Town Tours and Village Walks

Summer 2016 Town Tours and Village Walks
Celebrates 300 Years of Iron and Steel Heritage

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 22nd 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 9 – August 25. Tours generally last 50 minutes and begin at 5:30 pm with the last tour leaving at 7:00 pm unless otherwise noted. 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. Please note: The June 9th Kick-Off begins at 5:30 pm; our June 16th tour runs from 6 to 7:30 pm, no reservations required; and our July 14th Trolley Tour will begin at 3 pm and requires reservations. The August 25/27th program will be Thursday and Saturday from 2 to 4 pm.

The first iron forge in Pennsylvania was started in 1716 by Thomas Rutter on the banks of the Manatawny Creek in what was Chester County but today is Douglass Township, Berks County. In 1717, Coventry Forge was established at Coventryville, Chester County; the second forge in PA. These were the forerunners of the many Pennsylvania forges which were so vital to early settlers and provided much of the ordinance in our struggle for independence. Soon, immigrants from around the world came to our area to seek a fair days wage for a fair days work in the iron and steel industries. Our region saw the struggle to end slavery and welcomed the nation's first female industrialist, all the while supplying iron, steel and innovation that would power our country's drive to become a world powerWe owe much to our Chester County founders, people of ability and courage who literally started with the ground they walked on and the forest around them.

Three hundred years later, Chester County still plays an important role in all parts of the metals industry. Metal products still range from basic iron and steel items to highly specialized steel alloys and beryllium alloys for use throughout the Nation. The industrial historic landscape offers much to explore. It includes pristine streams, woodlands and open fields; historic villages,ironmaster mansions, and industrial complex ruins; restored industrial sites; and urban areas where the legacy of industry mingles with active businesses. Courage and ingenuity must never grow old, and although we work at different tasks today, we have the need of the same incentives as that which built our iron and steel heritage. Help us honor that legacy that began 300 years ago!

For more information, refer to www.chesco.org/planning/towntours or contact Karen Marshall, Heritage Preservation Coordinator, at 610-344-6923 or [email protected] for a brochure. See the schedule for June, July and August.

For information on the 300th Anniversary of Iron & Steel Heritage, refer to: www.ironandsteelheritage.org or contact Jim Ziegler at the National Iron and Steel Heritage Museum, 610-383-3812, [email protected].