Step into this spooky small town in Pennsylvania, or what remains of it, and you might be hard-pressed to guess that this abandoned neighborhood was once a thriving, vibrant village that played a vital role in the area’s transportation system.
Once a vibrant small village in Chester County, the now-abandoned ghost town of Fricks Lock sprawls across 18 acres. Its first property dates all the way back to 1757 when a farmer, Peter Crumbaker, purchased the land and built his home.
Crumbaker maintained his farm and the property as his own until he died in 1778, at which time his daughter inherited the land. Her husband, John Frick, would receive the credit, however, for the development of Crumbaker's land into a thriving village.
Frick struck a deal with the Schuylkill Navigation Company to build a canal and two locks on his land. Fricks Lock, which would become a part of the larger Girard Canal,opened in 1824 and signaled the start of a flourishing period for the newly developed village.
Fricks Lock thrived because of the canal and the locks, making money from the commercial traffic that passed through, but technology would soon challenge the small town's survival for the first time. The canals gave way to railroads and, by 1930, the canal in Fricks Lock had been drained.
A Pennsylvania Schuylkill Valley Railroad train station replaced the canal, giving the small town a brief reprieve. But, technology would again threaten the village's existence. The railroad station eventually closed and a new neighbor moved in during the 1970s. The Philadelphia Electric Company began construction on the Limerick Nuclear Power Plant, a move the small town would not survive.
The power plant's reactors, not even a mile from the dying town, put Fricks Lock squarely in the Exclusion Zone, causing residents to finally and permanently abandon the once-vibrant village in 1986.
Fricks Lock still sits abandoned, having suffered from vandalism in the early part of the 21st century, but it earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places back in 2003. Some say, however, that the ghost town still has residents, spirits who never left their beloved village.
Today, visitors can tour the abandoned Fricks Lock. Led by the East Coventry Historical Commission, tours run on select Saturdays through the summer and the fall. The free tours leave at 10 a.m., 11:15 a.m., and 12:30 p.m. on the remaining Saturdays of the season: September 24 and October 8 and 22.
This spooky small town in Pennsylvania is only one of the many ghost towns in the state. Head out on an epic road trip through Pennsylvania’s ghost towns, including Fricks Lock. Check out the road trip