The Borough of Rockledge was formed from Abington Township in the early 1890’s, as a result of in-migration from the Fox Chase area of Philadelphia. Building associations bought the few farms located along what is now Huntingdon Pike and subdivided the tracts into lots for housing. A historic map of Abington and Cheltenham townships in 1877, clearly shows the large farm tracts which were subdivided to form the Borough.
This new settlement concentration was originally called Sylvania. However, with the incorporation of the area as a borough on January 9, 1893, the name Rockledge was adopted. Thus the history of the Borough and its growth and development pattern only date back about 80 years.
By 1900, Rockledge had a total population of 512 persons. Many of the original homes in the Borough were built adjacent to the Lawnview Cemetery and Fox Chase Road on the south side of what is now Huntingdon Pike. Since the subdivider of the property was named Strock, this neighborhood became known as Strockville.
The was formed in 1903, and the first firehouse was located on Sylvania Avenue below Huntingdon Pike. One of the fire company’s major tests occurred before World War I when the Jarrett Avenue Knitting Mill burned down briefly threatening the entire Borough.
The original Rockledge Elementary School building was erected in 1888 as a two room school built by the Rockledge Hall and School Company. After it was destroyed by fire in 1902, a new stone building opened in September 1903. This school was much larger and was built at the same location at Robbins and Huntingdon Pike. The School closed in 1977, and the building currently serves as the Rockledge Municipal Building.
Rockledge probably acquired its name from the old stone quarry which was located on the south side of the 200 block of Huntingdon Pike, tapering back toward Lynnwood Road and Jarrett Avenue. This quarry was most active between 1916 and 1920; at one point it reached a depth of over 100 feet. By 1925, the quarry was filled in with truckloads of junk and coal ashes brought in as landfill from Philadelphia.
Secession from Montgomery County and annexation by Philadelphia gained much support from 1916 to 1923. The close local identification with Fox Chase was primarily responsible for the strength of this movement. A petition to the County Court of Quarter Sessions was initiated, but resulted in a refusal by the judges. After the Court’s rejection, the movement was abandoned, primarily because the Borough residents had second thoughts about Philadelphia’s higher taxes and the distant location of its high schools. MORE
Fox Chase traces its beginnings to a group of Swedish settlers arriving in the middle 1600s. Built at the junction of Oxford Pike and Huntingdon Pike, both toll roads, it grew because it offered good access to transportation. That the roads remain heavily traveled even today testifies to the value in travel.
The oldest known existing building in Fox Chase is the Blue Ox Brauhaus, which was built as an inn in 1683. The two roads already mentioned were named for roads or areas in England. The third main road, Rhawn Street, was named for a banker, William Rhawn, who built a summer home named Knowlton at the corner of Verree Road and Rhawn Street.