History of Borough


William Penn deeded the land, which is now Pottstown and the surrounding area, to his son John in 1701. As early as 1714 the first iron forge was built. Among the early settlers were Germans, Swedes, and English. By the 1720's, the first blast furnace was in operation for the production of cast iron and wrought iron. In 1732, the first steel furnace was in production in the Pottstown area.

The Potts family, who were iron masters, moved to this area and established a forge here. The Potts home was a showplace on a small hill just west of town.

Potts Family

John Potts, the oldest son of Thomas Potts, purchased nine hundred ninety-five acres in the area and in 1752 Pottstown was founded. When the town was first laid out, it stretched from York Street to Charlotte Street and from the Schuylkill River to Beech Street. Before 1800, the village was called Pottsgrove, however, as the population increased, this slowly evolved into Pottstown.

The Borough

On February 6, 1815, this area was incorporated as a Borough, the second Borough formed in the county, Norristown being the first. The first election of town officers was held in April of 1815.

Soon after 1842, the Reading Railroad completed a series of lines from Philadelphia to Mt. Carbon, near Pottsville. Raw materials and coal were moved easily, and markets were more readily accessible. At this time, the population of the Borough was six hundred. Since the first forge, Pottstown has received much recognition in the metal industries. The most significant projects include the locks for the Panama Canal and the Golden Gate Bridge.


In 1847 the town was divided into two wards. By 1850 the population of the borough reached a total of 1,850. As the town grew, new wards were added and old ones were divided. By 1893 the borough had 10 wards represented by 20 councilmen, two from each ward. Borough Council continued to function as one of the largest municipal representative bodies in Pennsylvania. In 1964 the number of wards was reduced to seven, with one councilman representing each ward.

Present Day

In 1944, the Council-Manager form of government was adopted. Administrative responsibility for the operation of the borough was given to a professional Manager. The borough has had 12 managers since the position was created.