Westtown Township

Chester County, Pennsylvania

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Township municipal offices are located at 1039 Wilmington Pike, West Chester, PA 19382.
Phone: 610‑692‑1930.


Westtown's Heritage [1]

Westtown was established in 1685, the second township in Chester County. Westtown was established three years after the formation of Chester County by William Penn. The borders of Westtown have not changed since its founding. The first settlers were English Quakers, who came to Westtown to establish dairy farms and orchards.

In 1777, the Battle of Brandywine occurred southwest of Westtown between British and Colonial soldiers. Part of the British Army passed through Westtown on its way to the battle. The Enoch Williams Farm in Westtown was used to hold Union soldiers who had been captured by Confederate soldiers at the Battle of Gettysburg and then "paroled" by the Confederates on the condition that the Union forces make sure that they would not fight again. Many eventually returned to the Army. From 1730, two serpentine stone quarries operated in the southwestern corner of Westtown. These quarries provided most of the stone for early buildings in the area. In the 1880s, up to 40 people were employed at "Brinton's Quarry." Much of the stone was hauled to the railroad station along Route 926. The stone was used in churches throughout the northeastern United States. In 1888, a fire destroyed the buildings and water pumps of the quarry, and the quarrying was discontinued. The site has served for decades as a swim club.

In 1794, 600 acres were purchased for the establishment of the Westtown School. These 600 acres continue to be owned and managed by the School. The current main building was opened in 1888. By the early 1800s, Darlington Corners, at the intersection of present-day Routes 202 and 926, included a hotel, a clock manufacturer, a cotton factory and a store. By 1810, Westtown had reached 790 residents. As agriculture became more mechanized, Westtown's population decreased from 848 in 1880 to 663 in 1910. Little growth occurred in the Township during the early 1900s - the Township only included 992 residents by 1950.

In 1882, Mr. and Mrs. James Smith of Philadelphia purchased 143 acres that is the center of present-day Oakbourne Park. They enlarged the existing granite house and planted formal gardens and exotic trees. The unique stone and brick water tower was built for fire protection. After the Smiths passed away in the 1890s, the home was willed to become a convalescent home for women. The home closed in 1971, and the main property was purchased in 1974 by the Township for a park. In the following years, the Township restored the water tower and acquired large amounts of adjacent land. In 1896, south of the Smith Mansion, the Pennsylvania Epileptic Hospital was formed. At its peak, it included 150 patients. The property was next used as John Knox College. The property was later transformed into a treatment center for children with emotional difficulties, and then into the Gaudenzia House, which provides drug addiction treatment.

As the railroad was extended west from Philadelphia to Westtown and West Chester, Westtown became more accessible to new residents. Around the turn of the century, streetcar lines improved access, including trolley service along Route 3 between Philadelphia and West Chester. Increased automobile traffic caused the long-standing picturesque wooden covered bridge on Street Road to be removed in 1937.

The above summary of Westtown's history is based upon A History of Westtown Township by Arthur James, published in 1973.

  1. Westttown Township, Growth Management Plan, 2001, www.westtownpa.org, accessed November, 2017.

Nearby Towns: Bethel Twp • Birmingham Twp • Chadds Ford Twp • Chester Heights Boro • Concord Twp • East Bradford Twp • East Goshen Twp • East Whiteland Twp • Edgmont Twp • Malvern Boro • Pennsbury Twp • Thornbury Twp • Thornbury Twp • West Chester Boro • West Goshen Twp • West Whiteland Twp • Willistown Twp •

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