Bridgeport, PA was named for being a port, as well as the Bridge to Valley Forge. Before it found its name there was already a lot going on here. William Penn was given the grant of all the land contained in Pennsylvania in the 1680’s, and his family was tasked with populating and the dividing of it. Penn’s daughter, Letitia owned what was called manor of Mount Joy. She sold the settling rights for ten cents an acre, plus twenty-five cents a year rent for each hundred acres used. Settlers from North Wales were the first takers.
By 1712 Swedish settlers came up the Schuylkill River, to land on the shores of what is now Bridgeport. They purchased huge partials of land from the Welsh and began to build. One of the first log homes was off Crooked Lane outside King Manor. Four generations of the builder Mats Holstein lived in that home. Hutchinson’s plumbing also has a legacy of four generations of Plumbing and HVAC contractors that provide excellence, but that came 236 years later.
Mats Holstein stretched a rope across the river and created a crossing that came to be known as Swede’s Ford. By 1760 the family had a ferry service and a road of the same name extended from his land to a Welsh settlement in Tredyffrin. Sometimes the ferrymen had to work their farms so there were substantial delays for passengers. Holstein saw the opportunity and opened the Swedes Ford Tavern.
The crossing became so popular and commonly used, General Washington saw it fit to fortify both sides of the river here prior to the coming Revolutionary war battles. After they were completed, the same engineer, General Louis Du Portail planned a bridge to be built here. He was hurried with the war effort and troops needed to cross right away so he lined up thirty-six wagons and quickly planked the tops of them so the weary troops could cross the freezing river.
They were able to cross in a single file, but it took all night. The shouting of starving men, crying of horses and squeals of equipment is legendary in the area. The British spies retreated due to the cold of the night. The troops moved forward to Gulph Mills, and it is said that general Washington waited until they all safely passed at the Swedes Ford tavern. Unfortunately, the site was cleared for railroad tracks and is now lost to history.
The tracks provided an industrial boom to the area, which came after the place was already well known as an innovative heart of industry. First, there were shad fisheries, then a sawmill that became a grist mill. This dominated the flour market in the valley until more local mills appeared in 1856. Eventually, the mill was turned to a phosphate company that extended to other products. More businesses followed, marble quarry’s, cars, an iron foundry, casting services, carpenters, brickworks and a bonnet company that made over 75,000 headpieces.
With all of that business history and innovation, Hutchinson Plumbing feels right at home providing services here. We have been innovating heating and air conditioning systems and repair services locally, for seventy years. Our expert local contractors are highly trained and skilled in all aspects of plumbing and HVAC. Hutchinson’s is ready for your call 24/7 and can help repair any heating or air conditioning emergency.