You may think of Quakertown as simply an exit off the Turnpike or the section of Route 309 you pass on your way to somewhere else, but a charming downtown awaits, just minutes from major thoroughfares.

Tucked in the Northeast portion of Upper Bucks County, surrounded by Richland Township, Quakertown is a borough of nearly 10,000 residents and encompasses approximately two square miles. Fifty miles north of Philadelphia, neighboring Lehigh County to the South Quakertown is the business hub of Upper Bucks.

Originally known by many names including “Great Swamp,” “Great Meadow,” “Flatland” and “Richland,” Quakertown became the official name in 1803 in recognition of the early Quaker settlers. Due to its central location, and the fact that the borough had a tavern, Quakertown became a natural stopover for stagecoaches and commercial traffic between Allentown and Philadelphia. In fact, while British troops marched on Philadelphia in 1777, the Liberty Bell “spent the night” behind Liberty Hall in the borough while en route to its wartime hiding place in Allentown. The construction of the North Pennsylvania Railroad in 1885, combined with national economic expansion following the Civil War, transformed Quakertown from a crossover village to a commercial center sustained by business and industry, including the manufacturing of cigars, wheel spokes and stoves. To facilitate business transactions, Quakertown National Bank was established in 1877 and the Free Press newspaper began serving the region in 1881.

Like many small municipalities, the town felt the effects of a growing mobile society as industries changed, shopping malls emerged and people became attracted and later content, to drive to work, shop and dine outside of the borough. The downtown remained charming and historic but no longer offered quite enough options to remain truly vibrant. But all that has since  changed.

Borough Manager Scott McElree—who has been  Chief of Police since 2004,  was named Borough Manager in 2007, and continues to hold the dual-role today. McElree, partnering with a strong Borough Council, has one priority for Quakertown:  to make it a vibrant, walkable, destination community. For the last three years the borough— in collaboration with a variety of local and regional entities including the Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce, the Bucks County Economic Development Corporation, the community development organization Quakertown Alive!, business leaders and residents—has conducted comprehensive surveys, viability studies, gathered consumer information, rewritten zoning ordinances and re-evaluated a variety of code enforcements, resulting in the development of an aggressive revitalization plan for the town they all love.

“If you don’t live in this town, we want you to come here. If you live here, we don’t want you to have to leave downtown go get whatever you want,” states borough council member Ed Scholl, a driving force behind the revitalization plan.  A major factor in attracting new business to Quakertown is the town’s participation with the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance Act (LERTA). LERTA allows the borough to exempt improvements from property tax increases.

In addition to tax incentives, there are many  reasons for businesses and developers to consider Quakertown. Strategic location is  one. “Route 309 is right here, which leads to 78; from 78 you can get to New Jersey, New York or Harrisburg,” says  McElree.

The 140-acre park system is another reason to check out Quakertown.  Memorial Park, home to the Blazers baseball team and an old fashioned stadium, also has playing fields for football, baseball, softball and soccer as well as tennis and basketball courts, a sand-lot for volleyball and a playground. The public pool, “almost like a country club” says McElree, was rebuilt in 2004. So that residents and visitors can enjoy the outdoors during the winter months, the borough floods a huge grass parking area to create a skating pond. All of these attractions are located within walking distance of downtown.  In 2011 the borough completed the first phase of a downtown beautification project adding new lighting and landscaping along with a fountain and other enhancements to the downtown district.

Beyond the charming façade of downtown, the beautiful and vast park system, the proximity to other east coast regions and LERTA, there is yet another amenity Quakertown has to offer:  electricity. Most municipalities provide water and sewer but Quakertown also provides electric to the community. The borough directly employs a seven-person electrical department and maintains the entire electrical infrastructure. “That is a huge benefit to the business owners and residents,” asserts Borough Manager McElree.

Tara King has been at the Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce since 2000, its executive director since 2008. According to King, “revitalization has been talked about since I came here and it’s finally happening.”


The Quakertown Historical Society, whose mission is “to preserve, collect and document the history of Quakertown for future generations to come,” maintains a complex of three buildings, all within walking distance of each other:

The Burgess Foulke House—a stone structure built in 1812 by Edward Foulke, whose son, Edward, Jr., became the first burgess (mayor) of Quakertown in 1855. Today, the Burgess Foulke Home is a showcase museum and serves as an example of early 19th century architecture.

The Market Place Museum—a late 1800s barn renovated in the 1970s containing a museum, meeting room and library.

Liberty Hall—A National Historic Landmark Museum that sheltered the bell from the State House in Philadelphia, later known as the Liberty Bell, in 1777.

For  tour information, contact The Quakertown Historical Society, 21 N. Main Street, 215-536-3298, quakertownhistoricalsociety.com

In addition to the interesting historical sites, eclectic shopping outlets, beautiful parks, an ice skating rink and a variety of eating establishments, Quakertown hosts a diverse range of events throughout the year, including a juried artisan/crafter show, a garden tour, a fall festival, a wine festival and a Christmas house tour.  Check out the full calendar of events at quakertownalive.com


McCoole’s Red Lion Inn is located at the intersection of Broad and Main Streets. The Inn originally opened in 1750 under the ownership of Walter McCoole and was known as McCoole’s Tavern during the Revolutionary War Period. The tavern’s name was changed to the Red Lion Hotel in 1793. Today, McCoole’s Red Lion Inn offers fine dining in a casual setting. The menu includes an array of options from casual fare such as Mozzarella Sticksand a Turkey Club to the more sophisticated Eggplant Scallopini Marsala and  Fresh Salmon . 4 South Main Street, 215-538-1776, mccoolesredlioninn.com. (Editor’s Note: For more information on McCoole’s Red Lion Inn, check out the 2012 edition of Good Taste, included with the February issue of Lehigh Valley Marketplace.)


If you are looking to add some ambiance—not to mention a practical heating solution–to your home, visit Wood Heat on your way into town. Conveniently located on Route 309 in Quakertown, Wood Heat offers one of the largest selections of stoves, fireplaces and inserts in eastern Pennsylvania. Customers can choose gas, coal, wood or pellet- fueled units from a variety of brands including Jøtul, Quadra-Fire, Heat & Glo and Heatilator. Trained professionals are on hand to help determine which unit best suits your needs and lifestyle and the installation and service technicians are National Fireplace Institute (NFI) and Manufacturer certified. Gas log sets, wood pellets and accessories are available, along with mulch, soil, stone and sand for outdoor landscaping. Stop by the showroom to see the wide selection of units, many of them burning. See the burn, feel the heat!  322 N. West End Boulevard (Route 309), 267-347-5300, woodheat.com.

Step back in time at old-fashioned Sine’s 5 & 10 Cent Store complete with soda fountain.  Family owned and operated since 1912, this variety store’s diverse inventory includes stationery, hardware, house wares, toys, crafts, notions, dry goods and gifts. The store stocks 10 varieties of bulk candy as well as dozens of novelty and penny candies. Breakfast and lunch is still served at the soda fountain that boasts an original root beer barrel. Milkshakes, ice cream sodas and sundaes are available all day. For 100 years, Sine’s 5 & 10 Cent Store has offered a unique shopping experience to the people of Quakertown and the surrounding communities. 236-240 W. Broad Street, 215-536-6102.

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