Friday, February 02, 2007

History

Excluding the large boroughs of Alaska, Norristown was one of the larger communities under the borough form of government. The borough form of government permitted the city to be protected by volunteer fire departments,as does a Home Rule Charter, for example. Located on the Schuylkill River, it was established as a mill town and as a seat of county government.

At one time Norristown was a retail center for the rural areas outside of Philadelphia. With the growth of suburban communities and large shopping malls including the Plaza at King of Prussia and the Plymouth Meeting Mall in the outlying townships, Norristown’s retail sector steadily declined and eventually collapsed.

Today the city’s economy is powered by Montgomery County government jobs, the legal profession, and health care. Montgomery Hospital and Norristown State Hospital are located there. While the downtown has suffered in recent years, the residential areas of Norristown remain largely well-maintained. The housing stock in Norristown is unique and remains affordable. Row homes abound, as do twin homes and some single family residences.

The city is a transit center and the Norristown Transportation Center is the terminus of the Norristown High Speed rail line and a stop on the former Reading Railroad Norristown train to Center City Philadelphia (both now are part of the regional transit system called the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority).

The Norristown Times Herald is the city's daily newspaper, printing Monday through Saturday and serving most of Montgomery County. A Sunday edition is also published. Norristown is steeped in and surrounded by history. Valley Forge National Historical Park is nearby. The city is named for Isaac Norris, a member of the colonial Pennsylvania legislature who ordered the casting of the state house bell that became known as the Liberty Bell. Norris was given a grant of land, then called Williamstadt (William's Town), in honor of one of its founders William Trent who sold the land and went on to help found Trenton, NJ. The Municipality of Norristown and the adjacent Townships of East and West Norriton now occupy this former estate.

Norristown has a rich musical tradition as it was the home to several famous jazz musicians. Bass virtuoso Jaco Pastorius and keyboard legend Jimmy Smith were both born in Norristown.

1 Comments:

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10:14 AM  

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