John Pritiskutch Reproductions

History of Berks County - Windsor Township

The following is reproduced from the 1876 Atlas of Berks County, Pennsylvania

Windsor was generally settled at the time of the erection of Berks county. Like all other townships near the Blue Mountain, it was frequently the scene of Indian massacres, the accounts of which are found in the provincial records.

The township is much smaller than it was formerly. Many new townships have been erected, and parts of Windsor have consequently been taken to help form these newer municipal organizations.

The population of the township in 1870 was 1,211.

The borough of Hamburg is situated on the Schuylkill river. The place was settled about 1720. In 1752, when the county was organized, the village, being favorably located on the turnpike, had became a place of considerable importance. At that time a furnace near the place was in operation. but subsequently it was removed to some other locality in the county. The village was then known by the German name for Churchtown, and continued to grow with great rapidity.

In 1840, it contained about 200 dwellings and 600 inhabitants. As the earlier settlers principally came from Hamburg, when the village was incorporated into a borough, it very appropriately received the name which it now bears.

The borough at present contains 1,590 inhabitants. It is beautifully laid out with wide streets, and has many fine private residences as well as churches and school buildings. The prospects are that Hamburg will be a town of considerable importance, as the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad has purchased some of the finest and best building lots, upon which they contemplate making improvements. The South Mountain Railroad will span the Schuylkill river at this point., and run through the northern portion of the town. Hamburg has five hotels, a town hall, a fire engine house, a rolling mill, two large founderies, a bank, extensive coach works, machine shops, tanneries, a fine depot, a large number of stores and various other industrial establishments. It supports a band, a military company, and many beneficial and charitable societies. There are eight schools in the borough. Two large brick school buildings attest to the interest of the people in the education of the young.

In 1870 Hamburg had three newspapers. The Rural Press, an English paper, was established by Smith & Bro. It was published and ably edited for three years, when it was discontinued. In 1872, William Tyson, of Reading, established a German paper, the Hamburger Berichler, but, not meeting with sufficient support, it was discontinued after an existence of a year. Previous to this, two English papers had been published here, but all suspended for want of support. The Hamburg Schnelpost, a German paper, and the only one now published, was established in 1842. It is edited and printed by M. P. Doering, has a large list of subscribers, and is of considerable influence in this section.

The town has five churches. The St. John's German and Reformed was built in 1857. It is a large brick edifice, and is supported by a congregation of 600 members. The Emanuel church, also a fine building with a steeple and bell, was erected in 1854. The St. Paul's German Evangelical church is a frame building, erected in 1873. The Catholic church, a large brick edifice, was built in 1854. The Methodists also have a church property and building.