In 1777 Limerick, Pennsylvania, acted as a headquarters for General George Washington, in 1986 the Limerick Nuclear Generating Station came online, and in 1994 the town survived a serious tornado.
Quite a lot of history for a town founded by William Evans, a relatively unknown Irishman.
The town of Limerick, located 35 miles north west of Philadelphia, was settled mainly by the Welsh in the 1690s but it was an Irishman who named it after his home.
In 1698, William Evans christened the community "Limerick." Sadly Evans managed to leave very little trace of himself in the form of contemporary records however records of his widow, Ann and son, William show give some details of the family’s progress.
The township is mentioned in Philadelphia court records in the 1710s, but was not formally established of record until March Sessions of 1726. Royersford, Pennsylvania was created from its southeastern corner in 1879.
A historic attraction, which remains today, is the William and Mordecai Evans House, also known as the Evans Log & Stone House. The house was original built circa. 1720, with a stone addition built in 1763 and a frame addition in 1984. It is a 2.5-story, four-bay, stuccoed stone and log dwelling, with a basement.
This very house was briefly the headquarters for General George Washington on September 19, 1777, after the Battle of Brandywine and Battle of the Clouds at Malvern. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.
The early commercial growth of Limerick was largely dependent on agricultural trade and the population steadily grew. However in the early 1990s the population doubled, to 6,000 following the launch of Limerick Nuclear Generating Station, just outside of the town. The plant which includes two General Electric boiling water reactor (BWR) units, run by Exelon, employees about 700. The two reactors pump out steams which can be seen from 80 miles, at Centralia in Columbia County. As of the 2010 United Census the town’s population is 18,074.
The town has not been without hardship over the years. On July 27, 1994 Limerick was struck by a F3 classed tornado, which tragically killed a young couple and their baby. The storm injured at least 17 others and drove hundreds from their home. The 150mph winds, thankfully missed the Power Plant, but leveled the houses known as, The Hamlet. It’s believed the storm caused over $8 million in damages to the small town.
The Limerick Township Historical Society, very much active in the community, compiled this timeline of the town of Limerick’s history.
Here are some of the highlights:
1600s - First European settlement of what is now Limerick Township.
1738 - Oldest legible tombstone in the township dates from this year.
1777 - George Washington stays at the Mordecai Evans house in Linfield.
1784 - Limerick Township became a part of the newly-formed Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
1810s - Population surpasses 1,000 people.
1818 - First permanent church dedicated.
1839 - First time a train rides through Limerick Township, on what is now referred to as the Reading Railroad, of Monopoly fame.
1840s - Population surpasses 2,000 people.
1866 - First major industrial presence in Limerick Township, March, in the shape of Sisler & Co.
1901 - First time a trolley rides through Limerick Township.
1927 - Limerick Airport created.
1950s - Population surpasses 5,000 people.
1985 - First multi-lane, limited-access highway in the township, Route 422 opens.
1986 - First unit of the Limerick Nuclear Generating Station came on line.
1990s - Population more than doubles, surpassing 10,000 people.