Historic Collegeville

Perkiomen Bridge
Perkiomen Bridge, Collegeville

Known initially as Freeland, Collegeville developed primarily in the 1800s and was officially incorporated as a borough in 1896. A small area at the eastern end was first known as Perkiomen Bridge. The town is named after several early colleges, including Freeland Seminary, founded in 1848 by Rev. Abraham Hunsicker, and the Pennsylvania Female College, founded in 1851 as Montgomery Female Seminary and chartered in 1853. The successor to these institutions was Ursinus College, founded in 1868 by Dr. John H. A. Bomberger (1817–1890), who also served as its first president. Ursinus was named after the German Reformed theologian Zacharias Baer (”Ursinus” in Latin). In 1869, Ursinus College acquired the former Freeland Seminary buildings. The Pennsylvania Female College closed in 1880, and Ursinus became coeducational the following year; Freeland Seminary continued to operate under the aegis of Ursinus until 1910. The Ursinus campus is home to several dozen outdoor sculptures, including works by Lynn Chadwick, J. Seward Johnson Jr., and Steve Tobin.

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