Union Township
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About Union Township
Berks County > Municipalities > Union Township


Zoning Map

History of Union Township

Berks County, Pennsylvania

 Union Township was established in 1753 by proceedings in the Berks County Court of Quarter Sessions.  The Township was formed through the “union” of two land areas: portions of Robeson Township (Berks County) and Coventry Township (Chester County).

 The land area of Union Township, as well as most of Berks County, was purchased in the early 1700s by an existing treaty between the local Native Americans and the sons of William Penn.  The Swedes and Germans were the first to settle within the present boundaries of Union Township.  The first known settlement was in 1705, and by 1759, there were an estimated 62 taxable persons in the Township.  By the year 2000, the Township had grown to approximately 3,500 residents.

 Readily available water power provided industrial opportunities for the early settlers.  By the early 1800s, mills were located along the Six Penny Creek, the Hay Creek, the Schuylkill River and the Mill Creek.  Hopewell Furnace, located in the southern portion of the Township, was prominent in the iron industry.

 Agriculture also provided opportunities for the early settlers.   The land areas adjacent to the Schuylkill River and the Hay Creek provided exceptionally productive land for farming.  Vast portions of these areas of the Township are still utilized for agriculture.

 The Schuylkill Canal Navigation System, completed in 1824, played an important role in the growth and development of the Township.  The Canal provided a system to transport coal, iron, lumber, merchandise and produce between Schuylkill County and Philadelphia.  Portions of the abandoned Canal, which became obsolete in the 1870s, are still evident throughout the northern part of the Township. 

Union Township has its share of historical structures and villages within its boundaries, including:

 Hopewell Furnace built in 1765 and now a historic site within the National Park Service.

Hopewell Furnace played an important role in the American Revolution.

Unionville, considered the oldest hamlet in Union Township, and Monocacy, considered the second oldest.  Both were major points of business and trade in the early 1800s because of their locations along the Schuylkill Canal.

St. Paul’s Methodist Episcopal Church, established in 1773 and considered the oldest Methodist Church in Berks County and the third oldest in the United States.

St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Mission Church built in the 1840s.

St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church built in 1850 near the village of Geigertown.

Present-day residents of Union Township remain proud of their local heritage and its role in both regional and national history.

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