As we celebrate the opening of our brand new apartment homes at Matson Mill this July, there’s no better time to learn about the history of our hometown of Conshohocken. As we enjoy river views of the Schuylkill River and access to nightlife and Philadelphia, here are some interesting things to know about the history of Conshy.
Origin of Conshohocken’s Name
Believe it or not, the name Conshohocken has several meanings depending on language. What do we mean? Well, the name “Conshohocken” actually comes from the Unami language and is derived from one of two words – Kanshi’hak’ing, meaning “elegant ground place” or Chottschinschu’hak’ing which can be translated into “big trough ground place” or “large bowl ground place.” It’s easy to see why some of us just refer to the area as simply “Conshy.”
Interestingly enough, the “large bowl ground place” translation actually refers to the big bend in the Schuylkill River at the Conshohocken curve, which was once referred to as Turtle River.
Matson’s Ford and the Founding of Conshy
Conshohocken was first settled in 1820 and for several years was simply known as Matson’s Ford. It wasn’t until a decade later that the settlement was officially organized and recognized as a town and given its present day name.
A Center of Industry
Throughout the 1800s and 1900s, Conshohocken suddenly began to play a major role in the development of southeastern Pennsylvania. With industrial firms like Alan Wood Iron and Steel Company and Lee of Conshohocken automobile tire company, the growth of the town’s industry brough wealthy Quaker mills and landowners to our town. As jobs popped up in town, laborers from Ireland, Poland, Italy and other European countries soon arrived to fill the labor positions.
It wasn’t until the early 20th century that Conshohcken’s industries expanded, moving outside borough limits and allowing the town to evolve from an industrial power house to a primarily residential community.