White Horse, Historic Village, Willistown Township, Chester County PA

White Horse Village

Willistown Twp, Chester County, PA

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The White Horse Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000. The following is adapted from a copy of the original nomination document.

The village of White Horse grew up around the intersection of Goshen and Providence Roads beginning in the late eighteenth century. Providence Road, which crosses the village in a northwest-southeast direction, was first laid out in 1710 from the City of Chester to Willistown Township. Its name is derived from the Providence Meeting House, located just north of the city. Goshen Road, which bisects the village in an east-west direction, was originally laid out in 1687 from Philadelphia to Newtown Square, east of what would become the village of White Horse. In 1719 it was extended to Providence Road. By 1764, it was extended to the western boundary of Willistown Township. Eventually they became heavily travelled roads: farmers brought produce from the outlying farms to market and brought back manufactured goods and other supplies in return. The village would eventually grow up around the intersection of Goshen and Providence Roads. Its growth was in response to the basic needs of travelers and farmers from the surrounding farms. By the end of the eighteenth century there was enough traffic to justify the opening of a general store and a tavern at the intersection. These enterprises followed the construction of a school house (which is located south of the historic district). With the opening of other businesses, including a blacksmith and wheelright shop in the early nineteenth century, as well as the construction of several residences, the rural crossroads became a village.

Like other villages in Chester County, White Horse shared a pattern of development that was largely influenced by the ownership and land development of a few individuals. In the early years, the Massey family owned the entire area comprising the White Horse Historic District. The Masseys constructed farms surrounding the district, sold land to relatives for its development (Joseph Vogdes), and opened the village tavern. In the years that followed, the Yarnall, Mendenhall, Pratt and Trout families would own, develop and/or preserve White Horse. Development occurred in three major phases: the initial phase (17902 - 1820s); mid-nineteenth century; and the restoration phase of the mid-twentieth century.


There are several comparable National Register Historic Districts not far from White Horse Village. The Sugartown Historic District is also located in Willistown Township. While both villages developed at the same time, Sugartown grew to become a larger village and the local seat of government. The Waterloo Mills Historic District is located in Easttown Township.

Nearby Neighborhoods

Street Names
Goshen Road • Providence Road

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