History

Tilden Township History


History of Tilden Township (2006)

In 1740, the first Amish congregation in America established themselves one mile west of Hamburg, in what is now Tilden Township. Indian raids in the 1750's drove most of these Amish Mennonites from the area. They fled the region, heading south to locations in and around Lancaster County. Indians made frequent raids upon settlements in this vicinity because the gap in the mountain at Port Clinton provided them with an easy approach from the north.

Prior to Tilden Township being organized as a separate district, there was a depot station and store in the vicinity of Lowland Road. It was the first railroad station on the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad which ran along the west bank of the Schuylkill River. In addition to the rail lines, West Hamburg and Berne were two important shipping points. In 1870, the first telephone lines ran through the township to the Shartlesville area. The Berne Post Office was established in 1878.

In 1887, Tilden Township was taken from Upper Bern Township and organized as a separate district. The Township is situated west of the Schuylkill River, bordered on the north by Schuylkill County, to the east by Hamburg Borough, to the west by Upper Bern Township and to the south by Centre Township. It was named after Samuel J. Tilden, who was a presidential candidate in 1876. During this era, most of the residents were involved in farming. Some of the other industries in the area included foundries, brick works, two creameries, a wool mill, two gristmills, saw mills, blacksmith and watchmaker's shops and a rolling mill. All the mills were driven by water power.

From 1887 until 1929, the schooling of local children was conducted at seven different one-room school houses located throughout the township. A modern structure was built and opened for classes on October 28, 1929. In May of 1931, it was decided to add four rooms to the existing four room school building and all township pupils would then attend that school. Seventy-seven years later this "modern structure" is still in use, accommodating Kindergarten, first and second grade students at Tilden Elementary. Plans for the construction of a new elementary school at the Tilden location are currently in progress.

As recently as 1965 Tilden consisted of two separate voting districts. In 1966 the two precincts were combined and the general election was held for the first time at the municipal building. Prior to this, voting was held at the Indian Fort Inn and Ebling's Hotel, which today, we know as The Westy.