough Hall

Phoenixville is governed by a mayor and by eight council members, two for each of four wards: Middle, East, North, and West. Each ward is further divided into three numbered election precincts. The precincts do not have government representatives.

Borough Council meets on the second Tuesday of every month. Police, Personnel, & Public Safety Committee meets first Monday at 6:30pm. Infrastructure Committee meets on the third Tuesday at 7pm (Jan.-June) & 6pm (July-Dec.). Finance Committee meets third Tuesday at 6pm (Jan.-June) & 7pm (July-Dec.). Parks and Recreation Committee meets fourth Tuesday at 6pm. Policy Committee meets fourth Tuesday at 7pm.

The current Mayor of Phoenixville is Peter Urscheler. The 2021 mayoral election results:

          Peter Urscheler (Dem/Rep)   .  .     3,222   94.21%
          Write-In Totals .  .  .  .  .  .        99    2.89%
          Not Assigned .  .  .  .  .  .  .        99    2.89%

Borough Council members are: East Ward - Jeremy Dalton, and Cathy Doherty. Middle Ward: Michael Kuznar (beginning January, 2018, Beth Burckley), and Jonathan Ewald. North Ward: Edwin Soto, Christopher Bauers (beginning January, 2018, Rich Kirkner). West Ward: James C. Kovaleski - President. Dana Dugan - Vice-President.

Phoenixville is in Pennsylvania's 6th federal Congressional District (represented by Chrissy Houlahan), there are two districts in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, the 157th State House of Representatives District (represented by Melissa Shusterman), the 155th State House of Representatives District (represented by Danielle Friel Otten), and in the state senate 19th State Senatorial District (represented by Andy Dinniman).


Public school

Phoenixville is served by the Phoenixville Area School District, which has three elementary schools, a middle school and a high school. High school students can choose to attend the Technical College High School Pickering Campus for specific hands-on training in particular fields of study.[30] The school district also serves the surrounding municipalities of East Pikeland and Schuylkill Townships.

Private schools

Charter schools

Higher education


Historical population
2021 (est.)19,029[4]2.3%

As of the census of 2010, there were 16,440 people, 7,590 households.[36] There were 6,793 housing units at an average density of 1,892.6/sq mi (730.6/km2).

The racial makeup of the borough was 78.0% White, 8.6% African American, 0.2% American Indian, 3.5% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 2.6% two or more races, and Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.4% of the population.[37]

The borough's age demographics were 6.3% under the age of 5, 79.9% (12,822) from 18 to 65, and 11.6% (1,870) from 65 and older. The median age was 37.90 years, 52.6% (8,448) are females, and 47.4% (7,606) are males. The median income for a household in the borough was $56,704, and the median income for a family was $71,005.[38]


Phoenixville is home to 34 designated places of worship of several different religions.[39]

42.5% of residents are Catholic, 36.7% reported none, 12.2% Mainline Protestant, 6.3% Evangelical Protestant, 1.2% other, 0.9% Black Protestant, 0.1% Orthodox.[40]

Notable people





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  5. ^ Stoller, Gary. "This Town May Be Small, But Its Craft Beers Have Quite A Buzz". Forbes. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
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  7. ^ "Museum".
  8. ^ "Phoenix Steel Corporation Records, 1827-1963 (bulk 1856-1949)". Retrieved July 21, 2011.
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  17. ^ ABA Banking Journal Ranks Customers Bank Fourth Among Community Banks in the USA, archived from the original on March 24, 2012
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  19. ^ "Minutes". Phoenixville Borough Council. March 15, 2007.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
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