The village of King of Prussia looks like an English hamlet. As you enter you pass a number of neat little dwellings, each with its old fashioned garden, a shady old bridge over the little creek that runs through the middle of the village; then comes the blacksmith shop, the store, the doctor’s, and opposite the latter, the King of Prussia Inn which for a century and a quarter has dispensed good cheer to man and beast.
-from a journal, “Country Walks in 1889,” by Charles Francis Saunders
In a town where so much has been defined by its growth toward the future, the railroads are a microcosm of King of Prussia as it has traveled the path from an agrarian backwater to a business centered hub of activity. In retrospect, one can look back to no further than Upper Merion’s graduating class of 1934 as unwittingly foreshadowing the sea of change about to descend upon King of Prussia and the township as a whole. King of Prussia in 1934 was not all that different from the village described by Charles Francis Saunders in “Country Walks in 1889.”
It was still largely a rural sleepy town overshadowed by its industrial neighbors Norristown and Conshohocken. For those Upper Merion graduates about to leave their childhoods behind, little did they realize how different a place they would be coming back to in less than twenty years. Those changes to the township, and more specifically to King of Prussia, mirror that of the dwindling significance of the railroads as a means of transportation.