Phoenixville and Coatesville boast America’s earliest Iron and Steel forges. Kennett Square paved the way for the mushroom farming business dating back to 1885, and is now considered the undisputed Mushroom Capital of the World.
The banks of the Brandywine River were the sites of the largest engagement of the American Revolution. The Brandywine Battlefield Park interprets the history of the battle and its effects on the passive Quaker community at the time. Visit a 145-acre living community home to a revolutionary war hospital and soldier’s orphan school among other attractions at Historic Yellow Springs. Come experience America’s history in the rolling hills of Chester County.
Day 1: Brandywine Valley’s Chadds Ford played a vital role in the nation’s development. The Chadds Ford Historical Society nurtures this heritage with the preservation and interpretation of pre- revolutionary homes: John Chads House and The Barns-Brinton House. John Chads House is a fine example of early 18th century Pennsylvania architecture. It is the home of John Chad, the ferryman – farmer for whom Chadds Ford was named. Barns-Brinton House was William Barns’ Tavern in the 1720’s. Built in 1714, on what was then a major thoroughfare between Philadelphia and Maryland, the Tavern provided food and lodging to travelers.
The Battle of Brandywine was the largest engagement of the Revolutionary War. Visit the Brandywine Battlefield Historic Site. Stop at the Visitors Center to gain an overview of the Battle via a film and other interpretations of the war. Schedule a tour of the Benjamin Ring House, General Washington’s headquarters during the battle.
Next visit Valley Forge National Historical Park, the site of the 1777-78 winter encampment of Washington and the Continental army.
Day 2: The many Main Streets and towns of Chester County’s Brandywine Valley have a treasured historic legacy. West Chester, the county seat, offers walking history tours and is the home of the Chester County Historical Society (CCHS). CCHS is a history museum, which tells the American story from a uniquely local perspective.
Phoenixville and Coatesville, with their strong iron and steel heritage, played a large role in the forging of the nation. Visit Coatesville’s Greystone Mansion, once the home of Abram Francis Huston, president of Lukens Iron & Steel Company. And in Phoenixville visit the Phoenix Iron Company Foundry housing historic artifacts, video and large murals showcasing the area’s industrial legacy.
Historic Kennett Square and Oxford, in the southern end of the county, have an agricultural heritage as the region is considered “the mushroom capital of the world” (65% of the nation’s crop comes from this area). Continuing south to Oxford, explore historic covered bridges. This charming town, named for the English village, had its origins as a Native American trail and in later years was a popular stagecoach stop on the way to nearby Maryland.
Day 3: Nestled in the landscape of Chester County are many historical treasures. Historic Sugartown is a restored rural crossroads village. It provides an excellent example of an 18th century self-sufficient community. Waynesborough, the 18th century home of Revolutionary War hero – General Anthony Wayne, is a beautiful Georgian estate. Wayne played a significant role in the revolution as he served with General Washington at Brandywine. Nearby Paoli Battlefield, a 44-acre historic site is a pristine battlefield, much unchanged from the time of the small vicious 1777 battle.
It houses the second oldest Revolutionary War monument in the United States.
Historic Yellow Springs us a unique living village with an incredible 300-year history. From the Native Americans using the “yellow” spring water, through the revolutionary and civil wars and in later years a fine arts and film legacy, the village enriches all who experience it. Nearby Historic Yellow Springs, The Mill at Anselma stands as a testament to Chester County’s industrial heritage. The Mill, a National Historic Landmark, is an authentic example of a custom water-powered grain mill. Another site commemorating the industrial heritage of the region is Hopewell Furnace. Operating from 1771-1883, “iron plantation” Hopewell laid the foundation for the transformation of the United States into an industrial giant. Today the park’s 848 acres and historic structures illustrate the history of the growing nation.