Harleysville: Then and Now

harleysville_beneficial_paHarleysville, Montgomery County

The Harleysville area was settled by the Pennsylvania Dutch in the early 18th century, but the first significant growth didn’t come until 1735 with the construction of the Maxatawny Road (now the Sumneytown Pike).

Around 1750, an enterprising individual, John Isaac Klein, saw opportunity in the increased traffic and built a two-story inn and tavern. The establishment prospered, and in 1795, it was purchased by Samuel Harley, who ran it for the next 40 years. He was the Harley after whom the town was named.

The management of the Harleysville Hotel has changed many times since then, but it is still a good place to go for lunch or dinner, or to just relax at the bar and watch a game. Harleysville boast an abundance of other restaurants along Main Street, including The Butcher and Barkeep, JJ Asian Cuisine,  Amans and the Curry Leaf, Brazzo’s and Villa Vito for Italian Cuisine, Perky Joes and the Energy Station for quick bites, and the Mainland Inn.

Alvin Alderfer, another historic resident, founded Harleysville Insurance in 1915 (pictured above), when he gathered the community’s leading citizens to form an association to protect their cars. Each member would contribute a small membership fee to a fund that would pay the costs of recovering or replacing any of the members’ stolen cars. The association grew into one of the country’s first automobile insurance companies. Harleysville’s Alderfer Recreation Area still bears his name. Harleysville Community Center Park and Daniel Roth Park are two other green spaces.

Nearby Mainland Golf Course offers 18 public holes that reward straight hitters, while Lederach Golf Club is one of Golf Digest’s Top 35 Municipal Courses in America. The Indian Valley YMCA provides programs for members of all ages, with an indoor pool and 6,000 sq./ft of family wellness facilities.

 

 

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