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Borough of Hatfield Municipal History (1898-1928)

Excerpted from “History of Hatfield Borough, 1898 – 1998”
Published in 1998, Hatfield Museum and History Society.

The First Year

The second meeting of the Hatfield Borough Council was held on August 18, 1898. At this meeting, the new Council adopted “Rules for the Government of and Conducting Business in the Town Council of the Borough of Hatfield,” one of which was the imposition of a 50-cent fine for any member of Council failing to appear at a Council meeting. At the November, 1898 meeting, Council passed an ordinance allowing the Keystone Telegraph & Telephone Co. to erect poles and wires through the Borough after which the Telephone Co. offered to allow Hatfield Borough to string its future electric wires on their poles free of charge. At the December 5, 1898 meeting of the fledgling Hatfield Borough Council, the Inland Traction Company (ITC) presented an ordinance requesting a right-of-way through the borough on which they could operate a trolley system. The council took no action on the request at that time. During meetings over the next two months, additional discussion was held relative to road widths, sidewalk widths and center of street locations, with everyone on Council having a different opinion. Trying to balance the needs of the Borough with the concerns of property owners was a big problem. Several residents complained that the new streets would come too close to their houses, taking away much of their front yards. The matter was referred to the Ordinance Committee. During a March, 1899 meeting, the following streets were suggested as the proper ones to begin improvements on: Beginning at the northern Borough line on New St. (Penn Ave.) to Union St., to Market St., to Main St. (at that time E. Lincoln Ave. was part of Market St.), to the railroad, to the end of the proposed trolley line (Railroad Ave. & W. Vine St. to the Borough Line). This was the same route that the ITC proposed for the trolley line through the Borough. On April 3, after much discussion, the result of a vote on street widths was a tie. The President cast the deciding vote in favor of 44-foot widths. Also in April, an ordinance was passed allowing the Inland Traction Co. to install trolley tracks through the Borough

November 1902

Council approved the purchase of seventeen #2 Dietz oil lamps for the streets. Daniel Gehman was appointed to clean and light the lamps for which he was paid 14 1/2 cents per hour. By February 1903 there was a total of 25 oil lamps illuminating the Borough streets.

May 1908

Council began discussions on supplying the Borough with electric power. Later that year, Council authorized a ten-year contract with the West Telford Electric Light and Power Company for the furnishing of electricity to the Borough. On December 1, 1908, electricity came to Hatfield Borough. The new electric street lights were turned on at dusk and turned off at 10:30 p.m. The lights were turned on again at 5:30 a.m. until dawn. The rate for electricity was set at 12 cents per KW, less 20% if paid before the 10th of the month.

1926

On the recommendation of the Hatfield Borough Board of Health, Council hired a garbage hauler to remove the borough’s garbage in 1926. Also that year: Hatfield Township requested that the Borough cooperate with them in the matter of police protection; Council discussed assigning numbers to all of the houses in the Borough, but no action was taken; After many years of maintaining the streets themselves, the Borough hired Good Roads Co. to oil & chip all of the Borough streets.

February 1927

Council instructed the Borough Secretary to notify representatives of the Lansdale Provision Co. to keep pigs off of private property when driving them through town or they would be liable for any damages.

March 1928

The Borough hired its first police officer, Allen Roth, to work two nights a week.

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