History with Chuck: The Cheltenham & Willow Grove Turnpike Company’s toll houses and roads

According to local historian Chuck Langerman, the Ogontz toll house, pictured above, was once located at the intersection of Old York Road and City Line, today’s Cheltenham Avenue.

Up until the early 1900s, Old York was a toll road with toll houses located at various spots from Philadelphia City Line Avenue to Bucks County. The cost of the toll was dependent on what you were driving (one-seater, two-seater, bicycle, horse and buggy, etc.) and what stretch of the road you were on.

Toll roads in those days were privately-operated and usually ran as corporations with stockholders and dividends. 

The Pennsylvania State Highway Department got involved in the later part of 1917 and purchased a segment of the road—City Line to a point about one mile north of Hatboro—for $105,000 from the Cheltenham & Willow Grove Turnpike Company and the Hatboro & Warminster Turnpike Road Company.

The purchase price of $105,000 included the various toll house properties along the road. Effective March 1918, the state abolished the tolls.

The last privately-held turnpike in Montgomery County was the Springhouse and Penllyn Turnpike, purchased in 1923. For more history on Pennsylvania’s early turnpikes, you can click here.

Note: A previous version of this article wrote incorrectly that the toll house was located at the of Old York Road and Church Road in Cheltenham Township.

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Photo courtesy of the Historical Society of Montgomery County