Phoenixville began as a small settlement on the Schuylkill River that quickly grew into a center of industry. A town with superb location and access to transportation and water power, Phoenixville expanded rapidly due to the success of Phoenix Iron Company. The industry gained national and international recognition for its innovative column and bridge technology. The success of Phoenix Iron and Steel was constant throughout much of the 20th century, but when industrialization plagued the United States, the corporation and the town suffered greatly. After several years of unemployment and economic recession in the 1970s and 1980s, Phoenixville began to turn a corner. The community and the local government created a new identity for Phoenixville that incorporated the industrial success of its past while bringing it into the 21st century. After a long process of redevelopment, renovation, and recruiting of businesses and investors, Phoenixville has become a prime destination for people of all ages to live in and visit.