Mainstay Inn

History of Phoenixville

  • In the late 1600's Phoenixville was called Manavon and it's population was approximately 400 people. The population was largely made up the Native American Tribe the Lenapes.
  • The first European settlers arrived in 1713.  Around 1730 Moses Coates and James Starr purchased 1,000 acres of land along the French Creek what is now Phoenixville.  The land was purchased from David Lloyd a Chester County Political figure who named Manavon after his birthplace in England.
  • During the French and Indian Wars, the village of Manavon suffered random attacks from Indians. 
  • In 1764 John Longstretch opened a general store at a location that is now Nutt and White Horse Road (now a Rite Aide)
  • During the Revolutionary War the Birtish arrived in Manavon on September 21, 1777 with 14,000 troops and Hessians. 
  • During the Battle of Brandywine in September of 1777 the noises of the canons could be heard in Manavon.
  • It is estimated that approximately 30 men from Phoenixville Area served in the Revolutionary Army. 
  • In 1790 a small nail producing mill was built where the Foundry Building now stands. The Foundry Building was constructed in 1882 by the Phoenix Iron Company. 
  • Lewis Wernwag in 1813 invested in the nail works and renamed it Phoenix Iron Works. By 1830 the then Phoenix Steel Company  was one of the largest nail factories in the US.  A fire in 1848 destoryed the factory and it was never rebuilt. 
  • In the late 1830's the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad came to Phoenixville.  David & Benjamin Reeves and Joseph Whitaker added capital and created the first firm inthe area capable of extensive puddling operations after adding six puddling furnaces. 
  • The Mill employed 147 workers in 1842.
  • In 1848 Phoenixville had 3,337 residents. 
  • In 1856 John Griffen Superintendent of Phoenix Iron Co developed the famous Griffen Gun. The military purchased 1400 between 1861 and 1865.  
  • In 1867 Phoenix Pottery, Kaolin & Fire Brick Company was started by the same men who owned Phoenix Iron Works. 
  • In 1880 the streets were paved and many homes and churches and been built. 
  • In 1882 Phoenix Pottery became Griffen Smith & Hill and began manufacturing Estrucan Majolica Pottery.  
  • Phoenix Iron Works started making steel in 1889.
  • Pennsylvania's Governor in 1903 was Phoenixville's Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker. He oversaw the completion of the new state capital building in Harrisburg. 
  • By the end of WWI Phoenixville had experienced incredible growth.  It had growing manufacturing businesses and retail stores, and 4 movie theatres. The Colonial Theatre is still in operation today. 
  • Phoenix Steel eventually closed and the last heat was November 18, 1976.  
  • In 2009 the population of Phoenixville was 16,643.  

Information from Phoenixville Historical Society Website for more information click here.