Like many American towns, Phoenixville owes its growth to the waterways. Centered at the confluence of French Creek and the Schuylkill River, it was the transportation corridor that defined commerce to the west and thrived as an industrial and manufacturing center for steel, iron, apparel, and pottery.
Still surrounded by the expansive farmland of Chester County, Phoenixville is classic through its setting and its character. Offering a traditional downtown, truly remarkable neighborhoods, and timeless sense of community, Phoenixville is emerging from its industrial past and quickly becoming one of the most idyllic communities in our region.
Quality defines life in Phoenixville. Set against a picturesque backdrop, residents have a number of options in terms of where to live, where to work, and how to spend their time. Known for its diverse architecture, Phoenixville’s housing stock is a complementary mix of Victorian and Colonial styles paired with more modern approaches in recent developments. The majority of these homes are owner occupied, resulting in a strong and stable community.
Phoenixville is a place where education, recreation, and inspiration are all held in high regard. The community is home to 13 parks, 20 houses of worship, one of the state’s finest school systems, as well as an array of arts and cultural organizations that allow Phoenixville’s residents to pursue their diverse creative passions. Phoenixville’s library is another valuable asset for the community, and the Phoenixville Hospital serves residents from Phoenixville and the surrounding region.
Phoenixville has been a developing community since its inception. Its downtown district has benefited from a number of investments that have improved the commercial center. New sidewalks and streetscapes have returned the community to its walkable roots and brought in new residents and customers. An added benefit for Phoenixville’s businesses is the dedication of the Phoenixville Chamber of Commerce and the Phoenixville Area Business Association. Guided by a shared economic development strategy, both are committed to enhancing the community’s commercial district.
The surrounding Chester County is home to a number of Fortune 500 businesses. Phoenixville residents find employment in professional and financial services, healthcare, and management. Opportunities in Philadelphia are also accessible. Busses provide connections to trains out of Norristown. In the coming years, the borough hopes to give residents a more direct connection to the city by redeveloping and revitalizing a former freight rail line and returning passenger rail service to the community.
Phoenixville was once the center of commerce and business in Chester County. It has built on those traditions to become a center for entertainment and nightlife. On any given night, you can enjoy innovative cuisine and then stop at the community-owned Colonial Theatre. Supported by memberships as well as general admission, it screens films every night of the week ranging from new releases to celebrated classics. Just down the street are the Steel City Cafe and Forge Theatre. Both are popular spots for music and theater.
Recreational opportunities are also plentiful in the Phoenixville. French Creek is designated as one of Pennsylvania’s scenic rivers. Along it one can find more than 35 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding; picnic areas; and even a disc golf course. While all of its parks are highly regarded, Reeves Park and Reservoir Park are renowned for their diverse amenities that include playgrounds, pavilions, and picnic areas. One of Phoenixville’s most cherished pastimes is baseball. Four major league baseball players have emerged from its little league and school programs.
Of course history still plays a prominent role in the community. Phoenixville’s historic district is the largest National Historic District in Chester County. It encompasses a number of buildings that have been restored to their original grandeur, including the Phoenix Steel Foundry, which has been transformed into a destination for events.
Special events also happen throughout the year. First Fridays are held monthly, and free concerts take place every Friday and Saturday night from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Annual events are always popular, too.
The Dogwood Festival happens every May and includes music, art, and more. The Firebird Festival is a true favorite. Held the second Saturday of December, it features live music and local artists. The evening comes to a close when fire engulfs a giant wooden Phoenix.
Move through Phoenxville's history and walk along the Schuylkill River. End your tour with a stroll along Bridge Street to sample the restaurants and breweries that put this charming town on the map!
Reeves’ Park has been Phoenixville’s public square since 1872. Its band shell, which was restored using period postcards from 1908, has been the scene of many concerts and gatherings. The famous Griffen Cannon produced by the Phoenix Iron Company and utilized throughout the Civil War, remains proudly on display on the park grounds.
The building is the oldest religious site in what is now Phoenixville and has served as the starting place for at least seven congregations including Mennonites, Baptists, United Brethren, Presbyterian, and Lutherans. Acquired in 1980, the building is currently home to the Historical Society of the Phoenixville Area and their museum.
The 658-seat Colonial Theatre opened in 1903 and is the last surviving of four theatres once existing in the borough and is the only theatre of its kind in Chester County. The Colonial was home to live stage shows, vaudeville acts and musicals, as well being featured in the 1958 science fiction classic, The Blob, starring Steve McQueen and filmed in and around Phoenixville.
Once on Preservation PA’s list of the nine most endangered buildings in the state, the Foundry has been restored and adaptively reused. The Schuylkill River Heritage Center has now become a unique, interpretive place to experience Phoenixville’s Iron and Steel legacy and its place in the Schuylkill River’s history.
The Schuylkill River Trail is a multi-use trail in Southeastern Pennsylvania with a projected length of almost 130 miles when totally completed. Parts of the trail are complete from the City of Philadelphia through Montgomery County to Phoenixville in Chester County, Pottstown-Montgomery County to Reading in Berks County and a section from Hamburg in Berks County to Auburn, Schuylkill County.
Bridge Street—the town’s main drag—offers a mix of wine-tasting rooms, low-key restaurants and artsy, locally owned shops. Bridge Street is divided in the center of town by Main Street, home to boutique retail and food outlets