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Town Tours and Village Walks

Town Tours and Village Walks

Introduction | June Tours | July Tours | August Tours | Brochure (PDF)

The Chester County Board of Commissioners through the Chester County Planning Commission; the Chester County Historical Society; Westtown Township; the Chester County Historic Preservation Network; and the Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau announce the 21st summer of sharing Chester County's heritage during the annual "Town Tours & Village Walks."

Town Tours & Village Walks is a series of free summer strolls through historic neighborhoods, hamlets, villages and sites. This summer, you can explore Chester County's heritage on Thursday evenings, June 11 - August 20. For all but noted programs, the first tour begins at 5:30 pm and tours continue until 7:00 pm with no pre-registration needed. Each tour is designed to inform, entertain and increase awareness of Chester County's rich heritage and historic landscape. A number of our sites offer a good selection of restaurants and shops to enjoy after your tour. Note: The June 11th Kick-Off Tour requires on-site registration starting at 5:30 pm and the Trolley Tour on August 20th begins at 3 pm and requires pre-reservations. See Tour Brochure for specifics.

Chester County possesses a rich, diverse, and intriguing African American history, ranging from enslaved Africans held by founder William Penn, to Quakers and the Underground Railroad, to the county's role in the American Civil War and later in the Civil Rights Movement. The meetinghouses and homes of Quakers and other abolitionists still stand as silent testimony to the struggles surrounding race in this country. They are joined by our iron and steel heritage which provided work and pay for an honest day's labor regardless of race, religion or country of birth. Across the summer the tours will highlight the homes, meetinghouses, and resting places of the brave men and women who "recognized the Equal Brotherhood of the Human Family" before and after the Civil War. In West Chester, we will visit the homes of Horace Pippin and Bayard Rustin, famous Chester County African Americans. We will explore the industrial communities that offered hope and livelihood in Kennett Square Borough, Phoenixville and Coatesville. We will help East and West Whiteland celebrate their 250th anniversary and explore Civil War era archaeology in Historic Yellow Springs.

Last year, over 2,500 Chester County citizens and visitors enthusiastically endorsed the assortment of historic evening walking tours! In 2005, Preservation Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission awarded the program one of two statewide educational awards.

For more information, refer to www.chesco.org/planning/towntours, or contact Karen Marshall, Heritage Preservation Coordinator, at 610-344-6923 for a brochure.


Special Program: May 16, Noon to 4 pm, $24 admission
Call 610-647-5835 for more information
Mt. Zion AME Church, 380 N. Fairfield Road, Devon

Mount Zion AME Church in Tredyffren Township was listed on the National Register of Historic Places this year in recognition of its role in the battle known as the "School Fight." Between 1932 and 1934, Mount Zion was the meeting place for the families of more than 200 students who fought a move by school officials in Tredyffrin and Easttown Townships to place the youngsters in segregated schools. The children were assigned to run-down elementary school buildings, while their white classmates were to attend a new elementary school building set to open in fall 1932. During the controversy, parents protested and were jailed and fined for refusing to send their children to school. Some students were sent to nearby districts to continue their education. Others just didn't go to class. In March 1934, state Attorney General William A. Schnader intervened, urging the district to rescind the ruling. It did, and most students returned to school with the white students.