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New Berlin and Vicinity

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In 1792 George Long, a German from Lancaster County, finally accomplished what colonists had tried to achieve for four decades: a permanent settlement on Penns Creek (the apostrophe was removed by act of legislature in 1802). Longa Stettle (in English, Long's Town) evoked medieval small towns familiar to his German clientele. The town plat laid out by Frederick Evans exhibited intelligence and foresight. A commons on the north side of Penns Creek (now a park) provided pastureland for livestock and insured public access to the river trade on the Susquehanna, while the valley on the south side was available for cultivation. The town's first center consisted of a widening of the two blocks of Old Market Street (now Front Street) between Plum and Union streets. When New Berlin was made the county seat in 1813, the town added a civic center to its commercial one. The courthouse, county offices, and jail were situated one block up the hill on a new Market Street (PA 304), the broad road built across the county by Philadelphian Reuben Haines in 1766. German congregations constructed the red brick Reformed (1825), Lutheran (1868), and Evangelical (1873) churches on the new Market Street between Union and Plum streets. At the east end of the new market square, two blocks were set back for vendors who flocked to the county seat. A mill built in 1816 was refitted to produce electricity in 1918, but there never was any heavy industry in New Berlin. When the county seat relocated to Lewisburg in 1855, the economy suffered a setback but endured and changed very little over the next century.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas

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