Charlestown Township, Chester County, PA

 
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Established June 2, 1997
by citizens for citizens

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March 16, 1998

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August 13, 1997
  
A beautiful part of southeastern Pennsylvania
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Did You Know?......

This is an archive of the Did you know? tidbits posted from time to time on our home page. Items are listed chronologically as they are posted, with the oldest posting shown first. Links are provided to our References page where the sources of the historical information are listed. Enjoy...
 
12/30/98 Did You Know?   In 1862, Charlestown had 5 public (common) schools staffed by 4 male and 3 female instructors teaching 131 boys and 107 girls. The ratio of teachers to schools was deemed too high and subject to correction. [Ref: Dept of Common Schools, p.197]
 
01/03/99 Did You Know?   "In 1825, when the Schuylkill Canal was opened in 1825, the inhabitants of Charlestown Township had a road laid out beginning in Nutt´s Road near Moore Hall Mill, crossing Pickering Creek and continuing its course on the south side of that stream until it intercepted a public road on an island in the river nearly opposite the mouth of Pickering Creek called the Long Ford. By means of this road they hoped to have 'an open course to and from the Schuylkill Canal and to be able to deposit their produce there and to receive at the same point lumber, iron and coal.'" [Ref: MacElree, p.395]
 
01/14/99 Did You Know?   The area called "Aldham", along Rt. 29 in the vicinity of the Great Valley Nature Center, was originally to have its railroad station named "Reeseville" for John Rees, who owned a paper mill in the area. Since there was already a "Reeseville" in southeastern PA, the station was renamed "Aldham" after a village in Essex, England. [Ref: Pinkowski, p.21]
 
01/26/99 Did You Know?   "Bacton", as in the Bacton Hill portion of Route 401, was originally named "Backtown". The story is: "When a little settlement in East Whiteland Township was about to receive a railroad station, a stockholder complained that the Phoenixville branch of the railroad would serve only the back towns. So the station halfway between West Chester and Phoenixville was named Backtown, and soon the passengers shortened it to Bacton. The citizens used the abbreviated form in their application for a post office in 1887. The same village had been served six decades earlier by a post office knows as Valley Hill, located for three years in Stump Tavern, which has since become a private dwelling." [Ref: Pinkowski, p.27]
 
02/01/99 Did You Know?   Charlestown Village was once called "Scrabble" as well as "Hardscrabble". The 1955 program for the 125th Anniversary of The Methodist Church in Charlestown Village notes that the village was once called "Scrabble". Quoting from the program, "The story is told of a group of Scrabble youth who, in the late 1880's, loosed a chicken in the midst of a solemn evening service. It is likely that tail feathers flew in the church and again later in a few neighborhood homes." In addition, Janet Baldwin's "Twenty Questions" at the 1998 Charlestown Historical Society's Patrons Dinner notes that "Hardscrabble" and "Egypt" were two names for Charlestown Village before it was named officially in 1826." [Ref: The Methodist Church in Charlestown Village, 125 Anniv., Baldwin, "20 Questions"]
 
02/19/99 Did You Know?   Dr. Rubin, a Phoenixville dentist with 1932 office hours of 9 A.M. to 8 P.M. Daily except for closing at 6 P.M. on Wed and Sat, offered "Painless Air Extraction, asleep or awake" for 50 cents per tooth, with a "Nurse always in attendance". You could also get a "Full mouth X-Ray for $5, no appointment necessary". [Ref: Bell Telephone (Spring 1932), IFC]
 
03/04/99 Did You Know?   In 1923, the Keystone Automobile Club published a monthly magazine "Keystone Motorist". The magazine had a letters column titled "Plural Free Delivery". The January 1923 column had the following letter from a William E. Lockwood, Jr. and it is both interesting and amusing to read about the Rt. 100 and Rt. 30 intersection in Exton as it was perceived in 1923, at which time there apparently was no stop light or stop sign in either direction. The practice in those days (actually a legal requirement at some intersections) was to sound one's horn when approaching an intersection. The letter is shown below under its original heading, "Care Needed on New Road".
GENTLEMEN:
With the completion of the concrete road from West Chester, Pennsylvania, to Pottstown, a distance of twenty miles, motorists will be able to drive on continuously good roads from Washington, D.C., to Pottstown, and from there north to the Delaware Water Gap and through to New York State. This road crosses the Lincoln Highway near Exton, Pennsylvania, and with the constantly increasing traffic at this intersection of the two main highways, it is developing into one of the most dangerous crossings in the State. The Club has placed a traffic officer at this point Saturdays and Sundays of each week, but with all the care that is being taken accidents are increasing and will continue to increase unless something is done to prevent them. It is proposed to place four danger flash signals at this point, two on the Pottstown Road and the other two on the Lincoln Highway. This should help and do a lot of good, but not until the motorists themselves realize the importance of slowing down and sounding their horns at this crossing will it be made safe for people to travel. Many persons say that this is an open intersection, but, from the number of accidents that have taken place, it is not so open as it looks. I live just above this crossing on the Pottstown Road and have seen the result of many of these accidents and I thought it only fair to the fellow members of our Club who are not familiar with this place to warn them of the great danger at this point. Wm. E. Lockwood Jr. [Ref: Keystone Motorist (January 1929)]
 
05/07/99 Did You Know?   "Squire" John M. H. Hamilton was a Justice of the Peace, Notary, Tax Collector and Foster Parent whose residence and office (now gone) were on the outside of the Route 29 (State Road) bend in front of the current entrance to Charlestown Hunt. Hamilton is listed in the Spring 1932 Telephone Directory of Pottstown and Vicinity, which included a broadly defined Phoenixville area. [Ref: Bell Telephone (Spring 1932)]
 
12/15/99 Did You Know?   Early 1930's Commerce in Charlestown - Palmer T. Baughman was the proprietor of "Charlestown Garage". Fisher & Son. Co. was located in Aldham. [Ref: Bell Telephone (Spring 1932), p.123]
 
01/19/00 Did You Know?   Before Charlestown Elementary School was built in 1925, Charlestown had five one-room schools. "Amity", the oldest, was in the Playschool play yard; "Hopewell" was on Green Lane, "Littles" was on Pikeland Rd. near Church Road, "Longwood" was at the corner of Valley Hill and Bodine Roads, and "Union" was on Whitehorse Road near Union Hill Road. [Ref: Baldwin, "20 Questions"]
 
02/03/00 Did You Know?   "Peake´s Pike", which connects Pickering Dam Road with Route 29, was named at a planning meeting in the 1950s by Lucius Crowell, Ed Peake and Clarkson Wentz (cum martinis) to note the adjacent residence of Edwin Peake. [Baldwin, "20 Questions"]
 
02/19/00 Did You Know?   "Devault" is the first name of the man for whom the post office and community was named. While Devault Beaver´s last name would have been the logical choice, there were already two post offices named "Beaver" when the request for the new post office was made.[Baldwin, "20 Questions"]
 
03/07/00 Did You Know?   Longwood School, the only black school in Charlestown, was built at the corner of Valley Hill and Bodine Roads, where the ruins can still be seen. The school opened in 1856 and closed in 1901. [Baldwin, "20 Questions"]
 
04/20/00 Did You Know?   The Phoenixville - West Chester Railroad through Charlestown Township had two stations within the Township and three more just outside our Township border. Click here for a portion of a 1904 map showing the railroad and its stops, with the Sidley Station incorrectly shown within Charlestown. [Scarborough, "Map of Pennsylvania"]
 
05/25/00 Did You Know?   A favorite commercial community swimming hole and picnic grounds in the ´20s and ´30s was "Baughman´s Beach" on the Pickering Creek, just west of the old Baughman barn by the old mill in the village. [Ref: Baldwin, "20 Questions"]
 
07/25/00
07/25/01
Did You Know?   The Valley Forge Military Hospital on Charlestown Road operated during WW II, the Korean and the Vietnam Wars, 1943 - 1975. An attempt to donate the land of Coldstream Farm and Middlemarch Farm to the government for the hospital was made by Frank Foster. The donation was rejected by the War Department who, on July 1, 1942, purchased the 180 acres for $25,200. On July 2, 1942, Henry L. Simpson, Secretary of War, took formal possession of the land. [Ref: United States Army, "Silver Anniversary..."] (Corrected 07/25/01)

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