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Where Bucks and Montgomery Shake Hands
Written by Larry Roeder, Editor
2023-03-21

            With the bridge in Pennsburg now officially closed until later this year and folks traveling beyond the areas of the local boroughs, I thought it might be fun to hear a little about some of the places you might find yourself passing through.

            The village of Aurora, I mean Geryville, is one of them.  The small village

In 1897, a large three-story factory was constructed across the

street from the Geryville "Publick" house.  The factory was

well known for the "Orange Flower" cigars rolled there.  The

business closed around 1940, and the building was razed in

1976. 

located in the northwest corner of Bucks County, just across the Montgomery County and Upper Hanover Township lines, hasn't been called by its former name since 1865. 

            In 1735, the Provincial Council of Philadelphia authorized a road to help connect Philadelphia with Southern Lehigh County.  Over the years, the road was called Kings Highway, Kings High Road, Sumneytown and Gerysville Turnpike, Macungie Road, and more.  The section of the roadway that passes through the Upper Perkiomen Valley is known today as the Geryville Pike. 

            For over 100 years it was privately owned and poorly maintained.  Back then sections of the road were described as little better than a wagon trail.  Well, that's what it was.  It was also the quickest way to get from Sumneytown to Macungie at the time.

            Michael Horlacher opened a tavern along the new stretch of road in 1745 to serve travelers.  George Horlacher, Michael's son, was captain of a local militia company during the Revolutionary War

            That same tavern would later take a place in history in connection with the Fries Rebellion.  From 1796 to 1802 Conrad Marks owned the inn.  He was an outspoken opponent of a new federal property tax levied to finance a possible war with France. 

            The local farmers were generally peaceful, but they were hit hard by the tax.  They needed only a leader to spur them to action.  They found one in local auctioneer John Fries who led a small army of about 150 armed men from Marks' tavern to

From about 1825 to the end of the 19th century the inn at

Geryville was known as the Black Horse tavern.  Over the

years, the tavern saw several name changes.  Among them,

Geryville Hotel, Geryville Publick House, Thatched Inn, and

currently, Jamison Publick House.

Bethlehem to free some prisoners, but that's another story. 

            From about 1825 to the end of the 19th century the inn was known as the Black Horse tavern.  Over the years, the tavern saw several name changes.  Among them, Geryville Hotel, Geryville Publick House, Thatched Inn, and, currently, Jamison Publick House.

            The village grew around the tavern.  Aurora had a postmaster back as far as 1829.  The position was discontinued in 1836.  Back then, the postmaster was paid 40% of the gross receipts.  I found a ledger entry from the period of October 1829 through March 1830 that reports gross receipts of $1.80.  The village took the name of Gery around 1865, and in 1871 the name was changed to Gerysville when Jesse Gery became its postmaster.

            It has been written that the town originally took its name from Jesse's father, John.  The "s" was dropped later and it became Geryville. 

            By the way, Jesse was a previous owner of the Geryville Publick House.  In addition to a post office, early maps show a tannery, a wheelwright shop, and a pottery.  There were many farms surrounding Geryville, and tanneries were common in the region.  In addition to a post office, by the 1870s, there was a general store, one-room schoolhouse, livery stable, blacksmith, wagon maker, shoemaker, and harness maker.  The little village also had a tannery and a pottery.

            Like many other local communities, the cigar-making business thrived there for a time.  In 1897, a large three-story factory was constructed across the street from the Geryville "Publick" house.  The factory was well known for the "Orange Flower" cigars rolled there.  The business closed around 1940, and the building was razed in 1976. 

            Next to the cigar factory was the village store operated by the Ulysses Grant Loux family.  The building housed a telegraph office, shoemaker shop, greengrocer, and wheelwright and harness business.  At one point there was even a livery stable there.  In later years it operated as a general store.

            The little village even had its own schoolhouse in the early years.

            For many years, the other main road in Geryville was Route 663.  Some folks around here may still remember the quick left (onto Geryville Pike) and quick right turn (onto Spinnerstown Road) when traveling from Pennsburg to Quakertown.  The thoroughfare was relocated in 1973 to its current location. 

            The roadway of the original Geryville Pike was supposed to be 52 feet wide, which indicates that officials anticipated unusually heavy traffic around the area.  With the coming of the Perkiomen Railroad and construction that extended the Goshenhoppen-Green Lane Turnpike (Route 29) into Berks County, and ultimately to Lehigh County, the highway with the hills, valleys, and curves never really became more than an alternate route to the Lehigh Valley.


 

 

 

 

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