East Bradford Township
Township municipal offices are located at 666 Copeland School Road, West Chester PA 19380; phone 610-436-5108.
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East Bradford Township [†] comprises fifteen square miles near the center of Chester County. It is located in the southeastern corner of Pennsylvania and is part of the Philadelphia Metropolitan Area. The Township is approximately twenty-five miles west of Philadelphia and about twelve miles north of Wilmington, Delaware. East Bradford lies immediately west of West Chester Borough, and also is bounded by Birmingham and Westtown Townships on the south, West Bradford and Pocopson Townships on the west, East Caln Township on the north, and West Whiteland and West Goshen Townships on the east.
In 1681 King Charles of England granted lands to William Penn from which Bradford Township, named after Bradford, England, was established in 1705. East and West Bradford were divided from Bradford Township in 1731. The current boundaries of the 15 square miles of East Bradford were established after a portion of the southern end of the Township was annexed by Birmingham Township in 1856.
The majority of the original settlers were English Quakers. Historic structures in East Bradford reflect English as well as Swiss German architectural tradition, using brick and stone for houses, barns, mills, creameries and butcheries. Agriculture constitutes one of the Township's major historical themes and largely dictated the character of the cultural landscape for nearly 300 years. Related industries present within the Township included blacksmiths, wheelwrights, shoemakers, weavers and coopers, but by the beginning of the 20th century were silent.
The Township's location, along the drover's paths to the Wilmington and Philadelphia markets, led to taverns dotting the major roadways to lodge drovers and their herds. Strasburg Road, passing through the center of the Township, was the first highway in Pennsylvania. Later, the main line of the Pennsylvania Railroad passed at East Bradford's northeastern corner, where the first suburban residential development in the Township was developed in the 1880's. Trolley transportation came to East Bradford in 1891-92, with a line extending from West Chester to Lenape and later on to Kennett Square. The trolley owner built Lenape Park, a classic "trolley park" of the Victorian era. A second trolley line opened in 1902 between West Chester and Downingtown, prompting a bit of "suburban" development at Brandywine View. Trolley service ceased by 1929 as the automobile became more prevalent.
† East Bradford Township, Open Space, Recreation & Environmental Resources Plan, 2009, www.eastbradford.org, accessed, November, 2018.