photo of watercolor of toll house on Limekiln Pike by Leon Clemmer
photo of watercolor of toll house on Limekiln Pike by Leon Clemmer
Watercolor of Toll House on Limekiln Pike by Leon Clemmer

Roads | Limekiln Pike

Limekiln Pike

Limekiln Pike was dedicated in 1737. Its present course was laid out in 1855, when the road was moved about one-fourth mile to the west at the upper end of the township. It was also known for a time as Whitehall Turnpike.

Thomas Fitzwater sailed from England with William Penn on the Welcome and was granted 1000 acres in what is now Upper Dublin. Fitzwater later added to these holdings.

Fitzwater’s rich limestone deposits became one of the most important area sources for limestone (the others located in Lower Merion) and led to construction of the first road “into the wilderness” from Philadelphia. Ordered by William Penn, the road began at the Port of Philadelphia and terminated at a Fitzwater's limekiln. This road, then and today, was known as Limekiln Pike. According to Suzanne Hilton, author of Yesterday’s People: The Upper Dublin Story (1975) some of the limestone from these quarries traveled along Limekiln Pike for use in building Independence Hall (built 1732-1753). The inn along Limekiln Pike, she wrote, “served the needs of mule cart drivers carrying lime from Fitzwater’s kiln to Philadelphia for the making of bricks eagerly sought by the Colonists for the building of dwellings.” 53

Read more about Fitzwater and his limekilns.

"A petition for the opening of the Limekiln Pike through the (Horsham) township had evidently been circulated some time before this, because a protest against the proposed route was lodged with the court in March 1734, the objection being that the greater part lay in swampy ground. The road was being asked for particularly by certain former settlers of Gwynedd and vicinity who had later moved to the 'Great Swamp' region in upper Bucks County, and who as yet established no direct route to Philadelphia. By 1737 a road had already been opened as far as Eureka, and in June of that year the second and successful petition was presented to the court. The draught accompanying the petition shows no less than 15 changes in direction between Eureka and the Welsh Rd (Packet 24 M 67)" (Smith99 p11)

The Limekiln Pike Turnpike Company was formed in 1850 to improve the road. Tolls were collected until 191754 p11 The image above is an original watercolor by Leon Clemmer of the tollhouse still standing at Limekiln and McKean Roads in Horsham. The toll - at one point - was 2¢ for a single rider and 10¢ for a 4 hourse rig hauling hay. 118 p37

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