In the late 1720s, Franconia Township encompassed parts of what are now Souderton and Telford. Together the three municipalities fell under the jurisdiction of Salford Township. In 1731, Franconia split from its neighboring communities to form its own municipality.
Franconia means “land of the Franks.” Beginning in the 1600s, a large German population began to grow in Franconia, and descendents of some of the township’s original settlers still live here.
Early Franconia residents found that Indian Creek and its valley had its own population of already established Native Americans, whose artifacts can still be found within the area.
Religious freedom attracted the European immigrants who settled here. Franconia’s earliest church is believed to be Indianfield (Little Zion) Church, which was built with logs in 1730. In 1734, only 34 people landholders lived in Franconia, and nearly all were German. The town included:
By 1882, the population exploded, with:
Much of Franconia’s population was Mennonite, and they built meeting places and churches for worship throughout the township, including:
With the onset of the automobile in the early 1900s, village shops gave way to borough stores which became more accessible with the improvement of roads. As reliance on cars increased, residents used the railroads less. A testament to those changes, Bergey’s Automobiles was established in 1924, and continues to succeed today.
Suburbanization spread following World War II, along with commercial and industrial growth in Franconia. Early 20th century farmers created agribusinesses, many of which are still successful today, such as Moyer Packing, Pilgrim’s Pride, Marcho Farms, and Leidy’s.
Today, Franconia remains a popular place to settle, and community leaders work hard to balance the opportunity for growth with the desire for preservation.