Mexico (Uhlerstown)

Oral History

Uhlerstown is rich with canal-related buildings and structures. Originally called Mexico, the village was renamed Uhlerstown in 1871 in honor of Michael Uhler, a businessman who transformed the village into a complex commercial venture that prospered by being able to process raw materials and transport them on the canal.

Michael Uhler came to Mexico in1853 and immediately began to develop the little village. He built a mansion for himself, which was one of the show places along the canal, as well as a hotel, a number of houses, a large barn for storing hay, stables for his mules, and a store. He also built mills, lime kilns, a hay press, and lumber and wood yards.

Uhler became Postmaster in 1871 when the village was renamed. In addition to the post office and general store, Uhler also ran a boat building yard and operated a fleet of canal boats, known as the Michael Uhler Line. His son, Taylor M. Uhler, owned the T. M. Uhler Transportation line carrying freight from Philadelphia to Mauch Chunk. Michael Uhler also owned extensive farm lands from which grain and hay were supplied to the canal trade and metropolitan markets.

The commercial activity in Uhlerstown strongly influenced the development of the surrounding countryside. Clusters of worker housing were built along the canal and at the intersection of River Road and Uhlerstown Hill Road. Old-time residents recall that the houses along the westerly side of the canal, north of the town, were occupied by boatmen, laborers, and village workers.