History of the Borough

Richlandtown Borough was organized in 1890. The history of Richlandtown is documented best through documents that have been passed down though the last century. Some of these documents are included here for your enjoyment.

From a paper written by Richlandtown students in 1943

"When organized it contained 25 homes. The first home was built by Daniel Walp in 1904 on the lot where Raymond Hinkle's home now stands.

The town was then known as "Three Lanes End" and then in succession, Ducktown, Frogtown, Flatland, and the name it now bears. It is not known why it was named Richlandtown but it is believes to apply to the rich soil found here.

Since Richlandtown was swampy, roads were hard to build and it is said that the citizens of the town took stones from the neighboring fields, pounded them into the mud and then covered them with leather scraps from the Shoe Factory so that they could walk on them.

Among the early settlers were John Smith, a soldier of the Revolution, John Serger, Philip Gruver, and Daniel Walp.

The first post office at Richlandtown was established here in 1839 and the first Post Master was Christian A. Snyder. It is not known where the office was located.

Some of the oldest homes now standing, although not all in their original form are: Charles Neamand's Home built in 1868 by Charles Diehl, Shoe Factory Built in 1878 by Freed Brothers, Corson Schell's Home built by his father Allen Schell, Arthur Bader Home built by Zackariah Saylor and the Old Richlandtown School House...

One of the oldest businesses of the town is the Ice and Coal Business of John C. Hinkle. He first started the Ice Business in 1908 and as been in business for 38 years. He first got his ice in Coopersburg for one year and then secured California Ice Dam, where he built a storage building and stored his own ice. This has now been abandoned and he purchases his ice in Quakertown, PA.

In 1930 he added Coal to his business and has conducted this with the ice business for the past 16 years...

The Richlandtown Fire company was organized in 1905, Incorporated in 1906 and was housed in the Fire House which was built in 1905. This Company has been one of Richlandtown's most active organizations and today is rated as one of the best volunteer companies in the county...

They bought their first motorized truck in 1921, and have since acquired additional ones, having two fully equipped trucks at this time. Just at the time the first truck was delivered, Richlandtown suffered its worst fire and unfortunately no one had been as yet instructed how to operate the new equipment. This building was the Wismer building. A three story Frame building which stood between the present Weller home and Hoffert home. It was totally destroyed.

At this time, there are 45 members in the Company and the present officers are:

President: Peter Kandel
V. President : Norman Benner
Secretary: Charles Schroy
Treasurer: Warren Ackerman
Chief: Ira Heavener
First Asst. Fred Schaffer
Second Asst. Wayne Heist...

St. John's Lutheran Church was first organized with about 70 members and worshipped in the building that is now St. John's Reformed. In 1932, the churches separated and the Lutheran Members built their own church. The present building has won distinction in a church publication as being selected as one of the churches representative of fine church architecture. The first pastor was Reverend Roeller, who served in 1818...

The St. John's Reformed Church was organized in 1807 and the original church was completed in 1808. The present structure was built in 1859, remodeled in 1932 and 1937. The lot on which the church stands was a gift to the church from John Smith. The first pastor was Rev. Jacob Genn...

On or about 1896 the Quakertown Traction Company started to operate a trolley line to Richlandtown. At first the line came up only as far as the former Rail Road tracks below town and people boarded the car there; however shortly after that they entered town and operated through town to about the center where the Arthur Hager home now stands.

In 1901, the Quakertown Traction Company was sold to the Lehigh Valley Transit Company and they operated until June 1, 1929 when the system was abandoned because of decline in traffic. Following this abandonment the Levy Bus Service entered and has given the town transportation service to date...

The first meeting of the Richlandtown Borough School District met on March 12, 1891 in Freed's Hall...Miss Martha Sterner was elected the first teacher at $33.00 per month, for a 9 month term.

At the April meeting in 1909 a motion was passed to buy the plot of ground from George W. Amey for $1100.00 on which the present school building now stands. On May 27, 1909 a motion was passed to have the electors of the Borough consent to a loan of $8000.00 to erect the new building. The contract to erect the building was given on August 5, 1909 to Erwin Hunsberger for $5900.00.

School opened in the new building in September 1910 with Wm. T. Melchoir as principal at a salary of $85 a month. Frank H. Hartman teacher of the Grammar School at $55 and Cordelia Strouse as primary teacher at $50 per month.

Under this new set up the Elementary Grades were grouped in two sections and the High School occupied the second floor. The High School was continued until 1927, when arrangements were made to enter all High School Pupils in Quakertown, since enrollment was too small to warrant a High School any longer...

From a Letter Dated 1921 (grammatically corrected)

Grandfather David Walp came to Flatland in 1799, and it is said that he built the first dwelling in the place now known as Richlandtown. Some time later bought a 22 acre track of land and erected house and barn there on. It is the first farm on the South side of Doylestown road below Richlandtown. He lived there until 1835 when he died. Son Charles Walp purchased the homestead, erected a brick dwelling house in 1856, and resided on there until 1860. He then built a homestead for himself at the upper end of farm and lived there until 1882 when he died. He was a manufacturer of boots and shoes for about 35 years. Citizens of the early days got together frequently for religious service meetings in houses and in barns on the thrashing floor. At one of these meetings, they came to consider the necessity of building a church for the worship of the Lord, and they decided at the meeting to begin at once to build a church and to see who would bring the first load of stone on the land which was donated by John Smith for the church and cemetery. A man by the name of Philip Wimmer had a load of stone there the same night by 12 o'clock and before he had the stones unloaded the second load was there. That was in 1807, the year the church was built, and it was dedicated in 1908. It was rebuilt in 1859 the same year the Rev. Father Kemmer died, who had served the Lutheran Congregation for about 40 years. The Sunday school was organized about 1844. Mr. Ruben Diehl was the first superintendent. At the same time I had my first experience as a Sunday School Teacher, since the Pastor had seven churches in his parish and could not devote any time to Sunday School on the Sabbath Day. The Hotel was built in 1812 Michael Smith as proprietor for a number of years. The first Post Office was located about a mile north of the church. A man by the name of John Matts applied for the office and named it Mattsville. A few years afterward, Christian A. Snyder- store-keeper- applied for the post office to be removed and named it Richlandtown. The first school house was built on the North East corner of the cemetery.

Composed by A.B. Walp
September 12, 1921
At The Age of 93 Years

Paraphrased From the Centennial Book Organized 1990

Freed Brothers shoemaking was opened in 1852. At their highest point of production, the mill had 150 employees and produced up to 800 pairs of shoes a day. It was closed in 1943 and converted to the present day Richland Feed Mill

In the late 1800's, David Fluck operated a shoe business in competition with Freed.A fire ended that business in 1897 and a cigar factory was built in its place. It later became a clothing manufacturer and was destroyed by a fire

The Richlandtown Hotel was originally called the Spread Eagle, and originally opened in 1812. It enjoyed several years as a market. The Hall was built to accommodate horses, and the second floor was used for community events. The stables became apartments in 1961. In 1983, the hotel was renamed the Richlandtown Hotel. The 25 foot oakwood bar is the original one brought from Allentown by John Hinkle by horse and wagon. The tin ceiling is also original to the building.