Riegelsville is situated in the northeastern corner of Bucks County along the picturesque Delaware River. Formerly an island in the river, known as the Indian Village of Pechoqueolin, Riegelsville was once occupied by the Shawanese. The Shawanese were placed in certain areas around the country where there was “something to watch over.” In this area they were entrusted to watch over the iron ore. A land grant established in 1682 through “The Free Society of Traders” left the Indians with land that was very valuable with mineral resources.
Some time near the turn of the century, a survey was done and part of the land grant became Durham Township. The Durham Iron Company was organized in 1726 with the intent of making iron. After Durham Township became organized on June 3, 1775, the Durham Iron Company dissolved and the land was partitioned into two tracts, numbers 32 and 33.
Wendell Shank, proprietor of Shank’s Ferry, purchased tract number 32 in 1774. This ferry was used to cross the Delaware River until a covered bridge was built in 1838. Wendell then sold tract number 32 to Benjamin Riegel, grandson of Mathias Riegel, who was one of two brothers, the other being George Riegel, who came to Pennsylvania from Germany on the ship “Adventurer” in 1732. Shank’s Ferry then became known as Riegel’s Ferry and subsequently Riegelsville, which was established in 1820.
This Benjamin Riegel, a farmer, was considered to be the founder of the town. His nephew, also named Benjamin, was a miller. They were referred to as Benjamin Riegel (farmer) and Benjamin Riegel (miller). Benjamin Riegel (miller) bought the remaining tract of land, number 33, in 1832.
Also, in 1832, the Delaware Canal opened up from Easton to Philadelphia. This opening began the development of mercantile establishments and subsequent housing in Riegelsville.
In 1850, the village of Riegelsville was comprised of one store, one tavern, and eleven dwellings. In 1877, lots south of Airy Road (now Delaware Road) became available for development. By 1887, the population was 500, about one half of the present population. In 1916, the village of Riegelsville consisted of 109 freeholders residing within its limits. After the first day of February 1916, seventy-four freeholders, a majority of the freeholders residing within the limits of Riegelsville, signed their names to a petition to incorporate The Borough of Riegelsville.
On the 15th day of May 1916, the Court of Quarter Sessions of the Peace In and For the County of Bucks granted and decreed that said village be incorporated. The following is an excerpt taken from the Mechanics Hall minutes, dated February 8, 1915:
On the evening of December 3, 1914 at a Men’s meeting held in the Reformed Church, to consider Church and public interests, a Committee consisting of John B. Poore, S. C. Bachman, and H. Wells was appointed to investigate the street lighting of Riegelsville. The Committee presented its report at a later date, of which the following is the concluding part. “A company must be organized before anything definite can be accomplished. After carefully considering the question, we would recommend the most feasible plan would be to incorporate the town, which would create a head for any improvement contemplated.” This was the beginning of an interest that looked toward improvements in Riegelsville.