Founding of Newtown Township
Newtown Township was settled & established in 1681 and incorporated as a Township in 1684 with a land area of 10.11 square miles. The early settlers in Newtown Square in the late 1600’s were Quakers from Wales and other parts of England seeking a better life for their families. They arrived after a journey of three to six months across the ocean and from the port of Philadelphia. They then made their way 13 miles west through forest to arrive in Newtown Square. The early settlers arrived to an area of virgin forest, and what they considered the frontier.
In 1683 William Penn planned the “first inland town west of Philadelphia” at the intersection of Goshen Road (laid out in 1687) and Newtown Street Road (laid out in 1683). The Township was laid out around a center square, or “townstead”, of approximately one square mile surrounded by farmland. Original purchasers of land in the Township received one acre in the townstead for every ten acres of surrounding farmland. William Penn had originally planned New Town while still in England. In a 1722 Newtown census there was a population of 75-100 people, by 1799 there were 500 people, by 1860 there were 830 people and the 2010 census shows the estimated population at 12,216.
Some farms and large estates remain, but for the most part, the Township has developed into a suburban community with old stone homes and structures dotting the landscape to serve as reminders of days gone by.
Today, Newtown Township is a Second Class Township and follows the rules of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Second Class Township Code.
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 purposes 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.
Elected Board of Directors
|Vice President||Ray Lopez|
Newtown Township sites that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places:
- Old. St. David’s Church (1715)
- Square Tavern (1742)
- Paper Mill House (1770, 1845)
- Hood Octagonal School (1842)
- Bartram’s Covered Bridge (1860)
Visit the Newtown Square Historical Society Website for a history of our Township, view many historical images and maps and find other history-related links.
The Newtown Square Pennsylvania Railroad Museum is located at Drexel Lodge Park on West Chester Pike. It houses the old freight station that was at the end-of-the-line of the Newtown Square branch of the PRR. Several years ago, the abandoned station was saved from destruction and relocated to the nearby Drexel Lodge, where a train museum built up around it, including a passenger car, caboose, box car and small engine. Most recently added and waiting for restoration is a Saint Louis style trolley car which ran along West Chester Pike between 69th Street and West Chester until 1954. A Red Arrow Lines car stop was originally located just feet away from where the trolley now sits.