John Pritiskutch Reproductions

History of Berks County - Maxatawny Townships

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

Maxatawny may be regarded as one of the most important townships in Berks county. Bounded on the north-east by Lehigh county, southeast by Longswamp and Rockland townships, south-west by Rockland and Richmond, and north-west by Greenwich it forms an oblong containing nearly fifteen thousand acres of land. The surface is generally level. The prevailing rock is limestone, though some gravelly land is found within its territorial limits. The soil is mostly of a superior quality, in an excellent state of cultivation and very productive. "Maxatawny valley" is one of the most beautiful and fertile sections of Eastern Pennsylvania. The evenness of the surface, so favorable in other respects, yet deprives the township of the numerous water privileges so abounding in some parts of the county. A few excellent mill sites, however, are found on the Sacony and Mill creeks, which have been improved for the turning of machinery of various kinds. The facilities for transportation are abundant. Few rural townships are favoured with so many and excellent roads, running in all directions. The East Penn. Railroad, and the Allentown, a branch of the East Penn., bring the township into close proximity with the important manufacturing cities of Reading and Allentown.

Maxatawny was settled at an early period in the history of this section of the Keystone State. Numerous German families emigrated hither, and became permanent residents soon after Penn's new purchase from the Indians in 1732. German names largely predominate in the lists of taxables and voters. That they are prolific and thriving people, the steady increase of the population through the successive decades abundantly attests.

In 1820 the number of inhabitants was 1,530; in 1830, 1,845 ; in 1840, 2,594; in 1860, (including Kutztown borough,) 3,008; in 1870. 3,476.

The borough of Kutztown is one of the most enterprising and thriving in the county. Very important changes have taken place in the business and social aspects of the place within the last ten or fifteen years. The railroad has had a wonderful effect in rousing the latent energies of the borough. The old stage-coach slowness has disappeared. Several times a day the mail brings the outside news to the doors of a reading, and therefore intelligent people. A telegraph office has recently been established, and is largely patronized. One German and two English newspapers supplies the people with the intelligence of the passing hour. Two Job Printing Offices are sustained by those who seek the aid of the "art preservative of arts." Two banking houses do a large business, and are in a flourishing condition. Hardware, book, clothing, shoe, furniture, millinery and confectionery stores find abundant support. Excellent hotels await the travelers seeking temporary homes. Grain and lumber depots are well supplied with the heavier articles of merchandise. Furnaces and foundries are among the more important of the Kutztown industries.

The building interest of the borough has hitherto been exceedingly brisk, many fine private residences being annually erected. The excellently arranged fair grounds are a great attraction in the autumn of the year, where crowds of people gather from all parts of the State, to witness the display of the varied agricultural and mechanical products of the region. The Keystone Normal School adds greatly to the interest of the place in the estimation of both residents and strangers, an extended notice of which may be found elsewhere.

Lyons, Bower's Station, Eagle Point and Rothrocksville are smaller vil!ages in Maxatawny township.