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Pike Township

Berks County, Pennsylvania

Township municipal offices are located at 810 Hill Church Road, Boyertown PA 19512; phone 610‑987‑6023.


Pike Township [†] is rife with incredible scenic beauty and steeped in vibrant history. You can find many examples throughout the township, but no place exemplifies this better than the village of Hill Church. Here, nestled deep in the Oley Hills, you will see a spectacularly quaint church that has been a landmark here since the 1740s. Stroll through its historic cemetery, and marvel at the artistry of the tombstone cutters whose works have been on display for over two hundred years. Note the German inscriptions on the oldest tombstones, the native tongue of many of the townships early settlers. Pause a while....look at all of the buildings in the village and take in the hilltop vista in all directions. You are looking at something special and unique, something unspoiled by the march of time. It's a view that your great-great grandfather would have seen if he stood here in the 1880s.

While the township abounds in beauty and history, it's most valuable and most important asset is the people who live here now and those who lived here before us. The township's rich history is a testament to the strong character of the people who built this township and those who continue in this tradition.

The history of the township begins with the original inhabitants, the Lenni Lenape Indians. They inhabited a large portion of eastern Pennsylvania but relinquished this land to William Penn in the late 1600s. Penn subsequently parceled and sold all of the land to the colonial pioneers. There is little doubt that early settlers like Johannes Keim, who settled south of Pikeville, lived alongside the original inhabitants of the township. By the 1730s, the Indians vacated much of present day Berks County and moved north of the Blue Mountains. One can still find the occasional arrowhead attesting to the presence of the Indians within the township.

It is worth noting that one of the most important Indian relics ever found in Berks County was discovered in a Lobachsville cemetery. For decades, two heavy and curiously round stones, sat here undisturbed. Many people knew of their existence, but none knew their importance. Then, around 1910, Benjamin Owen came across them while researching tombstone inscriptions. He realized that the two stones comprised one of the finest examples of an ancient Indian corn mill. Today, the mill is proudly on display in the Berks Historical Society's Museum.

It is generally accepted that the township was named for the species of fish so plentiful in township streams in the early 19th century. This assertion came from A. E. Wagner, et al. in The Story of Berks County written in 1913. Indeed, the township building is adorned with a stained glass transom depicting a pike fish and a weather vane fashioned into the same. However, the reader should be cautioned that time has a way of turning folklore into fact, particularly if the folklore is published as fact. It may very well be true that Pike Township was named after the so named species of fish, but this author could not find factual evidence to support this assertion. If A. E. Wagner, et al. read the Reading Eagle on December 6, 1873, the township history they wrote might have been very different. This early newspaper article indicates that the township name is descriptive of the numerous rocks and stones found on the grounds within the township. This explanation has merit if you consider that Pike Township abuts a township that was aptly named Rockland.

The township was erected in 1813 from land taken predominantly from District Township with minor contributions coming from Rockland, Oley, and Earl Townships. The original township boundary changed a few years later to appease petitions from residents seeking easier access to schools and polling places. The first boundary change came in the early 1840s when Rockland Township ceded much of the Pine Creek Valley to the township. In the early1850s, Pike's eastern boundary moved further west when it ceded land to Washington Township. The final change also occurred in the early 1850s when Earl Township gave up land, extending Pike"s southern boundary further south.

In an early description of Pike Township, Israel Rupp indicated that "nothing of any remarkableness ... occurred in this township". On the surface, these seem like harsh words for the township we call home. In Rupp"s defense, he wrote these words nearly 170 years ago, and the connotation of these words is that the township was underdeveloped and sparsely populated in comparison to others in the county. Though many years have passed, the township"s landscape is still pristine, and only a handful of townships in Berks are more sparsely populated. Ironically, the attributes that Israel Rupp thought made Pike Township unremarkable 170 years ago are precisely the attributes that make it so remarkable today. There are no great cities, there are no schools, and there are no gas stations, not even a traffic light. Truth be told, most of us live here because we prefer the tranquility. We are willing to sacrifice urban conveniences in favor of a simpler and less hectic place to live and raise our families.

An Abridged History of Pike Township, 2013, Joseph L. Mitchell, slmitchell1015@gmail.com, www.piketownship.org, accessed March, 2023.

Nearby Towns: District Twp • Earl Twp • Fleetwood Boro • Lyons Boro • Maxatawny Twp • Oley Twp • Richmond Twp • Rockland Twp • Topton Boro •