Nether Providence Township, a first-class township nestled in the heart of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, is a community steeped in history and natural beauty. Many residents fondly refer to the township by the name of its largest community, Wallingford, due to the widespread use of the Wallingford postal code. With a population of 13,706 at the 2010 census, Nether Providence Township offers a unique blend of suburban tranquility and historical significance.
Nether Providence Township boasts a central location within Delaware County. It is bordered to the north by the borough of Media, the county seat. The township shares its boundaries with several neighboring municipalities, including Upper Providence Township to the north, Springfield Township, the borough of Swarthmore, and Ridley Township to the east. To the south lies the city of Chester, while the boroughs of Brookhaven and Rose Valley grace the western border.
Covering a total area of 4.7 square miles, Nether Providence Township is defined by its picturesque landscape. Crum Creek forms the eastern boundary of the township, while Ridley Creek gracefully winds its way through the western and southern borders. The commercial heart of Nether Providence can be found along Providence Road, nestled between the bridge over SEPTA's Media/Wawa line and Wallingford Avenue.
The history of Nether Providence Township is a tapestry woven with tales of Native American heritage and the pioneering spirit of early settlers. Native Americans from the Lenape tribe once inhabited this land for centuries, leaving their enduring legacy.
In 1682, two months before William Penn's iconic landing in Chester, John Sharpless arrived in the area, setting the stage for the township's development. Penn granted Sharpless a thousand-acre tract, and he established his home near Ridley Creek. By the time of Penn's arrival, small settlements had already sprung up, coining the name "Providence Township."
One significant milestone in the township's history was the establishment of Providence Great Road (now Route 252) in 1683, connecting Providence to Chester. This laid the foundation for the community's growth.
Nether Providence Township evolved through various phases, from farming to manufacturing, and even as a popular resort destination for wealthy Philadelphians. Fourteen major mill complexes, six along Crum Creek and eight along Ridley Creek, played a pivotal role in shaping the township's economy.
The advent of railways, beginning with the Leiper Railroad in 1809, further transformed the region. Trolleys, the first arriving in 1892, and the Nether Providence Police Department established in 1935, marked further milestones in the township's history.
Today, three sites within Nether Providence Township, including Wolley Stille, the Thomas Leiper Estate, and Westlawn, are proudly listed on the National Register of Historic Places, showcasing the township's enduring legacy.
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