In 1813, Lewis Wernwag, the owner of the first iron company built on the confluence of the French Creek and the Schuylkill River - known at the time as the French Creek Works - was looking at his furnaces one evening from a nearby hillside and saw a Phoenix in the flames. This vision inspired him to rename his company Phoenix Works. When the community that grew up around the iron works became incorporated in 1849 the name Phoenixville was a natural choice for the new borough.
This name has especial symbolic relevance for the borough today. With the closing of Phoenix Iron and Steel in the early nineteen eighties the town lost its principle industry, and subsequently went through a twenty year period of stagnation and decline. Since the turn of the new century Phoenixville has been enjoying a rebirth; with the opening of new shops and restaurants, a visitor's center in the old Foundry Building, the continued renovation of the Colonial Theatre, the renewal of Bridge Street, and much more. Like its mythic namesake it is truly rising from its own ashes.