History: The township was originally settled by members of the Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers, who worshipped in the Plymouth Friends Meetinghouse. They sailed from Devonshire, England, on the ship Desire, arriving in Philadelphia on June 23, 1686. The township takes its name from the settlers’ hometown of Plymouth in Devon.
What is now Germantown Pike was ordered laid out by the Provincial Government in 1687 as a “cart road” from Philadelphia to Plymouth Meeting. The actual road was not finished until 1804, when it was built at a cost of $11,287. A road from Plymouth Meeting to Gwynedd appears to have been built in 1751. What is now Chemical Road, following Plymouth Creek, was opened in 1759 to provide access to a new gristmill.
In the early 19th century the Hickorytown Hotel, on Germantown Pike opposite Hickory Road, was a prominent road house. Robert Kennedy, an officer in the Revolution, operated the inn in 1801. In 1806 it was kept by Frederick Dull and in 1825, Jacob Hart. In the beginning of the 19th century it was a training place for the 36th Regiment of the Pennsylvania Militia and the Second Battalion of Montgomery County. The Friendship Company for the Protection against Horse Stealing was organized there in 1807. Township elections were held there as well, and a post office was established there in May 1857. The Plymouth Meeting Post Office appears to have been established sometime prior to 1827.
Among early industries in Plymouth Township was the Hickorytown Forge operated by the Wood family, and a forerunner of the present Alan Wood Steel Company. The name Plymouth Furnace appears in the records about 1847 and was engaged in the manufacture of nails.
The Plymouth Railroad was built in 1836 to serve some 20 lime kilns operating along the route between Conshohocken and Cold Point. In 1870, the line was acquired by the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad and was rebuilt and extended to Oreland at a junction with the North Penn Railroad.
Prior to the building of the Plymouth Railroad, the Philadelphia, Germantown, and Norristown Railroad was built along the Schuylkill River through Plymouth and commenced operation on 1835. The Schuylkill Valley Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad, the tracks of which parallel those of the Reading Railroad, was opened in 1884, and the Trenton Cut-off branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad was built in 1891.
Plymouth became a township of the first class in January 1922. Mr. Isaac J. Sheppard became township secretary at that time and served as secretary until his voluntary retirement in 1952. Under the new form of government the board changed from one of three “road supervisors” to one of five “Township Commissioners”. Many gradual changes commenced at that time. Street lights were installed in the built-up sections, fire hydrants were installed at critical locations. By 1924, two fire companies were in operation, the Plymouth Fire Company and the Harmonville Fire Company.
In 1925, the Board of Health was organized. Plumbing inspection began in 1934. In 1939, Plymouth adopted a “modern” zoning ordinance. A building code ordinance was also adopted. In 1947, the first subdivision ordinance was adopted. In 1952, the Township Planning Commission was created, and a Recreation Committee was established to study the recreation needs of the township. Growth continued throughout the 1960s and 1970s, which saw the advent of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, the Plymouth Meeting Mall, high rise and garden apartment complexes, and many modern industries and offices.
Plymouth Township adopted a Home Rule Charter in 1972. Government under a Home Rule Charter allows a municipality to take any governmental or administrative actions it requires, unless such actions are prohibited by general laws of the Commonwealth. With this charter in place, citizens and their elected officials are given more governing power, and there is more of an opportunity for public involvement in governing procedures and decisions. (Wikipedia)
Boundaries: It lies primarily within Plymouth Township, with a smaller portion lying within Whitemarsh Township. It is the northern terminus of the “Blue Route” and the southern terminus of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Northeast Extension.
Zip Code: 19462
What To See / Do: Plymouth Friends Meetinghouse, Plymouth Meeting Mall, Alan West Corson Homestead, Hovenden House, Barn and Abolition Hall, Livezey House, Hinterleiter House.
More Information: Plymouth Township
Schools: Colonial Elementary School, Colonial Middle School, Plymouth Whitemarsh High School, Plymouth Meeting Friends School.
Public Transportation: SEPTA Route L