The following list comprises the Local Kutztown Area Burgesses from
Dewalt Bieber, Daniel Levan, George Breyfbgel, Henry Heist, John Kutz,
Jonathan Prime, John Paisgrove, Jacob Esser, George Odenheimer, John
Daniel Bieber, Peter Gift, William Heidenreich, George Bieber, John Houck,
Dr. William Bieber, Jacob Graeff, David Fister, Daniel Kutz, David Levan,
Reuben Sharadin, Fayette Schadler, Hiram Bickel, J.S. Trexler, B.H. Kutz,
Jacob Sunday, C.H. Wanner, Paul Hilbert, John Humbert, Lewis Hottenstein,
J.D. Wanner, Daniel Hinterleiter, S.S. Schmehl, John Graeff, R. Dewalt,
Walter Bieber, D.W. Sharadin, J.D. Sharadin, Reuben Dewalt, Conrad
John P- Gonser, Charles D. Herman, C.I.G. Christman, T. Fritch,
H.W.Saul, N.Z. Dunkelberger.'
During these first hundred years, these burgesses and their councils
affected many civic accomplishments and changes and additions to the
municipality. In fact the potential for the municipality was demonstrated by
the fact that the borough was considered for 'County Seat' in 1824.'
Some of the important developments:
1830- First fire engine; "Cootstown" becomes Kutztown
1838- Borough adopts Public Free School system
1859- East Penn Railroad opened
1866- Keystone Normal School chartered
1889- Kutztown Water Co. organized, reservoir dug on Kutz's Hill
1892- New eight room public school opened (Whiteoak Street)
1897- Kutztown National Bank organized
1903- Reading-Allentown Trolley Line completed
1905- First telephone service- electric street lights; Fairgrounds opened
1907- Kutztown Auditorium built
1908- Kutztown Volunteer Fire Co. organized
1909- Farmers Bank established
1912- Strand Theater opened
1915- Centennial Anniversary Celebration held in July
1920' and 1930's All of the early burgesses served a one year term;
some served more than one term. Following the term of Dr. N.Z.
Dunkelberger the term was extended to two years.
These were the burgesses during_ the twenties and thirties: George
Bieber 1917-1919; George Charles Herman 1919- 1921; U.S.G. Bieber
1922-1930; Harry B. Yoder 1931-1933; Ralph Bard 1934-1942.
During these terms in office, the most important historical events were
the Flu Epidemic of 1918, World War 1 (1917-1919), and the Depression
following the stock market crash of 1929.
There were 110 cases of influenza in, Kutztown during the epidemic. An
emergency hospital was set up on the second floor of the Town Hall.
Doctor's and nurses worked around the clock for there were many who
were critically ill. Unfortunately there were seven deaths.
The draft for World War I started in June 1917; men between the ages of
21 and 30 were selected. Ten thousand were selected from Berks County
that first summer. Kutztown citizens participated in the sale of Liberty and
Victory Bonds, while the Red Cross solicited help for the home front. The
Victory parade held on June 29, 1919 was a great day in Kutztown and
across America. In 1920 Kutztown was granted a charter for American
Legion Post #480. It was named for John Henry Hoch and Curtis Balthaser,
both killed overseas.
After the 'crash' in 1929, Kutztown , like the rest of the United States, was
involved with the Depression. When Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered a bank
holiday in March 1933, the town's banks closed, but as soon as the 'holiday'
was over, the local banks reopened for business.
The Chamber of Commerce organized meetings to seek relief and a
Kutztown Community Welfare headquarters in the Herman Building was
established. From there Money and clothes were distributed to the needy.
Industries and businesses continued for the most part, sometimes
postponing salary and wage payments. The Woman's Club of Kutztown and
the Visiting Nurse Association aided the Relief Committee. There were
gardens for the unemployed and many farmers shared their crops.
The National Relief Administration, known as the N.R.A., and its Blue
Eagle symbol were creations of the Roosevelt administration. People who
cooperated with this program displayed Blue Eagle signs. 500 citizens and
142 retail stores, businesses and industries displayed the eagle.'
Improvements during the 1930's while serving as burgess from
1934-1942, Ralph Bard initiated many improvements in Kutztown. These
successes were partly because he served for eight years, partly because he
was an energetic leader, and partly, as old timers have said, because he had
political connections. He traveled to Harrisburg and conferred with the
highway administrator to have the highway through Kutztown paved.
Men were employed in the CWA project to remove the trolley tracks and the
old surface. This was accomplished in the summer of 1935. Using WPA
funds the Borough constructed: College Boulevard, North Whiteoak and
Church Lane, Wenz Street, Highland Avenue from Cedar to Kemp, Kemp
from Main to Highland, South Laurel, and Grimley Streets. For these projects
WPA paid for the labor while the borough furnished the materials.
Sewage had become a problem in the 30's. Bard enlisted the aid of Guy
Moser, a Berks County officer, and together they persuaded the WPA to
provide funds for a sewage plant. In 1940 the plant was completed at a cost
The government allotted $75,000 for the present (2001) Post Office which
was completed in 1936. Also through government funding, the borough was
able to construct the swimming pool at the First Dam and borrow $16,000 to
purchase the Kutztown Park from the private Park Association in 1935.
With the growth of the borough, traffic and public safety became an
issue. In 1916 two traffic patrolmen were appointed. They were to be on duty
Saturdays and Sundays. These officers were called constables. Ed Wolfe,
Eldridge Dries, and Jonathan Knitde were the first recorded constables.
During Bard's tenure the Council organized the Police Department.
Alexander Czarick was the first chief Arthur Moyer and George Bordner
were his assistants."'
With the Depression coming to an end as the economy recovered,
people were being rehired and Kutztown was on its way to experiencing the
Few people looking forward could see the next major disruption on the
and the second world war, would test the resolve of the town and its
citizens. The civic leaders of the early years of the borough and township
did a lot to lay the foundation upon which future leaders would build. We
hail them for their service and commitment to the community.