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HISTORY LIVES: Village of Edison


The Village of Edison south of Doylestown was formerly called Bridge Point, due to its seven-arch stone bridge which was part of the main road connecting Philadelphia with Doylestown, Easton and New York City. The bridge also carried the Philadelphia-to-Easton electric trolley line, established in 1898 and discontinued in 1931.

Before the trolley, there was a toll gate on the main road at the corner of Turk Road. The one-way toll was two cents, which some folks considered an outrageous price. There is a story that one of the village characters would go into Doylestown on Saturday nights and, on the way home, with his horse and buggy cruising at a high speed, would blast through the wooden toll gates in protest.

The bridge crossed the Neshaminy Creek which, in the late 18th century, powered a grist mill, an oil mill and a sawmill. The first mills were established in the village around 1789 by Gilbert Rodman. Then in 1808 Dr. Samuel Moore, an enterprising businessman and former medical doctor, arrived in Bridge Point. Moore bought the grist and oil mills, and also established a woolen factory.

These enterprises employed many people, so he also built shops, a schoolhouse and several dwellings for his workers. Thus, Bridge Point became a thriving industrial site in the early 19th century. Since the village was on the road from Philadelphia to New York, many travelers stopped at the tavern or general store. Legend has it that the hamlet also attracted people from the area to watch public hangings at what was called the hanging tree across the Neshaminy Creek.

The village was renamed Edison in 1880 when the post office was established. Some sources say the name was in honor of Thomas A. Edison; however inventor Edison had not yet become well known. According to another source, it was more likely named in honor of Edison Bratsing, son of Jacob Bratsing, who owned an old mill in the village. In 1951, PA 611 was rerouted around Edison, thereby preserving the historic charm of the village. In the early 1990s, a new township green space named Bridge Point Park was developed at Edison and Quarry roads along the Neshaminy. An original wheelwright building was restored; the former general store served as Edison Furniture shop for many years (but is now closed); the old schoolhouse has been converted into a residence; and a few of the original homes remain in the picturesque village.

Sources: Doylestown Patriot, Aug. 6, 1992; Daily Intelligencer, Sept. 5, 1991; Doylestown Panorama, January 1962.

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