Displaying items by tag: Upper Dublin

Thursday, 28 March 2019 19:52

Tornado hits Jarrettown

May of 1896 witnessed one of the worst tornado outbreaks in American history. It lasted about two weeks and spawned tornados all over the south and Midwest, including three F5 tornados (the more severe category). On the final day of the outbreak, an F3 tornado touched down in Jarrettown then cut a path 35 miles east into New Jersey.


A photo of Judge Knight with his parents from about 1919

I hadn’t heard about this tornado until one of our volunteers, Rita Thomas, told me about some newspaper clippings she had found in Judge Harold Knight’s diary of 1956. I was excited to learn more, but disappointed to see that our collection of the Ambler Gazette on microfilm starts in 1898. Luckily, you can find the paper from 1896 on PA Power Library through the Wissahickon Valley Public Library. The Weekly Herald of Norristown covered it, too, but the Gazette had this sketch of Alexander Knight’s house, one of the oldest in the borough of Ambler.


Here’s a photo from our own collection of the house taken in 1971. Alexander Knight was Judge Harold Knight’s father, and this was his home as well.


The Gazette article focused on the damage from the storm. Two men were killed inside the carriage barn of the Jarrettown Hotel when a wall collapsed. They were Winfield Ensley and Alfred Moffit. Several others were injured. The Jarrettown Public School was badly damaged as was the Jarrrettown United Methodist Church. Both of those buildings had to be rebuilt.

The Weekly Herald of June 1st, focused on the sightseeing, claiming “Effects of the Cyclone Must be Seen to Be Appreciated.” The article estimated that 4,000 people had already come to see the damage which included several collapsed barns and many uprooted trees.

Published in Found in Collection
Thursday, 02 November 2017 20:32

The Village of Three Tuns

3 tuns

Located at the corner of Butler Pike and Norristown Road, the village of Three Tuns in Upper Dublin township derives its name from a tavern built at that intersection.  The tavern, built in the mid-eighteenth century by Jacob Timanus, had three wine casks (also called “tuns”) on its sign.  In 1803, John Collom began operating the Three Tuns Inn at the same location.


The inn was the center of public life in the village for many decades.  Various meetings, including the first meeting of the Association for the Recovery of Stolen Horses, Detention of Horse Thieves, and Obtaining Other Stolen Property, were held there, as were the earliest court sessions in the township.  The inn burned down in 1948.


Clement Jones built his store in 1834 across the street from the Three Tuns Inn,.  It also served as the village’s post office, and it was the first home of the Union Library of Upper Dublin until the library moved into Ambler in 1888.  This building was demolished in 1907 when Wilmer Atkinson bought the property for his new mansion.  Atkinson was the publisher of the Farm Journal.



A humorous pair of portraits of Wilmer Atkinson from a booklet celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Farm Journal

Atkinson had been raised in Three Tuns and returned to the area after the success of the Farm Journal.  He allowed the public free access to his large property and built a new post office for the community.  He also bought the gained control of the corporation that owned and ran Butler Pike, and, according to Edward Hocker, was known to hand out boxes of strawberries at the toll gate.  He died in 1920.



Published in Found in Collection