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King of Prussia, PA, USA?

  1. Jun 9, 2012 #1
    King of Prussia is located in suburban Philadelphia near Valley Forge. Its name referrers to Frederick the Great, but I suggest the town is misnamed. Any intended gratitude for helping to save the Continental Army in the American War of Independence should be directed to Frederick von Steuben, a former Prussian Army officer who helped Washington drill and discipline the ragged and depleted Continental Army in order to create a reasonably effective military force. Arguably,von Steuben was instrumental in saving the American cause, then at its lowest ebb. But what does this have to do with Frederick the Great? Prussia and Britain had been allies in the Seven Years War and would be allies again in the Napoleonic Wars. There does not seem to be any reason why the Prussian king would want to support the rebels against Britain in this war. Von Steuben was a free agent at this time and received a commission in the Continental Army. His service was arranged by Benjamin Franklin in Europe, who mistakenly thought he was a baron in the Prussian aristocracy.

    Therefore, I recommend that the good people of King of Prussia, PA change the name of their town (and shopping mall) to von Steubenville and get on the right side of history. In any case, "King of Prussia" has to be the strangest name for an American town of any I've ever heard. Comments (especially from the locals)?
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 9, 2012 #2


    At any rate, the town was named after the Inn, and it's not clear the Inn was named in gratitude for any alleged help from the monarch in question.

    This site speculates the Berries may have named it "King of Prussia" to attract business from the Prussian soldiers who were at Valley Forge and had silver to spend:

  4. Jun 9, 2012 #3
    There doesn't seem to be any solid information as to just how the inn and later the area got its name. However, as your source states, local historical markers do credit Frederick II as having a role in supporting the American cause. Note, the later name King of Prussia Inn was only documented in 1786, 8-9 years after the encampment at Valley Forge. It's not clear that the name wasn't in honor of the King. Now I have courageously disputed the truth of these historical markers and suggested that it's about time that the locals give credit where credit is due; that is to Herr von Steuben. Yes, he lied about being a baron, but the fact that he was a commoner makes it all the more appropriate to honor him as an American hero. The fact that a European monarch should have lent his title (but not his name) to an American town for so long is just wrong imho. It's OK to use his actual name as German immigrants have done in Texas (Fredericksburg) since its part of their heritage. But the US Constitution does not recognize titles of nobility for American citizens. So how does a whole town get to have such a name?

    Would you rather shop at the imposing KING OF PRUSSIA PLAZA or the friendly Steubenville Mall?
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2012
  5. Jun 9, 2012 #4


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    Either way, I really hate malls and my annual trip there around Christmas is a thing of dread.
  6. Jun 9, 2012 #5
    I think the markers should be removed because they're inaccurate. Changing the name of the town, though, will force an address change on all the residents, not to mention cartographers, that would probably be more trouble than it's worth.
  7. Jun 9, 2012 #6
    Well, it's not like anyone in King of Prussia is going to get too excited about this thread anyway, as long as people keep shopping there. When you live in a place with a name like that, you probably don't care because you think everyone else is just jealous. Even Russ goes there once a year.

    BTW Fredericksburg,Texas has the best German food west of the Hohenzollern Castle imo. They do it barbeque style.
  8. Jun 10, 2012 #7


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    Of course, there's already a Steubenville in Ohio. My high school football team used to play against Steubenville High. We had a banner with a cartoon of football players in a cooking-pot, and the slogan "Stew Steubenville!" :biggrin:
  9. Jun 10, 2012 #8
    Now that wouldn't work if they named the town (and school) "King of Prussia", would it? Steubenville, Ohio took its name from a nearby fort which was named after the good "baron" according to the Wiki article on the town. If they can do it in Ohio, why can't they do it in Pennsylvania, right next to Valley Forge? I think they must be Tories plotting to bring back the monarchy. The question is, which monarchy?

    Last edited: Jun 10, 2012
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