Springfield - This is one of the southeastern townships of Montgomery county, and is bounded on the north
by Upper Dublin, west by Cheltenham, south by Philadelphia, and west by Whitemarsh. It is counted about seven miles
out from the borough of Norristown. Its area is 4,013 acres. It is one of the smallest townships in the entire
county, if not the smallest, and none in all the great commonwealth with so irregular a boundary. A glance at the
county map will better explain the meaning of "irregular" in form. The topography is mixed hill and dale,
with a fertile soil, and has an excellent quality of limestone. The highest elevation is Edge Hill, extending nearly
through the center of the township for two miles. Wissahickon creek flows nearly through the center of Springfield,
but for only a half mile in its course did it evel propel a gristmill. Sandy run is the next largest water course,
and empties into the Wissahickon. These are wonderfully even streams as to volume of water. Nearly every farm house
in the township has a spring house, with excellent never-failing, pure water.
This is a thickly settled portion of the county, especially in the vicinity of Chestnut Hill and Spring House turnpike.
Here one sees numerous handsome country seats, built since the close of the Civil War, owned mostly by residents
of Philadelphia, and these are their summer homes. In 1790 the population of the township was 446; in 1840, 695;
in 1880 it was I,535 In 1920 it is given by our last Federal census as 2,994. Internal improvements have been constantly
going on here through the passing decades, until it is highly cultivated, and made graceful by its many handsome
buildings, both in country and villages. There are two steam railroads, both operated by the Reading system. The
assessors' list of 1776 shows Springfield to contain seventy-two taxables and thirty-seven landowners. As there
was no passable road earlier, it is believed that the first settlement must have been made not earlier than 1703.
In 1734 there were sixteen landowners, It will be remembered that the lands here were very largely taken up and
reserved many years by the Penn family, and hence the ill-shape of the tract we know now as Springfield township.
It has been suggested that Maria Penn requested that the long narrow strip of land on the southwest side of the
township be reserved in order that none of the Penn family who might desire to get to the river Schuylkill, would
not have land of their own to travel on that distance-hence the long, narrow strip.
The largest village in this township forty years ago, was known as Flourtown, situated on the Spring House turnpike,
or Bethlehem road, twelve miles from Philadelphia. The railroad has a station there. The directory in 1882 stated,
"it now has sixty houses, four hotels, three stores, a large Odd Fellows' hail, and a Presbyterian church."
Here is an old settlement; tradition says the settlers from Salford and Franconia came here to mill their grain,
hence the name "Flourtown." A post office was established before 1810. This post office, in 1825, was
removed up to Whitemarsh. This was a famous hotel place, and many conducted inns to accommodate the great numbers
who passed this way en route to the city. There were a number of these hotels dating way back of the Revolution.
One was named "Wagon and Horses," and its proprietor catered to the farm and teamster trade. The stagecoach
also made up a large patronage for these hotels. They left Philadelphia daily and went hither and yon, and the
passengers they carried all stopped at these stage stations to eat, and sometimes for lodging. It is related by
actual count that two hundred and forty passengers went over this line through Springfield township daily. The
Edge Hill furnace is located in the extreme eastern corner of the township, on the Abington and Cheltenhain lines.
It was built from r868 on, and fully completed in 1872. Fifty men worked in the iron furnaces there in 1884. One-third
of the iron ore used was mined right on the premises. About two hundred tons per week were produced here.