Ambler, Pennsylvania which was once a 400-acre farm owned by William and George Harmer in the early 1700s, is now a thriving town of nearly 7,000 people. William Harmer is credited with the mill, the first commercial venture in the area built near and powered by the Wissahickon Creek, along with the stone building with diamond-shaped windows currently located at the corners of Butler Pike and Morris Road, which served as his home.
The History of Ambler, PA
The town’s first road, Mt. Pleasant Avenue, was built in 1730. It started at Harmer’s Mill and went to what is now called Bethlehem Pike. In 1739 a road called Butler Pike was created to go through town, also known as the Village of Wissahickon. It slowly grew to include an inn, a tannery, and several mills including flour, timber, paper, and cloth that were all powered by the creek. The mills were in continuous operation until the late 1800s when steam-powered technology rendered them obsolete.
The town continued to grow with the addition of Wissahickon Station on the North Pennsylvania Railroad line, which was the site of a horrific train crash in 1856. A local Quaker, Mary Johnson Ambler, walked two miles to the site while carrying medical supplies to help with rescue efforts. She welcomed injured people into her home and used it as a makeshift hospital. In return for her generosity, the station was renamed Ambler, soon followed by the post office and, in 1888 the town name was formally incorporated as well.
Ambler, PA, was once known as the “asbestos capital of the world,” but after extensive remediation performed from 1973 to 1993 that was supervised and funded by the United States EPA, the site was removed from their list of priorities and attention shifted to a nearby pond and park for remediation. The EPA continues to monitor the areas to ensure safe conditions for town residents. In 2013, the old asbestos factory was successfully converted into a LEED Platinum Certified office building, complete with a grey-water system, geothermal heating and cooling, solar panels, and a reflective roof system.
Art & Culture in Ambler, PA
Ambler, PA is home to a full range of artistic destinations. Initially operating in the 1920s, the Ambler Theater, a Warner Brothers movie theater, was restored as a non-profit community theater showing independent and limited-distribution films. Founded in 1951, the Ambler Symphony Orchestra continues to perform several concerts every year. The Act II Playhouse, founded in 1998, is a professional theatre and has been nominated for 31 Barrymore Awards.
The Ambler post office is also home to a mural painted by Harry Sternberg called The Family, Industry and Architecture. The mural was part of a fine arts project funded by the U.S. Treasury Department to boost American morale following the devastating effects of the Great Depression.
Ambler, Pennsylvania Today
Ambler is home to a variety of people and has a vibrant, walkable downtown area with something for everyone. With destinations including dining, shopping, nightlife, and various entertainment outlets, there’s plenty to do in Ambler. Locals love the weekly Farmer’s Market where farmers and artisans bring fresh, regional products that move with the seasons. From plants to sustainably raised meats and eggs, grab a local brew and enjoy an afternoon with friends and family.
The monthly “First Friday’s” events are held from May through October and include a range of specials, activities, and promotions. The free Kid’s Zone is a place for little ones to enjoy crafts, games, bouncing inflatables, shows, and more. Live music and original art are always on display, and food and drinks are part of the fun. Shop local and support small businesses while enjoying a night on the town with friends and neighbors.
For those who love to stretch their legs in the great outdoors, the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association maintains a nature reserve and hiking trail that runs to Philadelphia! If that seems like too much of a trek, the Association hosts numerous events throughout the year for guests of all ages. From creek exploration expeditions for the kids to bird watching walks for adults, there are activities for every age and ability. If you’re feeling athletic, try the annual Tex-Mex 5k Race for Open Space that ends with an ice-cold margarita, or volunteer to help with the fundraiser and give back to those who dedicate themselves to preserving natural areas for the community.
Why Choose Ambler, PA?
The locals will tell you that Ambler is an excellent place for everyone. Whether you’re young and getting a fresh start, raising a family of your own, or settling down after a fruitful career, there’s plenty to keep everyone busy. Plus, Ambler is easily accessible by both car and train, thanks to the tracks dating back to the 1800s. And, for anyone looking to live in Montgomery County, you’ll find that Ambler is one of the most affordable locations to rent a home in the county.
Whether you’re looking to rent or buy a place in Ambler, PA, Bay Management Group is here to help. Contact our team of property managers today to get started finding the space for you.