Last night I attended the Norristown Bicentennial Dinner held at the Savior Hall. It was the first in a series of events that are being planned to commemorate the 200 years of Norristown’s history. It was a fun evening and my husband and I had a great time eating, dancing, and talking to people we have known for some time. The band was Jump Street, and they did a variety of music covering bands from the Temptations to the Black Eyed Peas. The food was provided by Zone’s Catering and it was quite tasty.
Norristown was established on March 31, 1812 and I am sure that things were quite different back then. For one thing there were far less people than the current 39 some odd thousand souls, then being about 500. Some early statistics show that it was subsequently enlarged in 1853 and 1909. In 1900, 22,265 people lived there; in 1910, 27,875; in 1920, 32,319; and in 1940, 38,181 making it the most populous community for a borough. Many people don’t realize that Norristown was not a borough starting in 1986 when they established their first home rule charter. It changed to a municipality, but everyone still called it a borough until 2004 when the new charter was established. It was at that time that the actual name started to be pushed. But I am sure that people will always call it a borough as old habits die hard.
Norristown was at one time a bustling town with many downtown shops, a hotel, two movie theaters, and much industry. Being the county seat, many people came here to do a variety of things involved with government. Norristown has its fair share of notables that include actors, sports figures, revolutionary generals, and musicians. Now the town is in a decline and has suffered many setbacks in the last 5 decades. But I have faith that the powers that be will work to improve things for the future.
I was not born in this town, but I am sure that I will die in this town. I have faith that all is not lost as some would have you believe. Maybe it’s the fact that I live here and I want the best for my house value, but I have a gut feeling that things will eventually turn around. Norristown has a great past and a promising future. It only takes faith and people who believe. Let’s enjoy reliving the past 100 years and making plans for the next century.