Norristown is a borough (with home rule status) in and the county seat of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, United States. Located along the Schuylkill River approximately six miles from the Philadelphia city limits, Norristown has a population of 34,324 as of the 2010 U.S. Census. It is the fourth most populous municipality in the county and second most populous borough in Pennsylvania.
Borough of Norristown
Location of Norristown in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
Location of Norristown in Pennsylvania
Norristown (the US)
|• Total||3.61 sq mi (9.35 km2)|
|• Land||3.52 sq mi (9.12 km2)|
|• Water||0.09 sq mi (0.23 km2)|
|Elevation||135 ft (41 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||9,766.98/sq mi (3,770.66/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (EST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
19401, 19403-19409, 19487-19489
|Area code(s)||610 and 484|
Named the county seat in 1784 when Montgomery County was formed, Norristown was incorporated as a borough in 1812 and subsequently enlarged in 1853. About 500 people lived there at the time of its incorporation. Growing rapidly after the Civil War, it swelled to 22,265 people by 1900 and by 1940 it was home to 38,181 Norristonians, making it the most populous borough in Pennsylvania before declining in the decades after World War II.
At its height, Norristown was an industrial, retail, banking, and government center. Breweries, cigar factories, textile mills, icehouses, foundries, rolling mills, and lumber yards provided ample employment for skilled laborers and artisans. The downtown featured two department stores, several theaters, and enough goods and services that residents never had to leave town to find anything they needed. Although primarily settled by the English and a handful of Germans, Scots, Dutch, and Swedes, in the mid-1800s the Irish began arriving in large numbers, followed by waves of Italians at the turn of the century.
With the opening of new malls in nearby King of Prussia and Plymouth Meeting, the downtown declined in the decades after World War II. Industry soon followed, as many companies closed or relocated into new industrial parks throughout Montgomery County. Efforts to revitalize and reshape itself as a 21st-century community have produced minimal results.
Norristown is located in southeastern Pennsylvania, approximately 6 mi (10 km)) northwest of Philadelphia. Totaling 3.519 square miles in land area, the municipality sits along the Schuylkill River. Two major tributaries, the Stony Creek and the Saw Mill Run, bisect the town into thirds and empty directly into the Schuylkill. The town’s terrain is generally hilly, especially in the areas closest to downtown, which itself sits on a plateau surrounded by all three major waterways.
Norristown has four distinct neighborhoods: the West End, the East End, the North End, and the downtown.
It is bounded by West Norriton, East Norriton, and Plymouth Townships, as well as Bridgeport Borough.
As of the 2010 census, Norristown's population is 34,324, which represents a 9.7% increase since 2000. The municipality's population was 40.9% White, 35.9% Black or African American, 0.4% Native American, 2.1% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian, and 4.6% were two or more races. 28.3% of the population were of Hispanic or Latino ancestry, which is almost triple the Hispanic population in 2000.
There were 11,963 households and 7,498 families residing in the municipality. The population density was 9,753.9 people per square mile. There were 13,420 housing units at an average density of 3,813.5 per square mile.
Of the 11,963 households, 62.7% (7,498) were family households and 37.3% were non-family households. Of the 7,498 families, 58.2% had their own and related children under the age of 18 living with them; 51.0% were married couples living together, and 36.6% had a female householder with no husband present. The average household size was 2.79 and the average family size was 3.41.
The median age of all residents is 31.2 years, with an age distribution of 26.2% under the age of 18, 43.5% between ages 18 and 44, 21.2% between ages 45 and 64, and 9.1% ages 65 and above.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2012 American Community Survey, the median household income was $42,764. Males had a median income of $34,214 versus $34,086 for females. The per capita income was $21,204. About 17.3% of families and 19.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.3% of those under the age of 18 and 11.8% of those 65 and older.
Approximately 76.0% of all persons 25 and older have a high school diploma or higher, while 16.7% have a college degree (Bachelor’s or higher).
Norristown’s economy is based largely on institutions in the government, healthcare, legal, and social services sectors. The Montgomery County government is the municipality’s largest employer. Other major Norristown employers with a considerable presence are the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit, USM (formerly U.S. Maintenance), U.S. Roofing Corporation, BartonPartners Architects+Planners, Chandler Bats, and the Norristown Area School District. Norristown is home to the corporate headquarters of both USM and U.S. Roofing.
In addition to major employers, there are numerous small professional, manufacturing, technology, and distribution firms operating in the municipality, as well as law offices and local realty companies.
|2016||17.1% 1,891||79.7% 8.826|
|2012||16.0% 1,749||83.0% 9,053|
|2008||17.0% 2,042||82.3% 9,911|
|2004||24.2% 2,611||75.3% 8,147|
|2000||24.6% 2,066||73.0% 6,124|
Norristown has been a home rule municipality since 1986 when voters adopted a charter with a manager/council form of government and a seven-member municipal council. The office of mayor was abolished in July 2004 after a public referendum amended the municipal charter. Executive and administrative authority is now delegated to a council appointed Municipal Manager.
The municipality is part of the Fourth Congressional District (represented by Rep. Madeleine Dean), the 70th State House Districts (represented by Rep. Matt Bradford) and the 17th State Senate District (represented by Sen. Daylin Leach).
Norristown sits at the junction of several major roads in the Philadelphia region. Main Street (also known as Ridge Pike outside of the municipality) and Airy Street run east–west through the downtown, eventually leading to interchanges for I-476 (the Blue Route) and the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-276), respectively, in Plymouth Meeting. U.S. 202 is the major north–south route through the town, connecting it with other nearby county seats such as Doylestown and West Chester. U.S. 202 is split into a one-way pair through the municipality, as DeKalb St. is designated “U.S. 202 North” while Markley St. is signed “U.S. 202 South.”
Norristown is the largest multi-modal transportation hub in Montgomery County. Numerous rail lines, bus routes, multi-use trails, and parking areas converge at the Norristown Transportation Center (NTC). SEPTA operates eight Suburban Division bus routes (90, 91, 93, 96, 97, 98, 99, and 131), one interurban rapid transit route (the Norristown High Speed Line), and a Regional Rail line (the Manayunk/Norristown Line) out of the NTC complex.
The regional rail station at the Norristown Transportation Center is one of three on the Manayunk/Norristown Line in Norristown. The other two are Main Street and Elm Street, the latter of which serves as the terminus of the line.
The NTC contains a 522-space SEPTA commuter parking garage that also contains an intercity bus terminal operated seven days a week by Greyhound Lines and Martz Trailways. Several taxi companies and private bus shuttles have a presence at the Transportation Center. The Schuylkill River Trail, which connects Philadelphia to Phoenixville and runs through downtown Norristown, also passes through the NTC complex. The Chester Valley Trail will also connect to the Transportation Center by the end of the 2010s.
Electricity and natural gas in Norristown is provided by PECO Energy Company, a subsidiary of Exelon. Water in Norristown is provided by Pennsylvania American Water, a subsidiary of American Water. The Norristown Municipal Waste Authority provises sewer service in Norristown, operating collection sewers and a wastewater treatment plant. Trash and recycling collection in Norristown is provided under contract by J.P. Mascaro.
The Times Herald is the city's daily newspaper, printing seven days a week and serving most of Montgomery County. Founded on June 15, 1799, it is currently owned by 21st Century Media. The paper's staff offices are located within the municipality.
Despite the loss of its historic movie and vaudeville theaters, Norristown is home to two performing arts centers (the Montgomery County Cultural Center and Centre Theatre) and one professional theater company, Theatre Horizon. All are part of The Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia and the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.
These theaters form the nucleus for Norristown Arts Hill, a collection of theaters, art galleries, and professional firms on the 300-500 blocks of DeKalb Street in downtown.
Norristown’s Main Street contains a wide variety of upscale ethnic restaurants providing Korean/Japanese, Mexican, Ethiopian, Vietnamese, and Italian food.
Norristown has seen several new office buildings constructed or rehabbed over the last several decades. One Montgomery Plaza, the municipality’s iconic downtown 10-story office building, was built in the early 1970s, and is now owned by Montgomery County.
Two newer mid-rise downtown office buildings, the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit Building and the Department of Environmental Protection Building, were built in the 1990s and early 2000s. In 2009, the historic former Bell Telephone building was completely renovated for offices, and that same year the U.S. Roofing Corporation rehabbed the former Conte Luna pasta factory on East Main Street to house their operations. The former Sears building at the Studio Centre shopping center in the North End was renovated as a modern office center.
Since the early 2000s, the Regatta Apartments, the Rittenhouse condominium building, and dozens of new townhouses have contributed to a residential boom in the East End.
Two new downtown parking garages were built in the late 2000s, one at Main and Cherry Streets for visitors and another at SEPTA’s Norristown Transportation Center on Lafayette Street. Several large downtown and neighborhood streetscape projects were completed by the municipal government to install new street lighting, trees, curbing, and sidewalks along Main Street, DeKalb Street, and Powell Street.
The Lafayette Street Extension Project, a $60 million effort now underway by Montgomery County, PennDOT, and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), will improve highway access and mobility into downtown Norristown by widening Lafayette Street and extending it eastward toward Ridge Pike and Conshohocken, with eventual connections to the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-276) and the US 202 Dannehower Bridge.
Beth Halteman Harwell (born July 24, 1957, in Norristown, Pennsylvania) is the former Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives. She served as State Representative for Nashville and is a former Chair of the Tennessee Republican Party. First elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1988, Harwell served as a Republican Minority Whip and Commerce Committee Chair before being elected to the Speakership. She is the first woman to serve as Tennessee's Speaker of the House. In 2017 she announced her candidacy for Governor of Tennessee in the 2018 election.Buddy Bailey
Welby Sheldon "Buddy" Bailey (born March 28, 1957 in Norristown, Pennsylvania) is an American professional baseball manager and former Major League coach with 39 years of experience in the game, 30 as a minor league manager.
In 2016, his first season as skipper of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans of the Carolina League, Single-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, he led the Pelicans to the league championship. Previously, in 2015, he had spent his fourth consecutive season and fifth year overall as skipper of the Tennessee Smokies, the Cubs' Double-A Southern League affiliate. The veteran minor league pilot won his 1,500th game in May 2011 and exceeded the 2,000-win mark during 2016.Daren Queenan
Daren Queenan (born October 19, 1966) is a retired American professional basketball player. Born in Norristown, Pennsylvania, he attended Norristown High School as a teenager but went virtually unrecruited by colleges to play basketball except for nearby Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Queenan was an undersized center in high school, standing at 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m), but then-assistant Lehigh coach Fran McCaffery signed him to play for the Mountain Hawks and turned him into a shooting guard/small forward (toward the end of Queenan's career at Lehigh, McCaffery said, "You wouldn't believe how many coaches told me Daren couldn't play for them. Every coach makes mistakes, but when you say a kid can't play, and he scores 3,000 points, that's a mistake.") McCaffery would become Lehigh's head coach for Queenan's final three seasons.David R. Porter
David Rittenhouse Porter (October 31, 1788 – August 6, 1867) was the ninth Governor of Pennsylvania. He served from 1839 to 1845.Geno Lewis
Eugene "Geno" Brenton Lewis (born April 20, 1993) is a Canadian football wide receiver for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League (CFL). He played college football for the Penn State Nittany Lions and Oklahoma Sooners.George Bryan Porter
George Bryan Porter (February 9, 1791 – July 6, 1834), was an American statesman in Pennsylvania and Territorial Governor of Michigan from August 6, 1831, until his death on July 6, 1834.Jerry Spinelli
Jerry Spinelli (born February 1, 1941) is an American writer of children's novels that feature adolescence and early adulthood. He is best known for Maniac Magee, Stargirl and Wringer.Josh Culbreath
Joshua "Josh" Culbreath (born September 14, 1932) is an American former athlete who competed mainly in the 400 meter hurdles—the national outdoor champion from 1953 to 1955; three-time winner of the event in the Penn Relays in the same years, and Olympic bronze medal winner in 1956, while he was serving in the U.S. Marine Corps; and world record holder in 1957. Culbreath was inducted into the United States Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.Jules Fisher
Jules Fisher (born November 12, 1937) is an American lighting designer and producer. He is credited with lighting designs for more than 300 productions over the course of his 50-year career in Broadway and off-Broadway shows, as well extensive work in film, ballet, opera, television, and rock and roll concert tours. He has been nominated 20 times for Tony Awards (as a lighting designer) and won nine Tony awards for Lighting Design, more than any other lighting designer.Katie O'Donnell Bam
Kathleen "Katie" O'Donnell Bam (born December 6, 1988) is an American field hockey player. She was born in Norristown, Pennsylvania, and attended Wissahickon High School in Ambler, Pennsylvania. O'Donnell began playing for the University of Maryland Terrapins in the 2007 season. She was the youngest member of the 2005 United States women's national team and has become known for her excellent stick skills and ability to create. Her attributes were put on full display throughout her freshman campaign as she earned a starting position for the preseason number-one team in the country at forward.Larry Glueck
Larry Glueck (born October 5, 1941) is a former professional American football player who played defensive back for three seasons for the Chicago Bears. Glueck played for Villanova and appeared in the 1961 Sun Bowl and the 1962 Liberty Bowl with Villanova. He was selected by Chicago in the 3rd round of the 1963 Draft and was part of the Bears' 1963 NFL Championship team.Maria Bello
Maria Elena Bello (born April 18, 1967) is an American actress and writer. Her many film roles include Permanent Midnight (1998), Payback (1999), Coyote Ugly (2000), The Cooler (2003), A History of Violence (2005), The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), Prisoners (2013), and Lights Out (2016). Bello is known for her television roles as Dr. Anna Del Amico on the medical drama ER (1997–1998), with other starring roles including that as Lucy Robbins on the series Touch in 2013, as Michelle McBride on the first season of the series Goliath in 2016, and since 2017 as Special Agent Jacqueline "Jack" Sloane on the series NCIS.Norristown Area School District
Norristown Area School District is a school district located in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania in the United States. The school district serves the borough of Norristown, East Norriton Township, and West Norriton Township municipalities in central Montgomery County, just north-west of Philadelphia. The district is compiled of six elementary schools, three middle schools, and two high schools. The Philadelphia Inquirer has recognized Norristown Area School District as the most diverse district in the Pennsylvanian suburbs of the greater Philadelphia area. Dr. Janet C. Samuels was appointed superintendent on January 11, 2008. As of the 2018-2019 academic year, Mr. Christopher Dormer will be the superintendent for this district.Norristown Farm Park
Norristown Farm Park is a 690-acre (279 ha) Pennsylvania state park in East Norriton and West Norriton Townships and the Borough of Norristown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, in the United States. It is operated in partnership with the Montgomery County Department of Parks. The park is a working farm on the site of Norristown State Hospital. Many colonial era farm buildings and homes are on the grounds. Hiking, bicycling, ball fields, fishing, picnicking, and cross-country skiing are available in the park. The park hosts musical concerts in the summer. Stony Creek flows through the park. Norristown Farm Park is just off Interstate 276 on West Germantown Pike.Norristown Transportation Center
Norristown Transportation Center is a two-level multimodal public transportation regional hub located in Norristown, Pennsylvania, USA, operated by SEPTA. It opened in 1989 to replace the older Norristown High Speed Line (Route 100) terminus one block away at Main and Swede Streets, and integrated the former Reading Company DeKalb Street Norristown railroad station (built 1933) into its structure. A plaque embedded in the sidewalk (between the bus lane and Lafayette Streets) commemorates the location of one of the columns of the dismantled segment of the Philadelphia and Western Railroad (P&W) trestle.Peter Boyle
Peter Lawrence Boyle (October 18, 1935 – December 12, 2006) was an American actor. Known as a character actor, he played Frank Barone on the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond and the comical monster in Mel Brooks' film spoof Young Frankenstein (1974). He also starred in The Candidate. Boyle, who won an Emmy Award in 1996 for a guest-starring role on the science-fiction drama The X-Files, won praise in both comedic and dramatic parts following his breakthrough performance in the 1970 film Joe.Rick the Manager
Rick The Manager (born Richard Joseph "Rick" Russo in Norristown, Pennsylvania) is an American independent competitive eater currently residing in Royersford, Pennsylvania with his wife, Sherri. The self-proclaimed Competitive Eating Extraordinaire is best known for his unique appearance, toting his signature two-toned goatee and sunglasses, and the motto he lives by, "Eat Each Meal Like It's Your Last!"Roy Thomas (outfielder)
Roy Allen Thomas (March 24, 1874 – November 20, 1959) was a center fielder in Major League Baseball. From 1899 through 1911, he played for the Philadelphia Phillies (1899–1908, 1910–1911), Pittsburgh Pirates (1908) and Boston Doves (1909). Thomas batted and threw left-handed. He was born in Norristown, Pennsylvania, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. Thomas was the brother of fellow Major Leaguer, Bill Thomas.
According to baseball analyst Bill James, Thomas is the only major league regular to have scored three times as many runs as he drove in. In 1470 games played, Thomas compiled 1011 runs scored and 299 runs batted in, as he posted a .290 batting average with a .412 on-base average and 244 stolen bases.
During his 13-season career, Thomas was one of the most productive table-setters in the National League. His relentless patience at the plate infuriated opposing pitchers and prompted the NL to change its rule regarding foul balls in 1901. The new rule also was adopted by the American League two years later. He is, in fact, reported by James to hold the unofficial consecutive foul-ball record – 22, in one plate appearance.Thomas batted .325 in his rookie year with a .457 OBP via 115 walks, immediately establishing himself as the Philadelphia Phillies' leadoff hitter and center fielder. At the time foul balls were not counted as strikes, and Thomas, who became adept at fouling off good pitches, worked an astonishing number of 230 walks in his first two seasons. Ironically the rule-change had little effect on Thomas. After the new rule went into effect, he led the NL in walks six out of the next seven seasons (1901–04, 1906–07).
Thomas was sent to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1908 midseason. He also played for the Boston Doves in 1909, returning to the Phillies for the 1910–11 seasons. At his retirement, he held career fielding records for center fielders in putouts (NL) and fielding average (MLB). Thomas left a playing record that has endured. He ranks 20th all-time in walk percentage (.164), 29th all-time in on-base percentage (.412) and 84th all-time in walks (1,042).
Thomas became a coach with the University of Pennsylvania baseball team in 1909, and continued playing in the majors while coaching for three seasons. From 1909 to 1919, he compiled a record of 106–43–3 for a .632 winning percentage, comparable to the best college coaches of all time.
Thomas died in Norristown, Pennsylvania, at age 85, and was buried in the nearby Riverside Cemetery.Tim Briggs
Timothy P. Briggs (born January 3, 1970) is a Democratic member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, representing the 149th District since 2009. The district is located in Montgomery County, including Bridgeport, parts of Lower Merion Township, Upper Merion Township, West Conshohocken, and parts of West Norriton Township.