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Chester Heights Borough

Chester Heights Borough municipal offices are located at 222 Llewelyn Road, Chester Heights, PA 19017; phone: 610-459-3400.

Chester Heights is the last stop on the SEPTA R-3 line, with service to Center City Philadelphia.

The Boro is home to a number of significant resources that are entered on the National Register of Historic Places. This include:

  • The Chamberlain-Pennell House, Valley Brook Road & Baltimore Pike (Route 1). Known as "Hill of the Skye," was built circa 1722 by John Chamberlain (1692-1731), weaver, and son of Robert Chamberlain an immigrant from Wiltshire, England. Joseph Pennell (1749-1820) inherited the house from his grandfather, a brother of the builder. Pennell owned property in Wilmington, Virginia and Philadelphia, and 3 local farms, but lived here for the greater part of his life.
  • Stonehaven was designed and built by John Lundgren circa 1799. Lundgren built two paper mills in the area, along the Chester Creek. Stonehaven is the area's finest example of a 5-bay, Georgian-style residence.
  • Forge Hill is a 5-bay, 2 1/2 story home of dressed fieldstone. It was built circa 1798-1800. The home of a coachmaker, John Thatcher, it remained in the family's possession until 1882. It was purchased in 1900 by George Wood and inherited by his daughter, Dorothea, who restored the home circa 1936.

Beginnings [1]

The History of Chester Heights predates grants of William Penn., when the Swedes had penetrated some distance inland from the Delaware River and had found the rich soil very conducive to productive farming. To a remarkable extent, the area had continued to be so used until the last decade. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Borough was part of Aston Township, though this northernmost section of Aston did not have a village aspect as such. With the advent of a railroad, which made its first run-through on Christmas day 1833, a concentration of houses developed. With the reach of the automobile, a settlement of homes sprang up along the oldest road in the Borough. That route--now #261 or Valleybrook Road was once known as the "Logtown Road" and was one of the earliest routes from Chester settlement to the interior. It wanders over and along the West Branch of Chester Creek and is noted for its abrupt curves at the Borough's southern end.

An 1836 School Building on Valleybrook Road and Llewelyn Road was, in its day, rented by its owners to Aston for $2 a month for use as the school for this area. It was subsequently known as the Logtown School and changed to the Chester Heights School in 1880. A second, much later stone school building stands in its place today. The Borough was the Fourth Ward of Aston and had been referred to for some time as Chester Heights and Wawa. It was in the northern or "Wawa" area that, over the past one-hundred years or more, several large land parcels were acquired for summer residences. To date, most of these tracts have remained relatively unchanged, though they are now used as year-round private residences. ("Wawa" was the Indian name for wild goose.)

In 1852 the cornerstone of the Catholic Church "St. Thomas the Apostle" was laid, and it stands today with the addition of a parochial school and residences. In 1872 an association of Methodists purchased a farm in Aston, incorporating as the Chester Heights Camp-Meeting Associations, and it still convenes each July for religious retreats. The Borough of Chester Heights was officially incorporated in 1945.

Finally, approximately one dozen early fieldstone or brick dwellings remain intact though not necessarily restored. The oldest homes date to 1720 or earlier; many of them were established by 1777 when " a number of the stragglers from the defeated American Army, hungry, demoralized and exhausted in their flight from the field at Brandywine, collected in the neighborhood of Logtown, where they passed the night, sleeping in the outbuildings and open fields." Altogether, the houses represent an historically valuable span of 18th Century to Victorian Architecture in the Borough.

  1. Ashmead, Henry Graham, History of Delaware County, 1884, L. H, Everts & Co., Philadelphia
**Information is curated from a variety of sources and, while deemed reliable, is not guaranteed.
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