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Did You Know Sellersville is 275 Years Old?

This blog highlights the archives of the Sellersville Museum and will keep you up to date with the events for the 275th Anniversary of Sellersville, Pa.

  What do you know about Sellersville?

My wife and I bought a house in Sellersville in February of 2012. It was a crazy time, as anyone who goes through house buying and selling knows. We chose Sellersville because it served the purpose for us. It was affordable, walkable (a little steep), and in a few minutes... you could be in the middle of nowhere. In other words, perfect as anything could be.

When we first moved, we were impressed by the quietness and friendliness of the people who are our new neighbors. Oh no, don't get me wrong, the people of Lansdale are fine people and good Americans. I used to sit back and crack open many Coors 16 ouncers on my stoop back in the day. But something was different ...

I feel different living here. Relaxed. Maybe that was it... it was something. I am sure moving from a small row home on Shaw Ave to a single house in Sellersville would do that to anyone.

Life went on as it tends to do and before I knew it, I was looking for some extra work to make some money for the holidays. I wound up working in one of the oldest buildings in the town. As I toured the building on my first day, I couldn't help but marvel at the wood floors and the remnants of the previous layouts of the warehouse.

"What was this place before?" I asked my fellow employees. No one really knew.

That was a problem.

I couldn't get a decent answer.

I chose to go to the best resource anyone uses. Google, followed by a vast Ebay search which turned up a postcard circa 1906. The building was originally a cigar manufacturer. Awesome.

This was really to give myself a piece of mind. I was worried about upsetting my Sellersville relaxed vibe. At any rate, I began to get obsessed about the images on these postcards from the turn of the last Century. A man named Berkemeyer printed postcards in town with the photos from Ziegler, a photographer from Souderton.

Why were these images important? I wanted to find out what the inspiration was. 100+ years ago film was not cheap.

I was riding my bike through Sellersville and snapping pictures of the same scenes that were done over 100 years ago.

I wanted to purchase every last one of these postcards and figure out why these images were chosen and what they looked like now.

If I chose to purchase all of these images it would have taken all of my holiday money. I really didn't like the idea of working an extra job for a postcard an hour. I went to the Sellersville Museum and volunteered my time to help in anyway I could so I didn't wind up in debt for my hobby.

I was welcomed and began working every Tuesday and attending the Historical Authority meetings. During the meeting, I was asked if I was interested in joining the Museum as a Borough appointed Authority Member.

I submitted my interest and the next time the Borough Council met, I was unanimously appointed to the Authority.

I am a member of the Historical Authority and it's Sellersville's 275th Anniversary. In other words ... it's on everyone ... let's party.

I am here for the long haul. Lifetime. That gives me lots of time to find out every single thing about my new town and I am very excited to make this a part of my life. There are many stories to be told and fascinating tidbits of history that have come through our scenic Borough.

Through this blog, I will let you in on the interesting, intriguing, scary, and other unique experiences from the vast treasures of the Sellersville Museum. I urge you to check it out if you are in town. It's free and is the best history museum Sellersville has.

Please email me with any/all questions you may have. BRox@sellersvillemuseum.org and Like us at facebook.com/SellersvilleMuseum

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Joe January 25, 2013 at 11:28 PM
Maybe. Not sure what it is called. They moved the downtown area further northwest of the Perkiomen Creek, buildings and all. They then realigned the streets southeast of the creek to create an open area for what appears to be uranium mining. Is that what the "Main Street" realignment refers to?
Joe January 25, 2013 at 11:38 PM
This thread provides a few more details: http://www.topix.com/forum/city/quakertown-pa/TPEQLOCLMKDU9C174
Brian Rox January 26, 2013 at 02:00 PM
Joe, I will cover the Main Street realignment completely in a future blog post. Main Street ran over the RR Tracks in the early part of last century a bridge was built so Main Street took a detour from it's current position. That link only mentions, "The "shifting" of the entire town of Sellersville away from this tract of land in the 1930s, with the borough having pushed out the boundary of the town by the dimensions of this exact parcel, and literally realigning/reconfiguring all streets away from this location (i.e. NE, NW, SE, SW, with this tract as the epicenter)." This was in an email to the EPA which went unanswered. Sellersville has had traffic issues to deal with and has taken different approaches as the Main Street is also Old Bethlehem Pike (309). I would love to find out more information about the entire town being moved. Thanks for bringing it up. Feel free to contact me via email or through this blog.
Tony Di Domizio (Editor) January 26, 2013 at 03:10 PM
Brian - Great blog and discourse! I look forward to many more blog posts to be shared with most of Montgomery County!
GMB January 26, 2013 at 09:09 PM
Look forward to reading about it, Brian. Honestly though, I'm not too confident you will be provided with much honest or accurate information. It's all a part of Sellersville's history that has remained off the books. I can't imagine they will want it added now. There is an overwhelming resistance to discussing anything related to this issue there. Here are some pics should you be interested. I would love to get some additional input if possible. Sellersville circa 1913: http://s2.postimage.org/6p1wfbjnd/image.jpg Doylestown Road (before being renamed "Diamond Street") was shifted southwest. It appears that the old Doylestown Road would have been the equivalent in placement of Hughes Avenue today, and the old Main Street would have connected accordingly. From the picture, you can see the downtown area on the far left. This is where Lake Lenape Park is today. The town was moved northwest of that location to make room for the widening of the creek and for its subsequent damming and creation of Lake Lenape.
GMB January 26, 2013 at 09:16 PM
In addition to the shifting of Doylestown Road and Main Street, Branch Road was shifted southeast, and the town again was moved northwest. After the uranium mill and factory were torn down and the radioactive waste was buried, the homes that stood on tracts #1 and #2 in the following pic were demolished and rebuilt in accordance with the street realignment. The borough line was also pushed out in a northeastern direction, and it appears that land ownership was pushed back in the Perkasie area. Tracts #3 and #4 seemed to represent the "new" #1 and #2: http://s2.postimage.org/5ba9k0ke1/image.jpg You can see in this picture from the early 1930s that the homes labeled A thru C on the far left are mirror images of the newer A thru C homes on the right, down to the exact tree size and placement. The homes on the left were then demolished, which happened for all structures that were located on the tracts as noted above: http://s2.postimage.org/i04k3oqih/image.jpg For numerous reasons, this part of the town's history should be known. Good or bad, it happened. Residents deserve to know the truth. Thanks for the blog, and for your interest in the community.
Brian Rox January 26, 2013 at 10:31 PM
Thanks for all the info. I would love to talk much more about this. If you are scared of any Government interference my personal email is schwarox@gmail.com I am willing to meet and discuss and research anything you have a concern about.
Brian Rox January 26, 2013 at 11:50 PM
The pictures of the houses with the letters, can you give me an idea of where that would be in your description? The numbered tracts... where does that take place?
GMB January 27, 2013 at 01:19 AM
Brian, The lettered homes would have been on the perimeter of tract #1 along/off of Diamond Street, having been rebuilt on Fairview Ave. The numbered tracts are representative of the area in the below picture, basically the land in Sellersville/Perkasie bound by Diamond Street, Branch Road, Walnut Street, and Park/Constitution Avenue. http://s11.postimage.org/pvxpgmj9f/image.jpg I would like to discuss further as well. I will reach out via email. Feel free to ask any questions you have in the meantime. The 67 posts in the above-listed topix thread should also be helpful. Thanks again.
Brian Rox January 27, 2013 at 02:52 PM
I ask more when you get in contact.
Brian Rox February 20, 2013 at 09:11 PM
No one has contacted me :(
Ax318960 June 01, 2013 at 07:45 PM
Aerial photographs of the Wyckford Commons tract (subdivision of single homes, townhomes, and condos referenced in the "Ametek U.S. Gauge" post on the Topix board referenced in the above comments) are blacked out from 1955 through 1957 during the construction of the American Machine and Metals (AMETEK) plant at 900 Clymer Ave. in Sellersville. http://s23.postimg.org/7p9zbxphn/image.jpg This question has been posted numerous times to the "Ametek U.S. Gauge" thread on both the Sellersville and Quakertown Topix boards but was removed almost immediately: http://s16.postimg.org/mmsh7q41x/image.jpg http://s16.postimg.org/am716zwn9/image.jpg It was also removed from this discussion thread: http://lansdale.patch.com/blog_posts/did-you-know-sellersville-is-275-years-old Would like some answers as to the reasons for this.
Brian Rox June 02, 2013 at 12:11 PM
http://s2.postimg.org/5ba9k0ke1/image.jpg isn't this that image? It hasn't been removed.
Come on June 02, 2013 at 04:24 PM
No, that image was from 1938. And a post was removed previously, not a picture. There are no images available to have posted for the years stated above. That's the issue here.
Brian Rox June 03, 2013 at 05:18 PM
I haven't removed anything from this comment thread.
Unreal June 03, 2013 at 05:32 PM
Well Brian, someone did.
Brian Rox June 03, 2013 at 05:46 PM
What would a picture in that time frame be exposing?
Unreal Again June 03, 2013 at 06:29 PM
A collection of Normal Rockwell paintings buried underneath those homes, depicting the picture-perfect small town America that Sellersville embodies. I've been trying to get my hands on one for quite some time now.
Brian Rox June 03, 2013 at 06:34 PM
You should have gone with Baum paintings.... that would have made more sense.
And Again June 03, 2013 at 07:20 PM
I didn't think people would be as interested in Baum's work. Oh...I gotcha. Yes, then it would have.
GMB June 04, 2013 at 12:26 AM
Brian, since this thread is active again, and since I never heard back from you, I am curious as to any feedback from your Sellersville historian contacts on the below pics emailed to you in March showing the realignment of downtown Sellersville and the repositioning of roads away from the Wyckford tract as described in the first few posts above. http://s8.postimg.org/olsrpr279/image.jpg http://s8.postimg.org/s98ivtaed/image.jpg http://s8.postimg.org/dnhi7kdlx/image.jpg http://s8.postimg.org/auoanjd9h/image.jpg Thanks again.
Brian Rox June 04, 2013 at 03:25 PM
I am still on the hunt for anything credible on the claims of the movement of the town. If anything credible is found, I will post it.
GMB June 04, 2013 at 04:23 PM
It wasn't the entire town...just certain streets and buildings (although a decent portion of ground was affected in the vacinity of Lake Lenape). I should have phrased it differently in my 1/26 post. In any case, the bigger issue is what occurred in the southeastern portion of the borough, which you won't find in any history books or museum displays. I have, however, found the information I was looking for since my initial posting and email. I was just curious what (if anything) you were advised of on your end since I never heard back from you. Either way, thanks again for the time.
Brian Rox June 04, 2013 at 05:03 PM
I have been trying to find a shred of credibility (beyond 1930's version of photoshop) about buildings being moved in the borough. If I do find anything, I will share.
GMB June 04, 2013 at 09:48 PM
Maybe they weren't "moved." I didn't mean to imply that was the definitive and only case. Maybe certain buildings that were on the western side of a given street found themselves on the eastern side of a new street. And maybe some were demolished and rebuilt. Others could have been just demolished. See how they handled the "Main Street Realignment." That will be your answer. And my apologies for the "1930's version of photoshop" quality of my overlay. It was a cell phone picture of a hardcopy print-out. That's all I had available to send to you at the time, which I explained in my email. It's one of three versions that were superimposed, all of which yielded the same results (regardless of quality). I'm always open to another interpretation, or some constructive feedback. I don't rely solely on the words of any specific group or entity--spoken, written, or put on display. I also don't rely solely on the absence of any, either. But I guess we all find our "shreds of credibility" in different places. Thanks again for the time.
Brian Rox June 04, 2013 at 10:27 PM
"You can see in this picture from the early 1930s that the homes labeled A thru C on the far left are mirror images of the newer A thru C homes on the right, down to the exact tree size and placement. The homes on the left were then demolished, which happened for all structures that were located on the tracts as noted above: http://s2.postimage.org/i04k3oqih/image.jpg" - GMB This is the "1930's photoshop" I am pointing out. That picture is fake. That is a fine example of engineers with too much time on their hands. The homes were not demolished, they never existed in the "former locations". That picture is fake. The overlay is simply that. Drawn maps from older time periods versus Google can yield shockingly different results. The main street realignment occurred, there are pictures of that and a bridge which still exists to this day. That was done to help traffic (trains , people and cars.)
GMB June 05, 2013 at 05:16 AM
1. That picture you reference was straight out of a monthly employee publication printed and distributed by the United States Gauge Company circa 1936. The entire collection of said publications is on file at the Mercer Museum Library in Doylestown. I read every one...cover to cover. I also happened to purchase the issue containing this "fake" picture from a collector on eBay. I will gladly send you a copy of the entire booklet. I have no idea why you think corporate "engineers" would make bogus pictures just for the hell of it and send them out in employee publications. If anything, they would crop the houses out...not add them in. And while I don't put anything past U.S. Gauge, I am completely lost by your rationale here. 2. Drawn maps vs. Google maps are not the only comparisons that confirm the "realignments" that took place. 3. Never said it didn't. Yes...trains, people, and cars. That's it. You sure you weren't born in Sellersville? Either that or you have been drinking a lot of their municipal Kool-Aid. Just make sure it's not made using their groundwater. You know, I bet bored NY Times and EWG employees photoshopped all these TCE violations onto this chart before their 2010 study exposed Sellersville as the 5th worst water supplier in the nation for said contamination: http://www.ewg.org/tap-water/whatsinyourwater/PA/Sellersville-Boro-Water-Works/1090062/
GMB June 05, 2013 at 05:16 AM
I mean...they must have photoshopped it, right? Because these violations certainly never appeared anywhere in Sellersville's annual consumer disclosures. There must have been lots of photoshopping involving SBWW...right along side of all that "naturally-occurring" arsenic. I'd be more than happy to continue this discussion, online or offline. I will lay out every last piece of information I have for your in-depth (and intriguing) review and assessment. I'm sure there will be a lot of shady photoshoppers uncovered from all walks of life. Email me your address and I will send you the publication copy as referenced above.
Brian Rox June 05, 2013 at 01:08 PM
I have been trying to address you in calm manor. Please do not suggest I am part of something "kool aid" related. One issue at a time please. The town being moved. I will address the image from the guage. Yes, that is a real picture from the US GUAGE. Yes, I believe people were bored in the '30's as they are today. Look at "B" in that photo. on the left the house is not complete. As far as the water etc. I know the water has problems. NPWA is in charge of that. As far as the town being shifted and buildings being moved, if I find anything credible. I will post it.
GMB June 05, 2013 at 03:10 PM
If anything was edited in/out on that pic, it was whatever is to the right of that house. Probably a pile of rubble from its partial demolition. This is a ridiculous--and useless--debate. It is, however, consistent with how things are handled there. "Land of the Free, Home of the Gauge." Put that on your 275th Anniversary banner. No other description (fit for public display) could be more appropriate. I'm bored. I'm going to go photoshop some houses onto pictures.

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