The Castle Rock Bridge on West Chester Pike about 1921 looking west. The bridge was over Ridley Creek.
In 1845 in rural Newtown Square, a community of weavers, spinners and other skilled workers were employed at a local woolen mill, the William Crosley Woolen Mill, along the banks of the Darby Creek. Their commute was short – they lived in small tenant shacks and houses along the banks of the creek. The farmers of the surrounding countryside provided the wool needed for their mill, and the food needed to feed their families. The population in this area was large enough that a general store was begun at the large building on the corner that also provided housing for four of the mill families. The general store offered supplies, tools, spare parts, and equally as important, a public space to meet the neighbors, socialize, and catch up on local news.
Today, the mill is in ruins along the creek, but the general store and mill workers homes are now a museum of local history and can still be found along the banks of the Darby Creek in Newtown Square. Please take advantage of this opportunity to visit the general store and walk in the steps of those early millworkers. This wooded neighborhood is at least 5 to 10 degrees cooler than other parts of Newtown Square, and the Museum is air conditioned. After the mill house tour, a short distance north on Rt. 252, take time to visit the Square Tavern and listen to tales of Benjamin West, perhaps America’s best known artist, and tales of a Robin Hood type of character, Sandy Flash, that lived in or frequented this historic building. Children can guess which one has a road in Newtown Square named after them. Note – also air conditioned.
The Newtown Square Historical Preservation Society opens the 1742 Square Tavern at Rt. 252 and Goshen Road, and the 1828 Paper Mill House and Museum, at St. David’s Road and paper Mill Road, each July and August on Saturdays from 1-4:00 p.m. For more information, and to verify openings on a particular date, please check our website at http://www.historicnewtownsquare.org