Norristown, Pennsylvania

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Norristown is a municipality in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, 6 miles (10 km) northwest of the city limits of Philadelphia, on the Schuylkill River. It is the county seat of Montgomery County.[1] Norristown is in a rich agricultural region; in the past, it had extensive manufactures of cigars, tacks, wire, screws, boilers, bolts, silos, tanks, iron, hosiery, knitting machines, underwear, shirts, lumber and milling machinery, paper boxes, rugs, carpets, etc.

Its official name is Municipality of Norristown, though it was formerly a borough operating under Pennsylvania's Borough Code and is frequently referred to as "the borough" even in statements by its officials. However, since 1986, Norristown has been governed under home rule charters, not under Pennsylvania's Borough Code. The 1986 charter was properly forwarded to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for inclusion in the Pennsylvania Code.[2] The succeeding 2004 home rule charter has not been so published, but may be read at the municipal website.[3] Some areas outside the municipality, in the surrounding townships, also have "Norristown, PA" mailing addresses. The entire Municipality of Norristown is within the 19401 ZIP code.

Norristown was incorporated as a borough in 1812, its population then being about 500. It was subsequently enlarged in 1853 and 1909. In 1900, 22,265 people lived here; in 1910, 27,875; in 1920, 32,319; and in 1940, 38,181, making Norristown the most populous borough in Pennsylvania. As of 2004, Norristown population was 30,873.



Norristown was one of the largest communities under Pennsylvania's borough form of government. The borough form of government permitted the city to be protected by volunteer fire departments, as does a Home Rule Charter, for example. Located on the Schuylkill River, it was established as a mill town and as a seat of county government.

At one time Norristown was a retail center for the rural areas outside of Philadelphia. With the growth of suburban communities and large shopping malls including the King of Prussia Mall and the Plymouth Meeting Mall in the outlying townships, Norristown's retail sector steadily declined and eventually collapsed.

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