Newtown Square, Pennsylvania: Where Heritage Meets Progress
Newtown Square, located in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, is a township that beautifully combines rich historical heritage with modern progress. With a population of 15,002 as of the 2020 census, Newtown Square stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of the community.
The roots of Newtown Square date back to its settlement in 1681, with its official incorporation following in 1684, when it was part of Chester County. The early days of this township were marked by the presence of Welsh "Friends" (Quakers), who were in need of a road to access their places of worship. The result was the establishment of Goshen Road in 1687, connecting Newtown Square to the Goshen and Haverford Friends Meetings.
In 1711, the Newtown Square Friends Meetinghouse was completed, providing a dedicated place of worship for the Quaker community. Throughout the 18th century, Newtown Square flourished as a farming community, with the emergence of blacksmith and wheelwright shops to serve travelers on horse and buggy journeys. Taverns and inns also sprung up to accommodate local patrons and drovers transporting livestock to Philadelphia markets.
During the Revolutionary War, Newtown Township had its share of encounters with foraging parties of the British Army. General Potter established an outpost and headquarters on Goshen Road, west of Newtown Square.
The 19th century witnessed the growth of various mills along Crum Creek and Darby Creek within the township. These mills included saw mills, paper mills, shingle mills, and even a woolen factory. To house the mill workers, tenement houses and a general store were constructed in the Darby Creek area, serving the needs of the growing community.
In 1859, the Rose Tree Hunt Club was established south of the township, followed by the Lima Hunt Club to the west in 1885 and the Radnor Hunt Club at the intersection of Darby-Paoli and Goshen Roads in 1886. These developments led to the construction of numerous country estates amidst the rolling hills of Newtown Square.
Transportation played a pivotal role in Newtown Square's evolution. By the turn of the 20th century, the advent of automobiles and trolley services began transforming the landscape. Trolleys facilitated suburban commuting, with the railroad extending tracks in all directions except Newtown Square. As other towns along the line grew and prospered, mills and businesses in Newtown Square gradually declined.
Yet, the emergence of the automobile brought urban populations to the countryside, leading to the subdivision of land and a population boom. Today, Newtown Township covers 10.11 square miles, with its landscape adorned by old stone homes and structures that serve as reminders of its rich history.
Newtown Square boasts several historic sites that have left a lasting mark on the township's heritage. These include:
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