Monday, March 7, 2011

Book chronicles local history of our neighbors to the north

Arcadia Publishing, publishers of the adorable and informative hyper-local and regional history books that include:

"Along the Schuylkill River" (which I wrote about here);
"Along the Route 100 Corridor";
and "Around Pottstown,"

has announced they will be coming out with "Richland Township and Richlandtown Borough" by Robert L. Leight and Thomas R. Moll ($21.99, 128 pp., softcover, available at or 888-313-2665) on March 14.

The pictorial history is part of the publisher's Images of America series and, fittingly, contains more than 200 vintage photos from the Bucks County municipalities.

According to the book, Richland Township, which had been a wetland known as the "Great Swamp," in 1710 drew Welsh Quaker settlers who knew how to turn that fertile swamp land into a profit. The area became a farming community known for its rich land ... hence the name.

The township's first town - what would become Quakertown in 1855 - grew around Richland Friends Meeting House. People who lived there played "key roles in hiding hte Liberty Bell, Fries Rebellion, and the Underground Railroad," according to a press release.

Quakertown became a separate municipality around the turn of the 20th century. The area prospered in the early 1900s when there was rail service to Philadelphia via the Quakertown and Eastern Railroad. Another village, Richlandtown, stayed small and agricultural, incorporating in 1890.

"Richland Township and Richlandtown Borough" documents many of the historic buildings that still stand in the area as well as photos of old trolleys that ran from Quakertown to Richlandtown.

Co-author Robert L. Leight is secretary of Richland Historical Society and is a retired professor of education at Lehigh University. A graduate of Quakertown High School, Kutztown State Teachers College, and Lehigh University, he taught in the Palisades and Pennridge School Districts before completing his doctoral degree. He was a professor of education at Ursinus College and Lehigh University prior to retirement. Leight, who has written three local history books, conducts Richland Country Day School with his wife, Mary.

Of this book, he said "I hope that the photos and narrative capture the lifestyle of former days in this community," in a prepared statement.

Co-author Thomas R. Moll is a librarian for Souderton Area School District and the Richland Library Co. He is the author of several books on local history and geneology.

If you know the area well, this book will likely be of great interest to you.

If you look at Arcadia Publishing's website, you'll see the Mount Pleasant, S.C.-based company has published pictorial chronicles of many Pennsylvania towns and areas of interest. And they don't stop with the Keystone State. They've got books from every state and many colleges.

If you would like to have (win!) my review copy of this particular book, just leave a comment on the blog with a way to get in touch with you. Or, if you prefer a less public route, e-mail me your contact info. at First request gets the book.

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