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Spring City was founded in 1732 and is named after the many springs that flow from the hillsides. It was originally called "Hickory Town" because of a grove of hickory trees near where Spring Creek empties into the Schuylkill River. The village grew up around a gristmill built by John Brubaker, who also operated an iron forge on nearby land he owned. In 1823, David Rittenhouse moved to Spring City and established his famous observatory there; it stands today as part of RittenhouseTownship Park (formerly known as Observatory Park). In 1828, construction began on what would become known as the Pennsylvania Canal between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh along with its branch to Reading via Pottstown (now abandoned).