Historian and blogger Michael Tolle has published a book They’ve Been Down So Long / Getting Up Still on Their Minds based on his historic studies of eight towns along the Lower Schuylkill River and how they could prosper in the future, writes Lindsay Lazarski for WHYY.
While living for 36 years near the Schuylkill River valley, Tolle was struck by how many historic similarities were shared between Pottstown, Royersford, Spring City, Phoenixville, Norristown, Bridgeport, Conshohocken, and West Conshohocken.
“All of these towns on the lower Schuylkill River all came into being for the same reason,” Michael Tolle said. “They all assumed the same shape. The only difference between the towns other than their size is the topography on which they sit.”
Like many places in Pennsylvania, these towns blossomed and then began a long decline when they experienced the loss of both industry and railroad. Tolle found that most of the towns remained stagnant after the 1980s, with the exception of Phoenixville, Conshohocken, and West Conshohocken.
But he believes that there are ways to move forward and become revitalized, in part by ignoring their industrial past and rethinking how they utilize and develop their waterfront areas.
Read more about the book by Michael Tolle in WHYY.
Author Michael Tolle discusses his book at the Phoenixville Public Library in the video below.