Worcester Township was formed in 1733 when twenty-two landowners petitioned the court to form a new township of about 10,000 acres. The above map shows the township as it appeared in 1733.

  • Before 1733, this area was called New Bristol.

  • Worcester’s name is said to come from the Saxon word “caester,” meaning a station or camp.

  • Worcester’s first settlers were English, German, Welsh, and Dutch.

  • German settlers included Mennonites, Schwenkfelders, and German Reformed –- all groups that are still active here today.

Roads appeared as follows:

  • Skippack Pike was laid out in 1713.

  • Morris Road began in 1741

  • Germantown Pike (originally called the Manatawney Road) extended through the township in the eighteenth century.

  • The roads enabled frequent trade with Philadelphia and further growth.

  • Food, shelter and liquor became available for the traveler from a tavern situated near Center Point in the 1760’s.

  • Taverns were gathering places for the numerous affairs of not only the township but also Montgomery County.

  • Center Point got its name because it is the center of Montgomery County.

During the Revolutionary War, Washington’s Army camped in Worcester before and after the Battle of Germantown.

  • Peter Wentz Farmstead is the most well known place where Washington camped locally.

  • After this excitement and danger, the township returned to its agricultural ways.

  • By 1785, Worcester had three gristmills and one saw mill, most powered by the Zacharias Creek.

There are three villages in the township:

  • Center Point, the geographical center of Montgomery County

  • Fairview Village, with its commanding view toward Philadelphia on Fairview Hills

  • Cedars, formerly Cedar Hills, named for the abundance of native cedars growing there

The first school was established in 1739 by Mennonites in their Meeting House located on Quarry Hall Road near Mill Road, site of the present Methacton Mennonite Church. This is also the site of the Methacton Oak, beneath which, tradition has it, many soldiers from the Continental Army lie buried.

  • In 1880 the township was divided into seven school districts: Quarry Hole School in Fairview, which succeeded the Mennonite Church location; Water Street School (1830); Stump Hall School on Valley Forge and Stump Hall Roads; the Bethel Schoolhouse (still part of Bethel Hill United Methodist Church); Metz’s School (1849) on Skippack Pike; Anders School on Shearer Road; and the Cassel School on Potshop Road. More information on these schools can be found in A History of Worcester Township.

Farming has always been central to life in Worcester Township.

  • By 1884, Worcester boasted three livestock dealers, three general stores, and a flour and feed dealer.

  • Local farmers formed the Farmers Union in the 1890s. The organization grew to have a membership of 600 farmers in Montgomery and Bucks Counties. Worcester members built Farmers Union Hall in the village of Center Point, now the home of the Worcester Historical Society.

  • Worcester Township farms were known for their wheat, dairy, eggs, poultry, and potatoes.

  • In 1954, a Worcester farmer was fined by the U.S. government for growing more than his allotment of wheat, even though he needed all of the wheat he grew to feed his chickens, in order to run his poultry and egg farm!

  • Today Worcester boasts the only certified organic farm in Montgomery County (Willow Creek Orchard) plus two Pennsylvania Century Farms — the former Heebner Farm, now Willow Creek Orchard, and Merrymead Farm — as well as many smaller farms.

Here are some interesting aspects of life in Worcester Township over the past 275 years:

  • There were numerous mills along the Zacharias Creek which produced grain, flax seed oil, and lumber

  • Until 1771, there were no bridges in Worcester Township. Streams were crossed at shallow fords, and roads might follow a stream for a distance until a suitable place was reached to ford the stream.

  • Several important political conventions were held in Worcester in the 1790s because of its central location in Montgomery County. This is the source of the name of the village of Center Point. A large lilac bush still grows on the site of the first inn in Center Point, which was in operation before the Revolution.

  • The Farmers Union Horse Company for the Recovery of Stolen Horses and Detecting the Thieves was formed in 1834 and is still in existence today.

  • In the early 20th century, Worcester was served by public transportation in the form of a trolley nicknamed the “Wogglebug.” It ran from Norristown to Harleysville through Fairview Village and Center Point.

This land is important to us and to our lives here. The knowledge of our past and of the land on which we live enriches our life here. We hope to keep this knowledge alive and share it so that it may survive well into the 21st century.

Much more information on Worcester Township is available in A History of Worcester Township, published by WHS in 1978 and available from the society by contacting us at info@worcesterhistorical.org.





To the Justices of the Court of Quarter Sessions held for the County of Philadelphia:

The petition of divers inhabitants settled on said tract of land estimated to contain about 8,000 acres lying between the townships of North Wales, Towamencin, Bebbers, Providence, Norriton and Skippack, humbly request that the land named be erected into a township for the convenience of well regulating of its inhabitants; said draft, whereof being herewith exhibited to the court, and whose petitioners shall endeavor to observe the duty enjoyed thereby.

Signed by the said inhabitants the second day of the first month of 1733/1734

Peter Keyser

Stephenius Steiger

John Vandersluice

Yorzay Towfy

Peter Kuster

Johannes Bean

Cunrad Von Fossen

Henry Hoover

Henry Rittenhouse

Leonard Spare

John Jacob Matte

Matthias Gmelin

Domigil Esrfman

Cunrod Cunrod

Christopher Zimmerman

Hugh Pugh

Adam Von Fossen

Johannes LeFevre

Thomas Ball

Wm. Roberts

Jacob Engle

Richard Osborne