Connecting to Our Past
Each building in the Chester County Historic Toile was meticulously captured. Discover the vibrant and exciting stories behind these structures, where battles transpired, land developed, and relationships forged and sustained for future residents.
Diamond Rock School House
The Diamond Rock Schoolhouse is a historic octagonal one-room school. A well-known landmark in The Chester Valley, it is located at the foot of Diamond Rock Hill in Tredyffrin Township, just a stone's throw from Valley Forge National Historic Park, the village of Paoli, and the Great Valley Corporate Center.
The Diamond Rock Schoolhouse was used as a school between 1818 and 1864. As the population of the area grew during the mid-1800s, the school eventually became too small, and it closed in 1864 when students were reallocated to other nearby schools. After 1864, the old schoolhouse fell into disrepair but was eventually restored in 1909 by the Diamond Rock School Old Pupils Association, a group of former students who saw great value in preserving their former school for future generations. Their stewardship continues today under a new name, The Diamond Rock Schoolhouse Preservation Association.
Valley Forge Covered Bridge
The iconic Knox Covered Bridge on Yellow Springs Road in Valley Forge National Historical Park has received an important preservation treatment, thanks to the perseverance of the Friends of Valley Forge Park. The bridge was originally built in 1865 and spans across Valley Creek. It was named for former Attorney General Philander Chase Knox whose farm was nearby. Today it is a popular site for local artists to render the image in photographs and paintings. The 1865 wooden span is strongly associated with the park, but is owned and maintained by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
According to an entry in an existing leather bound religious pamphlet of Joseph Pennock, the builder, Primitive Hall was started in the latter part of 1738. Joseph Pennock, who came from Tipperary County, Ireland, had acquired the property in 1703 by virtue of a purchase in 1683 by his maternal grandfather, George Collet, of grants totaling 5,000 acres signed by William Penn. George Collet was an English Quaker whose business in Ireland was the Tanning of hides and lived in a leased property, Killhouse Castle, near Clonmel, Tipperary County. The original tract of land in West Marlborough Township consisted of 1,250 acres of which Joseph Pennock, after subtracting an earlier gift of land to one of his sons, owned 700 acres in 1738. This remained intact at the time of his death in 1771.
St. David’s Episcopal Church
St. David's Episcopal Church, often known as St. David's at Radnor or as Old St. David's, is a parish of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, founded in the early 18th century and named after the Patron Saint of Wales. A Book of Common Prayer, given as a gift to Lydia Leamy in 1854, refers to St. David's as "Radnor Church". It has grown to be the largest congregation in the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, with some 950 active families and 3,000 members. The original church building, built in 1715 and the subject of a Longfellow poem, still stands. It is in nearly the same condition as when it was built, several new buildings having been constructed to house the growing congregation. The adjacent graveyard is a part of the historic site. The church property is divided by the borders of three townships, in two counties, often causing confusion as to the church's location.
John Chad’s House
The John Chads House is perched on a hill overlooking the Brandywine River flood plain in Chadds Ford, PA. John Chad was the ferryman/farmer after which the ford in the river and the village of Chadds Ford were named.
The house was built in 1725, possibly by John Wyeth, Jr. In 1729, John married Elizabeth Richardson. They occupied the home together until John died in 1760. Elizabeth remained in the house for over 60 years, and according to reports, observed Hessian and Continental troop movements from the attic window. The House and the Springhouse remained in private ownership until their rescue by the Chadds Ford Historical Society in 1968.
Birmingham Friends Meeting House
Birmingham Friends Meetinghouse is a historic Quaker meeting house at 1245 Birmingham Road in Birmingham Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania. The current meetinghouse was built in 1763. The building and the adjacent cemetery were near the center of fighting on the afternoon of September 11, 1777 at the Battle of Brandywine.
The first Quaker meeting in Birmingham Township was held about 1690. In 1718 a meetinghouse was built from red cedar logs. A burial ground, surrounded by a stone wall, was established in the 1750s. The building was made out of stone in 1763 and measured 38 by 41 feet. During the Battle of Brandywine, the British forces attempted to flank the Continental forces under General George Washington. The Continental forces rushed north to meet the British in the area of the meetinghouse. It was used as a hospital first for the Americans, and after the battle for British officers. The stone wall around the cemetery was used as a defensive position by the Americans. After the battle, dead British and American soldiers shared a common grave in the cemetery.
The meetinghouse was enlarged in 1819 and an octagonal school was completed in August,1819 at a cost of $712.57. The school was used on and off through 1905.