As one of three original counties founded by William Penn in 1682, Chester County enjoys a rich and vitally important role in the development of this country. To encourage and support the identification, preservation and interpretation of our historic structures and landscapes, the Planning Commission offers technical assistance for preservation plans and historic resource surveys with financial assistance available through the Vision Partnership Program.
Town Tours & Village Walks is a series of free summer strolls through historic neighborhoods, hamlets, villages and sites. This summer, you can explore Chester County’s heritage on Thursday evenings, June 9 – August 25. Tours generally last 50 minutes and begin at 5:30 pm with the last tour leaving at 7:00 pm unless daylight allows for additional tours. Each tour is designed to inform, entertain and increase awareness of Chester County’s rich heritage and historic landscape. A number of our sites offer a good selection of restaurants and shops to enjoy after your tour.
Sponsor: Warwick Historical Commission
Warwick Village has existed since settlers arrived in 1717 to work the local iron ore mines. The ore was hauled to nearby furnaces, where the iron was extracted and made into cannons and cannon balls for the Continental Army. 18th and 19th century homes line both sides of the narrow road that ambles through the village, which has seen few changes. The houses once served as more than residences. They were general stores, a post office, a hotel, a parsonage, a tavern, and a school house. In the center of the village is Saint Mary's Church, founded by Levi Bull in 1805. Many of the presenters will be in costume and the street will be closed to cars so visitors will be able to stroll freely.
Parking & Registration: 10 Morningside Dr., Elverson - near the intersection of Route 23 and Morningside Dr. Follow signs and parking attendants will be assisting.
Lionville c. 1712: A Tricentenarian Story
Sponsor: Uwchlan Township Historical Commission
At the time of its settlement, the area now known as Lionville was called "Uwchlan Meeting" or Red Lion due to the Quaker Meeting formed in 1712 and the Red Lion Inn. Most of the early farm buildings were clustered along village roads which were unpaved until the 1920s. Placed on the National Register in 1980, the 39-building Lionville Historic District features buildings from the early development of the village as well as 20th century buildings that continue the story. Come explore this gem in the midst of the bustle of the intersection of Routes 100 and 113!
Parking and Registration: St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 104 South Village Ave., Exton. Please do not park along South Village Avenue.
Regenerate, Reinvent, Recycle: The Village of Yellow Springs, c. 1722
Sponsor: Historic Yellow Springs
In 1810, Yellow Springs was described as a "perfection of landscape." As this unique place unfolded, one could see how the perfection of landscape became the common thread woven over the centuries that entwined the people and provided the background for this village to move forward in distinct historic eras. With nearly 300 years of documented history, this village was a Lenape Indian site, a health spa with healthful mineral springs, a Revolutionary War Hospital, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Country School, and Good News Productions' movie studios. Much has changed; much has stayed the same. Today the village invites visitors to see and learn about this regeneration, reinvention and recycling. Join us as we look at our village and its endurance, perseverance, and tenacity then, now, and into the future.
Parking & Registration: Historic Yellow Springs, 1685 Art School Road, Chester Springs. Follow directional signs for parking after entering the village.
Marshallton Village c. 1731: Drovers & Patriots, Artisans & Farms
Sponsor: West Bradford Historical Commission
Visit our new Heritage Center and join our tour of this nearly untouched village, named for botanist Humphry Marshall (1722-1801). Marshallton Village was an important stop on the Strasburg Road, a freight road from Lancaster to Philadelphia. Being a free road, it was heavily traveled. There were two hotels in the village and one nearby dating to 1765. Among the outstanding features of the village is a Quaker Meeting dating to 1722 (present building is 1765), a cradle factory, that made grain cradles and scythes, a blacksmith shop, pump maker, cigar factory, tinsmith shop, clothing store, bakery, and the Methodist Church dating from 1829.
Parking & Registration: Marshallton United Methodist Church, 1282 W. Strasburg Rd, West Chester.
Doe Run Village c. 1744: Tomahawks, Mills, Foxhounds, Cowboys and Kings
Sponsor: West Marlborough Township
Bus Tour: Reservations Required
Ride along with us to a Chester County village set in former King Ranch country that has been home to tomahawks, mills, foxhounds, cowboys and Kings! This quaint yet sprawling hamlet grew up around a stone grist mill that was established in the 1700s. On this fascinating bus tour, we will help you trace village events over the last three centuries. Come discover our unique Doe Run history which is still beautifully etched into the picturesque landscapes of today. A captivating experience awaits!
Parking & Registration: Parking will take place at South Brandywine Middle School, located at 600 Doe Run Road, just south of Coatesville on Route 82. Please plan to arrive one half hour before your scheduled tour for check-in. Displays, music, and refreshments will be available to guests before boarding buses.
Reservations: Scheduled 50-minute guided bus tours of Doe Run will take place at 4:00, 5:00, 6:00, and 7:00 pm. Registration is required and can be completed at the following link: eventbrite.com (search for "Doe Run Village Bus Tour"). For questions and additional information, please contact Kathleen at 610-383-5068 or Betty at 484-574-0774.
Triple Fresh Market will be offering a special barbeque supper from 3-7pm on the green at Ercildoun (just north of Doe Run Village) for interested guests on the day of the tour.
Malvern Borough c. 1889: From Crossroads to Powerhouse
Sponsor: Malvern Historical Commission
Join the Malvern Historical Commission on a short walk that spans over one hundred years of history. From the Borough Hall that served as a school house, to the park that replaced a factory, to the 19th century bank that houses the same bank today, let us show you how Malvern has kept up with the times while retaining its unique character including its farming roots. Discover how the desirable mix of Victorian charm and modern amenities has made Malvern a "Classic Town."
Parking & Registration: Burke Park gazebo, 21 Warren Ave., Malvern. Free parking is available at the following municipal lots: the lot next to Burke Park, the Borough Hall lot (1 E. First Avenue), and the lot next to the Wolfe's Baldwin Brass Center (101 E. King Street). The National Bank of Malvern (2 W. King Street) has also graciously permitted tour visitors to use its parking lot.
Village of Sadsburyville c. 1729: CCHPN Supper Lecture & Armchair Tour
Sponsor: Chester County Historic Preservation Network
Presenter: Dick Dague, President Sadsbury Township Historical Society
6:30 - 7:30: Limit 50 participants – Advanced Registration Required
Johnsontown in Downingtown c. 1875: A Town Within A Town
Sponsors: Downingtown Historical Commission, Downingtown Area Historical Society, & St. Anthony's Lodge
Created as a speculative development in the late 1800s, Johnsontown initially did not thrive. The first residents were Irish, many of whom worked on the railroad. Geographically, the area was hemmed in with only one major road going in and out. After World War I, Italian immigrants dominated the area, creating an entire community unto itself, complete with churches, stores, butchers, and entertainment through the creation of St. Anthony's Lodge, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2019.
Parking & Registration: St. Anthony’s Lodge, 259 Church Street, Downingtown. Parking is available on the WEST side of St. Anthony's Lodge. Additional free parking will be available at the Downingtown Borough lot (Johnsontown Park) at 122 Viaduct Avenue. A shuttle bus will be available to transport guests to St. Anthony's Lodge.
Brandywine Meadow Farm: Home of Charles E. Mathers Brandywine Hounds, c. 1901
Sponsors: Radley Run Country Club; Birmingham, Pocopson, and East Bradford Township Historical Commissions; & the Friends of Brandywine Battlefield. Including a visit from the Radnor Hunt and a 25th Town Tour Anniversary Optional Dinner!
Join us to tour this fascinating historic complex. Located in the heart of the Brandywine Battlefield at the intersection of three townships, the early Painter’s property influenced and contributed to each for three centuries but never became a village. You will learn how the 1770 James Painter Mansion house, the Penn charter 1749 Samuel Painter, Jr. house, and the Lye house ruins (where a large fulling operation existed) formed the basis for a 20th century estate. Next you can explore the tradition of fox hunting as you tour the Huntsman and Kennelman houses and the renovated stone barn designed by Charles Mather for up to 50 horses.
Please Note: First tour begins at 4:30 pm, last tour begins at 7:15 pm. The Anniversary Celebration buffer dinner for $20.00/person will be served 5:30 – 8:00 pm. If you plan on staying for dinner please RSVP to Kim Jones at 610-793-1660 in advance, then pay when you arrive and get your ticket.
Parking & Registration: Radley Run Country Club, 1100 Country Club Road, West Chester. The only entrance open will be off Birmingham Road. Please follow signs for parking.