Ferndale, Pennsylvania

How did Ferndale, Pennsylvania get it’s name? This page provides a brief history about the naming of Ferndale, Pennsylvania, the people who settled it, and the industry rising within it.

Ferndale is a village in northern central Nockamixon Township on the Easton Road (Route 611). Until about sixty years ago the village was known as Rum Corner, not, it is said, because of excessive amounts of ardent spirits used there, but by reason of its being for a number of years the headquarters of a rectifier and distiller. The post office was established about 1880, when it received its present name. At that time the village had wheelwright and blacksmith shops, hotel, two stores, several factories making heavy miners’ shoes, and later a creamery. The creamery is still in operation, but the shoe factories closed down years ago. A short distance west of the village is the old Nockamixon Union Church (St. Luke’s, Lutheran and Reformed). The Lutheran congregation was likely organized as early as 1752. Records of the Reformed congregation begin 1773. though the congregation itself may be some years older. The first church, a log structure, stood near Center Hill school house on the Ferndale-Erwinna Road and about three-fourths of a mile from the present church. It was probably built in 1760. No vestige of the building remains and the near-by graveyard is entirely obliterated. The lint building on the present site, finished in 1814, was reputed to be the finest church edifice of that day in Upper Bucks. This was replaced by the present building, dedicated May 20, 1877. In the adjoining graveyard rest members of many old Nockamixon families. One of the tombstones bears this inscription: “Ludwig Afflerbach, born in Shormader, in the Burg Wittgenstein, in Germany, April 11, 1758, arrived in Philadelphia, September 30, 1773, and departed this life January 28, 1832, aged 78 years, 9 months and 7 days.” Afflerbach in his younger days was a wagonero on the great highway between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh via Lancaster, amassing a fortune in the business. At the time of his death he owned five farms in Nockamixon and Durham Townships. Jacob Sumstone, son-in-law of Afflerbach, Lewis Sumstone, a brother of Jacob, and Jacob’s son Jacob were all Pittsburgh wagoners, and for a time after they went out of business they kept their old freight wagons, which were ob-jects of great interest to people curious about old things. The wagons were painted blue, were about 13 feet long, body 3 1/2 feet high, and were drawn by six horses. Bridle plumes and hame bells were almost an essential detail of the harness.1 The name Ferndale suggests the sylvan beauty of the village’s surroundings in the secluded Gallows Run valley.


MacReynolds, George. Place Names in Bucks County Pennsylvania, 2nd Edition. Doylestown, PA: The Bucks County Historical Society, 1955.

  1. William J. Buck in Tramps in Upper Bucks. []

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