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Easttown Township


Easttown Township Municipal Offices are located at 566 Beaumont Rd, Devon PA 19333; phone: 610-687-3000.

The Tredyffrin-Eastown Public School District serves the township. Organized in 1704, the township is slightly more than 8 square miles in area.

A Brief History [1]

In 1682, the counties of Chester, Philadelphia and Bucks were delineated within William Penn's Providence of Pennsylvania. An 8.2 square mile area, a north/south diamond of rolling hills in the extreme eastern portion of Chester County became Easttown Township in 1704. Originally settled by Welsh Quakers, the township drew English, Scots, French, Swiss, Dutch and Swedish immigrants, most subscribing to the Episcopal, Baptist and Presbyterian faiths. The oldest surviving church, St. David's Protestant Episcopal, was established in 1715. Easttown was a farming area, sending its products to Philadelphia, by the Revolution, second only to London among English cities.

Although the township was actively involved in the American Revolution, the Tarleton skirmish of 1777, following the Battle of Brandywine, was the most famous historical event. Americans under the command of General Anthony Wayne, an Easttown native, and led by Captain "Light Horse Harry" Lee repelled an attack by the British on Signal Hill near the intersection of Newtown and Sugartown Roads. The house was later named Tarleton for the British leader. Signal Hill itself acquired its name as the end of a signal line extending from Valley Forge.

Construction began on the Philadelphia-Lancaster Turnpike in 1790, the first paved highway in America. When completed it ran through Reeseville, or Cockletown, renamed Berwyn after the Berwyn Hills in Wales, by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1877. The railroad promoting the area as a summer vacation spot for the hot Philadelphians, selected Welsh names for many Main Line stations.

The coming of the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad in 1834 changed life in this rural area. Those businesses and homes near the old roads and trails declined while new ones expanded along the railroad and the turnpike. Between 1862 and 1872 a feed, coal and lumber yard, a tin shop a blacksmith shop and a general store began operating. Postal service was added in 1862, using the railroad name when the change occurred. Even today, the name has only railroad and postal address meaning since government is in township form.

For many years after its founding in the early 1800's, an inn known as The Leopard was the center of local life. A small community arose around it at the intersection of Darby-Paoli Road and Leopard Road. Another, Glassley, was laid out in the northeast corner of the township in the early 19th century. Although no relics of it remain, it is remembered as the site of the first Easttown school erected in 1807. The Devon Inn, built in 1881, was used to house Valley Forge Military Academy in 1928-29.

In the early 1900's, Easttown was a thickly settled farming district that included some fine country estates of wealthy Philadelphians. Many of these affluent residents used the train on the "Main Line" to commute to their city businesses. In 1911, the railroad was electrified and Paoli became important as the end of the line from Philadelphia.

  1. Township of Easttown, Chester County PA, www.easttown.org

Willistown municipal offices are located at 688 Sugartown Road, Malvern PA 19355; phone: 610-647-5300.

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