Newtown Square Historical Society
Newtown Township is fortunate to have an active, energetic and committed Historical Society, who have become the caretakers and teachers of our rich and proud local history. The main purpose of the Society are to protect, preserve and promote the historic resources of the Township, and to tell its story to all of its residents and visitors. Each year, children and adults find a full schedule of activities, events and opportunities to visit our historical sites. The Society is an all-volunteer, non-profit 501(c)(3) community organization.
1st Tuesday of every month
|Name||Position / Focus|
|Cathy Cavalier-Gach||President / Events|
|Vince Gutierrez||Vice President / Facilities|
|Doug Humes||Communications and Programs|
|Nancy Falcone||Guides and Membership|
|Kathy Luskus||Square Tavern|
|Arlene Caruso||At Large|
|Karen Bottger||At Large|
|Walt Albert||At Large|
|(Position Open)||Paper Mill House|
- Monthly programs run from October through May.
- Annual Historic Newtown Square Day in June (started in 1995 – next year is 28th anniversary)
- Program book for Historic Newtown Square Day – our biggest revenue source – funds all that we do
- Annual school tours: since 1995 – 4th graders learn about Newtown Square history and life in Colonial Times
- Ellis Scholarship Award: $500 each year to a local high school student
- Newtown Square History Center at the 1828 Paper Mill House - open most Saturdays from 12 - 4pm. Visit the website below for scheduled dates and times
- 1742 Square Tavern - open most Saturdays from 1 - 4pm. Visit the website below for scheduled dates and times
- Bartram Covered Bridge and Hood Octagonal School; visit the website below for scheduled dates and times
- Visit the Newtown Historic website for more information and follow us on Facebook!
What help we need?
People who want to get involved
Takes resources and manpower; our board of 10-15 individuals do virtually all of the work! Entire generation of people who built the organization have passed away or moved away, so we need more young people to get involved.
- publicity – solicit referrals;
- Volunteer for events – guides, help clean PMH; help organize archives, catalog photos, help with architectural dig; help with school tours;
- help with website
- research and writing;
- Buy ads in our annual program book and help us sell them by promoting the Township and its rich history. This is our biggest revenue source for all activities!
Brief History of Newtown Square
- 1681: William Penn – real estate developer; Penn’s first planned inland New Town west of City – Holmes map
- Settled by Welsh Quakers
- Father of American painting, Benjamin West, lived at Tavern.
- Was a crossroads of the Revolution – Wayne lived up the street, British raiding parties visited several times, one of Washington’s spies, Major John Clark, operated from the Lewis farm on Goshen Road.
- The outlaw Sandy Flash reportedly had a connection to the Tavern
Crossroads of history – Ben West, Sandy Flash, British raids, Major Clark – all at crossroads – get photo from tavern window
After Revolution, West Chester Turnpike was built – new hotel built up there in 1793 or so, and slowly the town gravitated to that intersection and away from the Goshen Rd intersection.
National Register Site
Five Buildings on National Register of Historic Places:
- 1715 St. David's Church
- 1742 Square Tavern
- 1828 Crosley
- 1842 Hood Octagonal
- 1860 Bartram Bridge
- Annual School Tours
1715 St. David's Church and Graveyard:
The second oldest church building in the community, the old stone church that was standing at the time of the American Revolution is still there, Longfellow’s “little church among its graves”, the final resting place of General Mad Anthony Wayne.
1742 Square Tavern:
As a child, Benjamin West began to paint here, learned how to mix colors from the natives, went abroad to study, settled in London and became the teacher to the first generations of American artists, and one of the founders of the Royal Academy of Arts. This crossroads tavern also witnessed the troops of Howe and Washington during the British occupation of Philadelphia in 1777-78. The Tavern is open most Saturdays from 1 - 4pm for tours.
1828 Crosley-Garrett Mill Workers' Housing, Store and Mill Site:
In the 19th century, this building on the banks of the Darby Creek housed mill workers for the textile mills across the creek, and also was the general store for the mill community. Today the building has a re-created general store and museum on local history.
1842 Hood Octagonal School:
The Hood Octagonal School, an early public school in Newtown Township, was built by James Dunwoody in 1842, and replaced a log school of the same name that was built by his father Joseph Dunwoody and two neighbors for their children. It is a one room schoolhouse built in an unusual octagonal shape. High windows let in light without distracting students from their work. One student, William Hood Dunwoody, son of the man who built the school, moved west to make his fortune and struck gold as one of the owners of the Washburn Crosby Company, the makers of Gold Medal Flour.
Visit the Newtown Historic website of touring information.
1860 Bartram Bridge:
The old Goshen Road was a main thoroughfare for Chester County farmers headed to markets in Philadelphia. Before 1860, they had to cross a ford at Crum Creek that could be treacherous. The adjoining township of Newtown and Willistown petitioned their respective counties to build a bridge to replace the ford, and the bridge built in 1860 survives to this day, a much loved member of the community.
At the time of an inventory ten years ago we had 116 structures deemed worthy of some legal protection. We have a wealth of history – but we are losing some each year. Visit the Newtown Historic website of touring information.