Situated at the meeting of the French Creek and the Schuylkill River, Phoenixville has one of the longest histories of any area of Pennsylvania. Incorporated in 1849, Phoenixville derives its name from Lewis Wernwag, who bought the French Creek Nail Works in 1813—the first nail factory in the United States. Noticing the fiery, red-hot iron, he commented that the heat reminded him of a “Phoenix”, the mythical bird that dies and then rises from its own ashes. This resurrection and revitalization is incredibly appropriate for the 400+ year history of Phoenixville, and this theme continues to be celebrated today as this community grows and evolves.
The borough of Phoenixville actually evolved from a village called Manavon in the late 1600’s. Early development centered on the area’s grist mills, but iron eventually became the focus of Phoenixville’s large expansion. By the late 1840’s, Wernwag’s company, Phoenix Iron Works, became a huge producer of pig iron, wrought iron, and associated products. The iron produced from his company was used for the Pennsylvania railroad and other large railroad lines. The puddle iron produced here was used for hundreds of large buildings, including the Eiffel Tower, while the wrought iron was used for fencing and other decorative products.
The iron produced by Phoenix Iron Works was also used for the cannon, which was introduced by the United States Army during the Civil War. Perhaps the most-famous item produced by this innovative, historic company was the Griffin Gun—an important artillery weapon that helped the Union win the Civil War.
The Phoenix Iron Company was later renamed the Phoenix Iron and Steel Company, and later it was again changed to the Phoenix Steel Corporation. They employed over 2,500 workers in both World Wars. Sadly, competition from domestic and foreign competitors, along with the development of aluminum and reinforced concrete products, led to the closing of the Phoenix Steel Corporation during the 1970’s. This closure, along with the effects of other manufacturing firms that closed during that era, led to Phoenixville experiencing some difficult economic times.
However, just like the mythical bird that it was named for, Phoenixville experienced a rebirth.
The suburban growth of Philadelphia revitalized the town, and it is now growing and prospering with a population of 16,243—an increase of 12% from the last census! In fact, since 2004, Phoenixville has celebrated its rebirth annually with the bonfire-burning of a large wooden phoenix. This bonfire, held at the Firebird Festival, is used to harden clay birds crafted over the preceding weeks, and it draws thousands of residents and visitors to the event every year to celebrate the incredible history and rebirth of the Phoenixville legacy.
Just as the borough of Phoenixville has risen from its humble roots as an iron-producing town to the thriving, historic region it is today, O’Brien’s Moving & Storage has continued to evolve with the area to provide the best in professional moving services. Since 1947, we’ve been a quality Phoenixville mover offering everything from streamlined local moving services to large-scale, cross-country relocation solutions, and we do it all by embracing the spirit of community that makes this region such a wonderful place to live!
If you’re planning on making a move in the area, there’s no better choice than the Phoenixville movers at O’Brien’s Moving & Storage to handle all the details. You can learn more about what we offer by giving us a call today, or request a free moving quote now by filling out our online form!
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