Hilltown's [†] early history can be traced as far back as the year 1683, when the area now known as the village of Hilltown was the site of a meeting between William Penn and the Indian Chiefs of the Delaware Nation. Much of Hilltown Township was originally within the Manor of Perkasie, which was granted by William Penn to Samuel Carpenter and others in the year 1701. The manor was laid out and surveyed in 1708 and included Perkasie Borough and much of Hilltown and West Rockhill Townships.
The first purchasers of land in the township were not settlers, but rather purchasers of large tracts of land. Settlers started to arrive in the township in the late 1600's and early 1700's. Many of the early settlers were Welsh, later followed by Germans and German Mennonites. Hilltown Township was incorporated around the year 1722, becoming the first township established northwest of Buckingham Township within Bucks County. Many of the individuals who petitioned for the new township were Welsh and the original name suggested for the township was "Aberystwith", after a town in Cardiganshire, South Wales. Other names suggested for the township included "Society" and "Muscamickan." For the first thirty years of its existence, the township was known as Hilton. The present name of Hilltown, while appropriate for the numerous hills in the area, may likely be a misspelling or adaptation of the township's first name.
Hilltown's location between Philadelphia to the south and Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton to the north, prompted the development of several main roadways through the township. Present day Hilltown Pike was formerly part of an Indian trail established in the late 1600's through Upper Bucks County. Known as the Minsi Trail, this route crossed through Hilltown and enabled travel between Philadelphia and the Durham iron mines in northeastern Bucks County. Another main roadway in the township, Route 113, became an east-west route linking many farming communities surrounding Philadelphia between the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers.
The establishment of transportation routes through the township helped pave the way for development of several historic villages, most notably Line Lexington, Blooming Glen, and the village of Hilltown. All three villages developed at crossroads within the township. Line Lexington and the village of Hilltown were located along stage routes and became popular stops for stagecoaches traveling between Philadelphia and the Lehigh, and Line Lexington and the village of Applebachsville in Haycock Township. Blooming Glen, originally known as Moyer's Store, developed after the establishment of a store in 1850 and a post office in 1864. The village grew to become a center of commercial activity which served the surrounding agricultural community.
While the nearby towns of Dublin, Perkasie, Sellersville, Telford, Souderton, and Silverdale provide goods and services to residents and businesses in Hilltown and the surrounding area, commercial uses have developed within the township, primarily along Route 309, Bethlehem Pike, and Route 313. Industrial uses have developed primarily in the northwestern quadrant of the township, along Bethlehem Pike. In addition, there are two stone quarries that operate mostly in the eastern half of the township.
Today, Hilltown Township contains a mix of residential, commercial, and industrial development. Despite the township's growth over the last century, Hilltown has managed to retain much of its agricultural heritage and rural landscape. Rolling hills with farms are located throughout the township, particularly in areas east of Callowhill Road. With the township's proximity to the nearby urban areas of Philadelphia, Allentown, and Bethlehem, and to the business centers in nearby Montgomery County, development pressures in Hilltown are expected to continue. As the township plans for the next ten years, careful planning should continue to balance the needs of residents and the farming community, while allowing economic development opportunities that meet the needs of the business community and that benefit those that live and work in the township.
† Hilltown Township Comprehensive Plan Update, 2019, www.hilltown.org, accessed February, 2023.
Nearby Towns: Bedminster Twp • Chalfont Boro • Dublin Boro • East Rockhill Twp • Franconia Twp • Hatfield Boro • Hatfield Twp • New Britain Boro • New Britain Twp • Perkasie Boro • Quakertown Boro • Sellersville Boro • Silverdale Boro • Souderton Boro • Telford Boro • Telford Boro •