History of Green Lane Park

Brief History of Green Lane Park Picnicking in the 1960s at GLP

Green Lane Park is Montgomery County’s largest County Park, at approximately 3,400 acres. The variety of landscape includes rolling hills, forested uplands, open meadows, wetlands and three bodies of water - Green Lane Reservoir (814 acres), Deep Creek Lake (38 acres) and Knight Lake (26 acres). Today’s Green Lane Park is the result of the collaborative efforts of Montgomery County and the Philadelphia Suburban Water Company over 40 years ago. Its earliest roots however, began in 1939 when the Montgomery County Commissioners dedicated 425 acres as Upper Perkiomen Valley Park.

Philadelphia Suburban Water Company began planning Green Lane Reservoir in 1929 with the goal of providing a reliable water supply for the region. The actual construction of the dam across the Perkiomen Creek began in 1954 and was completed in 1957. In 1959 Philadelphia Suburban Water Company opened Green Lane Reservoir for public use for recreation activities with limited shoreline fishing and boating in the 1960s. In 1983 Green Lane Reservoir Park was established when Montgomery County took control through an agreement that turned over recreational easement rights from Philadelphia Suburban Water Company. From 1983 to 1998 Green Lane Park was operated as two different parks - Green Lane Reservoir Park and Upper Perkiomen Valley Park. In 1998 Montgomery County merged the two parks into one, now called Green Lane Park.

Early History of the Area

As with most areas of southeastern Pennsylvania, the area within the park was originally inhabited by the Lenni-Lenape Indians (Delaware Indians), or “true people.” The Lenni-Lenape were among the first Indians to come in contact with the European settlers (Dutch, English, & Swedish) in the early 1600s.

The name Green Lane is believed to have been given to the early iron works located in the borough of Green Lane, because of the abundance of evergreens covering the rocky hills surrounding the valley and the narrow road or lane that led from the “highway” to the furnace. The name of the borough is derived from the furnace name.

The Perkiomen Railroad was extended through Green Lane and Perkiomenville in 1872. A train station in Green Lane made the community more accessible to the outside world. This encouraged the growth of the borough, increasing the population and the expanding industry. By the turn of the 20th century, Green Lane was home to many businesses, including banking, carriage works, mercantile, cigar factories, ice manufacturing and clothing mills.

Early Reservoir