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Haverford Township

Haverford Township municipal offices are located at 2325 Darby Road, Havertown PA 19083; phone: 610-446-1000.

Pont Reading, ca. 1693, 1730, 2713 Haverford Road, Ardmore, PA.

Photo: Pont Reading, ca. 1693 & 1730, 2713 Haverford Road, Ardmore, PA. Pont Reading was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 Photographer and date unknown, Historic American Buildings Survey [HABS PA-1239],, accessed March, 2014.

Historic Resources[1]

There are 6 Haverford Township historic properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

  • Allgates – The Allgates property with its fine collection of stone and stucco buildings and formal gardens represents a period of estate building which flourished in the early 1900s. Wilson Eyre, architect for Allgates, was noted for his fine domestic architecture. He designed many private estates in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Maine, and Rhode Island. Allgates is a representative example of Eyre's domestic work.
  • Federal School – a one-room schoolhouse built in 1797, used until 1872.
  • The Grange – (also known as Maen-Coch, Clifton Hall) an estate with architecturally significant buildings, and historically significant associations with prominent Haverford-area people. The land was first occupied by Henry Lewis, a Welsh Quaker who purchased the land from William Penn in 1683.
  • Merion Golf Club – contains two of the first courses in the country to be created in a combination of "penal" and "strategic" designs. It is a discontiguous historic district consisting of 2 eighteen hole golf courses separated by approximately 1/2 mile; there are two contributing buildings.
  • Nitre Hall – the Mansion House is all that remains of the mill complex built on Cobb's Creek shortly after 1800 to manufacture gunpowder.
  • Pont Reading – began as a log cabin in the 17th century, as the home of Daniel Humphreys, a Welshman. Daniel started life in the new world on 6,000 acres he purchased in 1683. The nominated property, though enlarged extensively over three centuries, still incorporates the original cabins logs into kitchen walls.

Brief History [2]

Haverford Township was laid out by William Penn as part of the Welsh Tract or Barony. In 1681, a representative group of Welsh Quakers met with Penn to discuss their settlement having purchased forty thousand acres of land which today comprises all of Haverford, Radnor and Lower Merion Townships. "Companies of Adventurers" were formed, with the most prominent person in each taking out the patent on 5,000 acres of land as trustee. The first three families arrived in Haverford Township in 1682. Lewis David, Henry Lewis and William Howell selected land along the southern border.

The area was primarily agricultural until the second decade of the twentieth century. The census returns of 1860 show the value of livestock as $62,485.00; animals slaughtered $11,255.00; 46,049 bushels of grain harvested and the and the value of orchard and garden produce, $4,090.00.

The two creeks that mark part of the township boundaries provided good millseats for the early settlers. On Darby Creek to the west, Richard Hayes Jr., David Morris and Samuel Lewis erected a gristmill, known as Haverford New Mill, in 1707. Later a sawmill was attached. This mill operated until 1904. Near the border with Marple Township, Humphrey Ellis operated a very early fulling mill. In 1807 Henry Lawrence built a sawmill on this site, and in 1832 his son, William, built a gristmill close by. The sawmill remained in the family ownership for more than 125 years, and is the oldest industry extant in Haverford Township.

Toward the eastern boundary, Cobb's Creek, called Karakung by the Indians, was the site of a number of mills. Haverford Mill was the first, a gristmill built by William Howell in 1658. Daniel Humphreys purchased the property in 1703 and built a sawmill and fulling and dyeing mill. These were added to Dennis Kelly's holding in 1826 and became the Castle Hill Mills. This site is just north of Eagle Road on the west bank of Cobb's Creek.

About 1800 grist and sawmills were built on the headwaters of Cobb's Creek by Peter Brown, and in 1810 Jonathan Miller built grist and sawmills at what is now the Juncture of Mill Road and Karakung Drive.

Israel Whelen, Sr., built the Nitre Hall Powder Mills on Cobb's Creek, which were in operation by 1810. During the Revolution very little black powder was manufactured in this country, and it was needed for engineering and mining. Between 1810 and 1840 these mills were the second largest powder mills in the U.S. with production of 800,000 pounds in 1812. The mills ceased operations in 1840 and were sold to Dennis Kelly, who converted them for the manufacture of cotton and wooden goods.

In 1814, Dennis Kelly borrowed capital to purchase a mill-seat on Cobb's Creek. He erected a small wooden factory known as Clinton Mills. This was a highly successful venture and, after enlarging the mill, he built Cedar Grove Mill further downstream. Dennis Kelly provided material for the U.S. government from 1817 until 1860 with contracts ranging from $1,800.00 to $41,370.00. Improved transportation opened the township to development. The Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad opened for use from Broad and Callowhill Streets to Paoli in 1833, and went as far as Pittsburgh by 1835. Tracks meandered through the countryside, going along Railroad Avenue in Haverford Township. This was the first railway for general commerce in the U.S., but offered little in the way of service to passengers until the late 1860s. The Pennsylvania Railroad bought the Columbia in 1857 and began changing the roadbed for what became the Main Line to the west.

The Philadelphia and West Chester Turnpike Company first built the toll road, then formed the Philadelphia and West Chester Traction Company and built the trolley line, which opened in 1898. The addition of the Ardmore line in 1902 brought much new housing. The trolleys provided good transportation to Philadelphia and workers began to commute. Moderately priced homes on smaller lots were built in communities such as Llanerch, Brookline and Oakmont.

  1. Various Nomination Documents, U.S. Department of Interior, National Register of Historic Places
  2. Haverford Township,
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