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April
11

Today's Manheim PA may not be the thriving community it is without Henry William Stiegel.  In 1750, Henry William Stiegel arrived in Pennsylvania from Germany and began a journey that would lead him to both riches and to ruin.

Manheim PAWithin a few years of his arrival, Stiegel became a proficient and prosperous ironmaster and had become an influential member of local churches and other affairs. Stiegel built a forge in Lancaster County and another in Berks County and began experimenting with blown glass along with continuing his mastery of forged iron. Shortly thereafter, he purchased a large tract of land in Lancaster and began plans for laying out a new town of his own.

Manheim PA Takes Shape

In 1768, America was slowly building up to the conflicts that would start the Revolutionary War and Americans were boycotting British imports. Encouraged by this, Stiegel built a glassworks and brought glass workers from Venice, Germany, and England to make both necessary household tableware and delicate decorative pieces.
 
All of Stiegel's ventures were extremely prosperous and his building of Manheim PA continued. His plans included an open space in the center of town that he called High Street. Today it is known as Market Square. In this square, Stiegel built one of his three lavish mansions and an office building.

Stiegel preached to his workers and other members of the town from his mansion and continued expansion of Manheim PA to accommodate his growing number of employees and suppliers in the area. He built schools, supported local musicians, and even sold land to the Trinity Lutheran Church to build a place of worship in Manheim PA for the price of a few shillings and one red rose annually.

Too Big to Fail?
Stiegel lived his success every day. His lifestyle was lavish, and not sustainable in the uncertain times leading up to the Revolutionary War. As the war approached, people in the area were funneling resources in that direction and Stiegel's businesses slowed down. His spending, however, did not and he eventually ran out of money. He was sent to debtors prison in 1774 and his glassworks and properties were sold. When he was released from prison, he worked at his ironworks until that also went bankrupt. He spent the remainder of his life preaching and teaching music.

Manheim PA Forges On

The glassworks that Stiegel established never operated successfully again and the town of Manheim PA struggled to survive. It held on, however, and in 1838 it was incorporated as a borough by the State Legislature. The first railroad came to Manheim in 1862 and in 1884 public utilities arrived helping to keep the town moving toward the future.
Today, Manheim is a thriving town of almost 5,000 people. The community is friendly and many of their gatherings and traditions are a reflection of the town's first years. The Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church continues to pay their annual rose to an heir of Henry Stiegel every June. Stiegel's glass company is even being revived by the Stiegel Glassworks which creates delicate contemporary pieces and replicas of Stiegel's work.

A Bright Future
Manheim PA continues to honor the man who started it all. His glassware is exhibited in museums throughout the area, and stories of his elaborate lifestyle are still passed around in local coffee shops. To learn more about living in Manheim or for help finding a home here, contact Homesale Realty today.

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