Ambler is a borough in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, in the United States, approximately 16 miles (26 km) northwest of Philadelphia.
Village of Wissahickon
Ambler was originally known as the Village of Wissahickon
, named for the North Pennsylvania Railroad depot established there in the mid-1850s. The town was renamed to Ambler in 1869 in honor of Mary Johnson Ambler, a local Quaker woman who heroically assisted during The Great Train Wreck of 1856
, a local train accident
in which 59 people were killed instantly and dozens more died from their injuries.
Legacy of asbestos
In 1881, The Keasbey and Mattison Company, whose business included the manufacture of asbestos
moved to Ambler from Philadelphia. The company invested heavily in the town. However, the Great Depression
took its toll on the company, and it was sold to an English
concern, Turner & Newhall in 1934. Newhall operated the factory until it closed in 1962. Federal-Mogul
, an American automotive supplier, purchased the assets of Turner & Newhall, and is itself in Chapter 11
bankruptcy due to asbestos liability
. Contamination remains an issue in Ambler. One area was declared a Superfund
site and remediated by the United States EPA
. Another remains unremediated. The derelict factory and smokestack remain as a symbols of asbestos' legacy. Local government has made redevelopment of the sites a priority. One proposal, for a 17-story condominium
tower, was withdrawn after community opposition to the project.
Ambler is located at (40.155099, -75.220160).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 0.8 square miles (2.2 km²), all of it land.
As of the census
of 2000, there were 6,426 people, 2,510 households, and 1,598 families residing in the borough. The population density
was 7,605.8 people per square mile (2,953.7/km²). There were 2,605 housing units at an average density of 3,083.3/sq mi (1,197.4/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 83.29% White
, 12.03% African American
, 0.25% Native American
, 2.47% Asian
, 0.06% Pacific Islander
, 0.50% from other races
, and 1.40% from two or more races. Hispanic
of any race were 2.13% of the population.
There were 2,510 households out of which 29.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.7% were married couples living together, 13.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.3% were non-families. 30.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.08.
In the borough the population was spread out with 23.5% under the age of 18, 7.0% from 18 to 24, 32.5% from 25 to 44, 19.7% from 45 to 64, and 17.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 86.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.8 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $47,014, and the median income for a family was $51,235. Males had a median income of $40,305 versus $30,735 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $21,688. About 2.4% of families and 5.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.8% of those under age 18 and 4.9% of those age 65 or over.
Politics and government
Ambler has a city manager
form of government with a mayor
and a nine-member borough council. The mayor is Charles "Bud" Wahl. The borough is part of the Thirteenth Congressional District
(represented by Rep. Allyson Schwartz
), the 151st State House District (represented by Rep. Rick Taylor
) and the 12th State Senate District (represented by Sen. Stewart Greenleaf
The Borough of Ambler is served by the Wissahickon School District. In 2004, the Wissahickon School District had 4,535 students. Wissahickon School District has seven schools: five elementary, one middle (grades 6-8) and one high school
Arts & Culture
Act II Playhouse
Act II Playhouse
is a 130-seat professional theatre founded in 1999. Act II has been nominated for more than two dozen Barrymore Awards
and has won three.
Ambler Symphony Orchestra
Founded in 1951, the Ambler Symphony Orchestra
performs several concerts per year under the musical direction of WRTI
program director Jack Moore and assistant director Christopher Horner.
Originally opened in 1928 as a Warner Brothers movie theater
, the recently restored and renovated Ambler Theater
is now a non-profit, community owned movie theater that shows independent
and limited-distribution films.