Sunday, February 7, 2021

Delaware County Township Names and history events in the area for Black History Month etc.


A picture of Providence Rd. aka Route 252 from 1897 during rush hour. You are standing at Possum Hollow Rd. looking north toward Media. The house on the left is still standing and the bridge is over the West Chester R.R. local line.

Note: A little history lesson on early Delco and where the township names came from. Lots going on this month for Black History Month please check the events

Delaware County Township Names

Delaware County became a separate political division on September 26, 1789, by an Act of the State Legislature which provided for cutting off the eastern part of Chester County, to create the new county consisting of 21 townships, with Chester as the county seat.  The earliest settlements in Pennsylvania were made in the part which is now Delaware County, but they were not organized as townships until William Penn took over the government of his Province.

          Before Penn received his grant of land, Upland Court had jurisdiction over all of the land from Christina River to the Falls of Trenton.  This was called Upland County, a name which was changed to Chester by William Penn in 1682, probably because many of the settlers there had come from Cheshire in England.  At first Chester was the name of one of the three original counties laid out by Penn.  Later, the name was also given to a township, the first one organized under Penn’s government, and finally to Chester Borough in 1701.

          Many of Penn’s followers had bought land before leaving England, intending to pick out their tracts after they arrived in America.  Some settled near the river, but many went into the country back from the river and built homes in the wilderness.  Ne plantations were laid out as fast as surveyors could mark boundaries.  Emigrants who knew each other or had the same religious beliefs, stayed together if they could.  In time, a name was chosen for a community by the whole group of families, or by someone looked up to as a leader.

          A township was officially recognized when the people living in the area elected a constable or a tax collector, or presented a petition for official action or approval in such matters as laying out a road or building a dam.

          Some township and village names were chosen because they reminded the settlers of their old homes.  For instance, Darby was named for Derbyshire; Edgmont, also written England, was named by Joseph Baker, an early settler, for the town in Shropshire from which he came; Birmingham, originally spelled Birmingham , was the English home of William Brinton, the first settler in the township.

          Thornbury was named by George Pearce for his wife’s old in Gloucestershire; Aston or Ashton, was at first called Northley, then Aston by Edward Carter, an early settler, for the town in Oxfordshire from which he came.  Radnor and Harford, or Haverford, in the Welsh Tract were names brought from Wales by the settlers.  Haverford means “confluence of two streams.”  Newtown, though not in the Welsh Tract, had many Welsh settlers and may have been named for a Welsh town of the same name, or from the townstead in the center.

          Ridley was the name given by John Simcock in 1682 to his large tract of land north of Amosland, to honor his home town in Cheshire.  When the township was organized, it was named Ridley, Springfield, at first called Ridley-in-the-Woods, was named from a fine spring on the farm of George Maris, an early settler.  In Marple, the early settlers were English and the township may have been named for the English parish Mar Poole, but it is not verified.

          Chichester, the name of an English town, was the name given by William Penn, at the request of some of the residents, to the settlement called Marcus Hook, when he granted a charter in 1701.  The township was organized as Chichester but the townspeople continued to call it Marcus Hook.

          Middletown was so named because it was supposed to be the central township in old Chester County.  This was a mistake, but it is well-named for Delaware County.  Tinicum, too, is well-named.  The name is derived from Tennakonog, an Indian word meaning island.

          Bethel and Concord were known as Concord Liberty until the two townships were organized.  Concord was a name chosen to denote the feeling of good will among the settlers there.  Bethel means House of God.  It was chosen to show the holy purpose of the settlers.  The name Providence was given to express gratitude for a safe journey.

          These 21 townships, all settled and organized before 1688 constituted the whole territory of the county when it was first made a separate county.  They will exist as municipal districts but their area has been reduced by the formation of Chester City and 27 boroughs.


        DCHPN Monthly


February- Black History Month

Check out all these events happening this month related to Black History and other interesting topics. Read the announcements below for important information.


February Events

 Please check the websites for updated information before attending and be safe!


* Indicates a free event. Some events require pre-registration and close when full. The list includes events in the surrounding areas as well. If you have an event you would like on this list on future         e-newsletters, please submit by the end of the month to

"Nurseries of National Wealth": Carpenters' Hall & the First Bank 

Feb 04, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Online- link given after registration

Join us for a fascinating virtual discussion of Carpenters' Hall's connection to the early history of American banking and learn about the exciting plans for the First Bank building. Free members /$5 others

The Institute for Colored Youth

Feb 06, 1:00 PM
Zoom- link given before talk

Judith Giesberg will talk about the Institute for Colored Youth. Opened in 1852, the Institute offered educational opportunities for African American children in Philadelphia. Many graduates and teachers of the Institute became important 19th-century civil rights activists and leaders. $6

*219: The Athenaeum and the "Long 19th Century":1847-1968 with Bruce Laverty

Feb 09, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Online- link given upon registration

Curator of Architecture Bruce Laverty will examine the history of the Athenaeum from the opening of its NHL building in 1847 to 1968. He will discuss our role in Phila's cultural and literary communities, and offer explanations as to why we survived the "Long 19th Century" when so many did not.

*Historic Real Estate, Market Morality and the Politics of Preservation in the Early United States

Feb 09, 7:30 PM
Online- registration required

Dr. Whitney Martinko will discuss her recently published book, which will discuss a wide array of preservation projects undertaken before the preservation of George Washington's Mount Vernon in 1860--the traditional starting point for histories of historic preservation in the United States.

*Lessons Learned From the Black Bethlehem Project

Feb 10, 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
Online- registration required

The Black Bethlehem Project is a first-of-its kind effort that seeks to document the experiences of Bethlehem's Black community- oral histories, documents, and photographs. Learn how librarian M. Rayah Levy built up trust with the community to preserve their history.

*Design Task Force: The Treasure at 1616 Latimer

Feb 11, 2:00 PM

Among the drawings at Penn are those of Edmund Gilchrist, the architect hired by the founders of the Cosmopolitan Club. The commission was unusual for Gilchrist; he was better known for his large homes in the countryside. Bill Whitaker talks about Gilchrist and his drawings.

*Black Wall Street

Feb 11, 5:00 PM
Zoom- registration required

On the hundredth anniversary of Greenwood Massacre, join us for a live online lecture by Syl Woolford, looking back at the causes of the massacre and the destruction of “Black Wall Street”.

*Lincoln Day- Union League Legacy Foundation

Feb 12, 12:00 PM
Zoom- registration required

The program will feature some of the usual Lincoln Day traditions to honor President Lincoln. The keynote will be provided by historian David Blight, with remarks by Union League president Craig Mills.

Building Brands: Corporations and Modern Architecture by Grace Ong Yan

Feb 16, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Online- registration required

Grace Ong Yan will discuss her new book, which examines how clients, architects, and designers together crafted buildings to reflect the company’s brand, carefully considering consumers’ perception and their emotions towards the architecture and the messages they communicated. $5 non-members

Death Loves a Shining Mark

Feb 17, 6:00 PM
Online- link given upon registration

In Victorian America, formal bereavement was an accepted cultural institution. In this virtual program, visitors will learn about Victorian mourning customs and decipher the symbolic messages left behind by Laurel Hill’s dearly departed. Pay what you wish.

*Considering Re-enactments Roundtable

Feb 17, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM EST

Join Cliveden and program participants as they share findings from dialogue with local and re-enactment communities about the relevancy and impact from the Revolutionary Germantown Festival featuring re-enactments of the Battle of Germantown in light of modern day gun violence.

*Brown v. Board: Cheryl Brown Henderson and the Legacy of the 1954 Supreme Court Case

Feb 18, 1:00 PM
Zoom- registration required

Late last year, the National Trust identified work related to expanding the narrative surrounding Brown v. Board as one of our National Treasures. In addition to sharing some history about the case, this session will also include updates on the work to preserve and tell the full story of Brown v. Board.

*CCHPN Virtual Heritage Series ~ Lincoln University

Feb 18, 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Enjoy the rich heritage of Chester County from the comfort of your own home! Webinars will take place "Live at Five" on the Third Thursday of each month. Future programs in 2021 include topics such as: Martin's Tavern, Lincoln University, Historic Property Searches, Langoma and Warwick, and more!

*Ask the Experts - Going Solar

Feb 18, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM EST
Zoom- registration required

Micah Gold-Markel, founder of Philadelphia-based Solar States, will discuss residential solar electric systems as a way to invest in clean energy and the local community. Chris Kurtz of Kurtz Roofing will join the conversation to answer questions about installations on historic houses.  

Black Trailblazers of Philadelphia

Feb 20, 1:00 PM

West Laurel Hill Cemetery Funeral Home,

225 Belmont Ave, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004


West Laurel Hill Cemetery will pay tribute to some of those black Americans who overcame discrimination and adversity to make significant contributions to society, including Dennie Hoggard, Jr., Teddy Pendergrass, and Raymond and Sadie Alexander. $7.50-15.

"Modernism in Lower Merion: Documenting and Preserving a New Generation of Main Line Landmarks"

Feb 23, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM

Greg Prichard will explore the roots of modernism in the community from the Art Deco roots of the era to the Expressway-fueled success of Bala Cynwyd’s “Golden Mile,” and speak to how the Township is working to preserve these new landmarks in one of the region’s oldest communities. $12/15

Part of Speaker Series. Series passes available.

*City of Neighborhoods, Philadelphia 1890-1910

Feb 23, 7:30 PM
Online- registration required

Author Joseph Minardi's talk will discuss his vintage photos and the transformation of Philadelphia into a city of neighborhoods at the turn of the 20th century.

GIS for Cultural Resources: Roundtable Conversation February 2021

Feb 25, 3:00 PM
Online- spaces limited

This roundtable conversation is an opportunity for a free-ranging discussion with other geographic information system (GIS) users in the cultural resource management field. $100

YFPA-SAH Architecture Quizzo

Feb 26, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Sign up individually, or better yet with friends, to test your knowledge of Philadelphia’s architectural icons, planning and infrastructure, suburbs, and popular culture. You'll work in teams to answer five exciting rounds of questions - with prizes for the winning team! $5 non-members

Footprints of Angels- Walking Tour

Feb 28, 1:00 PM
Laurel Hill Cemetery Gatehouse,

3822 Ridge Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19132

This walking tour will feature some of the cemetery’s most beautiful depictions of angels, portrayed in various materials throughout Laurel Hill’s Central section, including Millionaire’s Row. $7.50-15


Heritage Commission Preservation Awards Nominations Due Feb 26

The Heritage Commission traditionally sponsors the Annual Preservation Awards each May during National Preservation Month.  Awards are bestowed to those who have contributed to retaining and maintaining our County’s heritage through a construction project, a special program or project, a planning effort, or a publication. Additional awards are granted to an individual and young person who has contributed significantly to our heritage. The Leedom B. Morrison Award recognizes a construction or special project in Chester City. Go here for more information.


Underground Railroad in Delco

Visit Delco PA will send out information about Delco UGRR sites in their February monthly newsletter. Go here to sign up for the monthly newsletter (which often has historic information) or email

Check out the Upper Darby UGRR walking tour here

Find out more information about the Underground Railroad, especially in Upper Darby, at the Riverview Farm Foundation Facebook page


African American Cultural Heritage Fund

Learn about the Fund and read stories about Green Book sites, important African American Cultural Sites, Projects, Grants and more! The fund was set up in 2017 to support 150 historic places that have been overlooked in American history and represent centuries of African American activism, achievement, and resilience. Find out more here.


America 250 Delco- new name!

The America 250 Delco Committee is forming to help celebrate America's 250th Birthday in 2026 with events, programs and celebrations from 2021 onwards. If you are interested in being on the committee and attending the next meeting, email Kate at

If you are in an organization and you don't want to be on the committee but still want to be involved, also email Kate. 


Precious Places on WHYY

Two Delaware County sites are featured in the Precious Places series on WHYY, both of them Heritage Commission Preservation Award winners- Green Lawn Cemetery and the Yes We Can Achievement and Cultural Center. Check them out on February 10 and 17 at 7:30 pm (and check out all the other places every Thursday at 7:30 pm). Find out more at WHYY


Preservation/ History Books

Looking for some reading material on history and preservation? Want something to add to your holiday wish lists or looking for the perfect gift for a preservationist friend?  The DCHPN website has a list of books and other publications along with links on where to purchase. In addition, the Preservation Alliance has created a list of recommended reading related to their speaker series and local and national history. Check them out here. A portion of the proceeds goes to the PAGP.


Native Sites and Collections

The Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries and Museums is looking for Non-native Institutions holding Native Collections to add to their interactive map of Locations of North American Native Nations and Cultural Institutions. If you have Native American artifacts in your collection, please go to their website-


Virtual Tour of Eden Cemetery and The Woodlands

Parallel Lives in the Fight for Suffrage: Frances Ellen Watkins Harper and Mary Grew

In honor of the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote, this digital tour features two women, and two cemeteries. Frances Ellen Watkins Harper and Mary Grew were both leaders in the abolitionist movement and the fight for women’s right to vote in the 19th century. Their lives overlapped as they were working towards the same goals, and this tour reflects that in their activist activities, organizational affiliations, conferences they attended, their careers in education, and even the churches they belonged to. This tour explores Frances Harper's and Mary Grew's contributions to the abolitionist and suffragist movements and will introduce you to Historic Eden Cemetery and to the Woodlands. Go here for the tour

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