February 12, 1913: Historic Site Leased for Bank Expansion


By Margaret Leidy Harner from her book One Day at a Time: A Social History of Boyertown, PA.

February 12, 1913: “It was the surprise of the decade that the church property was given over for a business building.” The National Bank of Boyertown (now Truist Bank) has leased the property at the corner of Philadelphia and Reading Avenues for 99 years from the Old Mennonite congregation to erect a bank building on that section for their cemetery, with the agreement that it will maintain the entire cemetery, the oldest in town.

After resting in their graves undisturbed for years, five well-preserved skeletons were carefully and respectfully removed and reinterred in the Fairview Cemetery. Those five bodies were the only ones removed, and the bank officials received the complete approval and agreement of their descendants before embarking on the enterprise.

The building that the bank erects must “harmonize admirably with the surroundings and not detract from the sanctity of the place.” For the use of the property, the bank will pay an annual rent of $100.

The site is historic: the first school building in Boyertown stood here about 200 years ago. The bank later purchased the property, including the meetinghouse, from the Mennonite congregation.

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