In 1682, William Penn created three counties in Pennsylvania: Bucks, Philadelphia, and Chester. West Chester became the county seat in 1789 when the original county seat, Chester, became part of the newly-formed Delaware County.
Located in the Brandywine Valley, Chester County is a beautiful area filled with green hills, picturesque farms, elegant wineries, and charming Bed & Breakfasts. With its convenient location just west of Philadelphia, residents of Chester County can easily reach the city for work or to enjoy the historic sites, museums, theaters, shops, nightclubs, and restaurants.
Part of the Valley Forge National Historic Park is located in Chester County. This park commemorates the site where the Continental Army spent the winter of 1777-78. It contains historic buildings, memorials, and museums. Reenactments are also popular, along with programs and tours. The park also features 26 miles of hiking and biking trails. French Creek State Park is popular for fishing, mountain biking, hiking, and horseback riding. Marsh Creek State Park and White Clay Creek Preserve are also located in Chester County.
There are over 300 sites and districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Chester County. These sites include covered bridges, such as Bartram’s Covered Bridge, which was built in 1860 and is 30 feet long; mills, such as Lightfoot Mill, a grist mill built around 1747; Quaker structures, such as the Uwchlan Meetinghouse, built in 1756; buildings such as Warwick Furnace Farms, built in 1738; and taverns, such as the Barns-Brinton House, built in 1714. Other sites include important Revolutionary War sites, churches, early settlements, and private homes.
Chester County contains many colleges and universities, including Penn State Great Valley, Lincoln University, West Chester University of Pennsylvania, Immaculata University, and Cheyney University of Pennsylvania.
Boroughs located in Chester County include Spring City, Oxford, Modena, Honey Brook, Avondale, Downingtown, Elverson, Atglen, and Parkesburg. Townships include New London, Londonderry, London Grove, Kennett, Highland, Franklin, Caln, Charlestown, East Nottingham, Willistown, Warwick, Uwchalan, and Elk.