Category: Phoenixville

Lock 60

Lock 60, in Mont Clare, was one of 71 locks in operation along the Schuylkill Navigation System. It was built and expanded in the first half of the 19th century. Lock 60 is at the upper end of a 3 1/2-mile canal historically known as Oaks Reach. It was here that boats entered or exited the canal from the slackwater pool created behind the Black Rock Dam, about one-mile upstream from Lock 60.

The 108-mile-long Schuylkill Navigation System was not a continuous canal, but 23 short canals connected by river passage in slack water dam pools. The navigation system was built to transport people and consumable goods from the northeast regions of Pennsylvania to the port of Philadelphia. Once anthracite coal was discovered to be the most efficient form of energy to fire furnaces and operate mills, the navigation system became a critical transportation route fueling our nation’s Industrial Revolution.

Historic Reeves’ Park

Historic Reeves’ Park has been Phoenixville’s public square since 1872. The land, located between 3rd and 4th Avenues, and Starr and Main Streets, was the gift of David Reeves, President of the Phoenix Iron Company. The park has always played an important role in the life of the borough. Its band shell, which was restored using period postcards from 1908, has been the scene of many concerts and gatherings. The famous Griffen Cannon produced by the Phoenix Iron Company and utilized throughout the Civil War, remains proudly on display on the park grounds. The Dogwood Festival enlivens the park each May with amusements, rides, and food. A children’s playground is the park’s most modern adornment.

The Historical Society of the Phoenixville Area

Founded in 1977, the Historical Society of the Phoenixville Area promotes the rich heritage of the Phoenixville community and is a repository for artifacts, documents and photographs of that heritage. Located in the former Central Lutheran Church (1872) at Church and Main Streets in Phoenixville, the society operates a museum and research library. Among permanent exhibits are Native American artifacts, early maps and pictures of the area, boat models and other artifacts related to the Schuylkill Canal, Etruscan Majolica pottery made in Phoenixville in the late 19th Century, and an extensive exhibit tracing the growth of the iron and steel industry in Phoenixville. The research library contains books, documents and photographs related to the history of people, places, organizations and businesses in the community. The Museum and Library are open to the public Wednesdays and Fridays, 9 AM to 3 PM, the first Sunday of the month, 1 to 4 PM, and also by appointment.

The Phoenixville Mural

The Phoenixville Mural, located at the corner of Bridge and Main Streets, was created in 1994, by Michael Webb and Meg Fish Seligman. The artists met with area residents who shared their stories and their interests, helping to decide what the imagery presented on the mural should be. The mural design reflects Phoenixville’s iron and steel history and its location on the Schuylkill River. It was the first major revitalization project undertaken for the Borough by the Phoenixville Area Economic Development Corporation. A bronze plaque explains the images shown on the mural wall.

The Colonial Theatre

The Colonial Theatre, built in 1903 as a Vaudeville House, is owned and operated by the Association for the Colonial Theatre (ACT), a nonprofit corporation. ACT is committed to the full restoration of the Colonial as a cultural arts center. The Colonial is open, and shows art and independent film as well as a Sunday classic film series and children’s programs. It also presents live theatre, music, dance and other community events in the heart of Phoenixville’s historic business district.

Art and independent films run seven nights a week. Classic films are on Sunday at 2 p.m. with Children’s Series on Saturdays at 2 p.m. Matinees are on Wednesday at 2 p.m. A special baby night – bring them along – is Monday at 6:30 p.m.

Black Rock Sanctuary

The Black Rock Sanctuary is located on Route 113 north of Phoenixville. It consists of 119 acres of wetlands, woodlands and meadows dedicated to wildlife habitat and public use. A bird sanctuary, this site becomes an outdoor classroom highlighting the breeding and nestling habitat of rare and endangered migratory water fowl.

The Black Rock Sanctuary is located on the Atlantic Coast fly-way for migration stop-bys due to its pond, river and other natural attractions. What once was a coal-silted area, this has become an important nature center hidden in a safe location. Displays highlight the self-guided interpretive trail.

The sanctuary is open daily from 8 a.m. to the posted sunset time. Check the website for the park newsletter to see a map of the area as well as planned programs and events.