A high level view of the development of Springfield Township and surrounding areas is available to us in the form of maps. Using an internet connection, you can examine them from the 1700s up through modern times. Some of the early maps are simple road maps, showing towns and villages with the names of roads in that era. Later maps have more detail, showing where buildings were located, names of property owners, rail lines and various other items that will fascinate many of us.
To begin, you’ll need a computer with a high-speed internet connection, a fairly current web browser and a current Adobe PDF viewer. Maps contain large amounts of details, so viewing them with dial up connections would be very slow and frustrating. To get the most out of these maps, you’ll also need to be comfortable with “scrolling” and “zooming” in a web browser. Folks who aren’t computer wizards or don’t have high-speed connections may want to visit the library or ask neighbor High School and College students for consultation.
When looking at maps, keep in the back of your mind that older maps aren’t as accurate as the newer ones. Some of the maps were intended for planning purposes and contain roads that were to be built in the future, and never built. Also, map makers would imbed errors in maps, so that if they were illegally copied, the errors would be copied, proving the theft.
An impressive source of maps and aerial photographs is www.philageohistory.org. While it is targeting Philadelphia, our township is adjacent and included in many of the maps. If you visit this site, you’ll see two main sections, a “Resource Browser” containing individual maps and aerial photographs and an “Interactive Maps Viewer” which lets you overlay maps and photographs, so you can see the differences between them. The resource browser should be your starting point. It is much easier to use and contains a larger variety of maps. Some of the maps are books of maps. You’ll need to identify the “Plates” for our township. See the list below for guidance.
All of the maps are dated. This should help you find things such as “Chestnut Hill Park” or the “Fort Washington railroad” since they had known life spans.
Andy’s Antique Atlases is another source of maps with interesting details. Springfield Township is contained in three maps. Click on “Pennsylvania” then click on “Montgomery” then “1893.” You’ll then see a list of plates. Springfield is in one plate and Whitemarsh in two plates. The Whitemarsh plates will cover the edges of Springfield.
Montgomery county has a web site for tax records. In addition to information tracing prior ownership of land parcels, the site has mapping of the plots that can be “zoomed.” I’d use this as a “current” view of Springfield Township.
Two more websites, containing aerial views of our area, were brought to our attention by Jim Cooper, of Glenside. Penn Pilot, from the Pennsylvania Geological Survey, contains aerial views of the area from the late 30’s to the early 40’s. Historic Aerials, a commercial site, has aerial views from 1948 to the present. You can find a view that you are interested in, and then, by clicking on the different years, see how the area has changed over time.
If you have any additional links or information regarding Springfield Township maps, please forward them to firstname.lastname@example.org for STHS. The author of this article, Raymond Gery Smith, has been a resident of Springfield Township for 21 years and a longstanding member of Springfield Township Historical Society.
Here is a LIST OF MAPS showing Springfield Township in PhilaGeoHistory
- 1792 Map of PA showing Springfield township
- 1808 Plan of the City of Philadelphia and environs showing the portion of Sringfield township outside of Germantown, but identified as part of Bristol
- 1822 Map of PA showing Springfield township and identifying Flour Town.
- 1843 A Map of the County of Philadelphia from Actual Survey shows Bethlehem Turnpike ( N. Wales Road) from the Tollgate, going into Springfield Township. Identifies a building labeled “Peterman” along Bethlehem pike and buildings labeled “Streeper” along county line road
- 1844 The Tourist’s Pocket Map of Pennsylvania showing “Flower Town” and “Chesnut Hill”
- 1847 Map of the Circuit of 10 Miles Around Philadelphia showing Springfield and the names of various land owners
- 1848 Map of PA showing Springfield Township
- 1853 Map of the Vicinity of Philadelphia from actual surveys showing Springfield Township Buildings and owners.
- 1855 New Map of the Consolidated City of Philadelphia showing Springfield and “Flower Town”. Building are identified with names. Road “to Willow Grove” is now Papermill road.
- 1857 County, Township and railroad map of the State of Pennsylvania showing Springfield and “Flowertown”
- 1860 12 Miles Around Philadelphia (Church road is called “Cherry Road”
- 1861Map of Philadelphia (appears to be a planning map with roads not yet built)
- 1873 New Topographical Atlas of the State of Pennsylvania (see page 83 for Springfield Township)
- 1876 Scattergood’s map of 16 miles around Philadelphia shows Flowertown station on the Plymouth railroad and Lafayette station on the Norristown Railroad
- 1877 Atlas of Philadelphia and Environs page 69 shows Springfield Township.
- 1889 Baist’s Map of Philadelphia and Environs shows Springfield Township land owners, schools, hotels and other points of interest.
- 1890 Noll’s New Road, Driving and Bycycle Map of Philadelphia and Surrounding County shows Springfield Township hotels and “White marsh Sta” in Oreland
- 1891 Atlas of the Properties Along the North Pennsylvania, Bound Brook, and Pennsylvania Railroads shows detailed properties and buildings in Flourtown and Oreland in plates 6 & 7
- 1893 Map of Philadelphia and Environs shows buildings and owners in Springfield Township. Note the Fort Washington RR
- 1895 Map of the City of Philadelphia and Vicinity shows streets in Springfield Township
- 1897 Baist’s Map Showing the Development of the City and Suburbs of Philadelphia shows detailed land ownership. Springfield is in plates 1, 2, 5 & 6. The name “Wyndmoor” is used
- 1901 Rand McNally map shows trolley line to Chestnut Hill Park
- 1930 Aerial Survey of Philadelphia, PA Plates 6 and 25 are Springfield Township. Whitemarsh hall is in plate 6. Oreland and Flourtown are in plate 25.
- 1934 J. M. Brewer’s Map of Philadelphia shows streets in Wyndmoor. Shows Asbestos station at Queen St.