Coatesville, Pennsylvania

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Coatesville is the only city in Chester County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 10,838 at the 2000 census.

Coatesville grew up around the Lukens Steel Company. Lukens was bought by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in 1997. In 2002, Bethlehem was bought by the then Ohio-based International Steel Group (ISG). Later, Mittal Steel bought ISG and then merged with Arcelor Steel to form the ArcelorMittal company.

Contents

History

The first known settlement in the area which would be known as Coatesville was a Native American village built along the Brandywine River. This settlement was a post for fur trading with the earliest American settlers. The Brandywine River features prominently in the history of Coatesville.

William Fleming, originally from Scotland, is one of the earliest landowners on record. He built a log cabin in the area of Harmony Street and 5th Avenue and owned about 207 acres (0.84 km2) of land bordering the Brandywine River.[1]

Moses Coates, a prosperous farmer and the namesake of Coatesville, bought the Fleming house from Fleming's son in 1787. Moses Coates' son-in-law, Jesse Kersey, came up with a plan to develop the area by selling frontage on the recently completed Lancaster Turnpike which crossed through their land. The Lancaster Turnpike was the first toll road in the U.S., authorized in 1792 and completed in 1795. There was a tollgate located within the present day Coatesville city limits.[2] Coatesville became a popular stopping point since it was located roughly half way between Philadelphia and Lancaster on the Turnpike.

Another one of the earliest settlers in the Coatesville region was named Pierre Bizallion. He was a French fur trader who settled in the area in the early 18th century, and was said to have been an interpreter between William Penn and the Native Americans.[3] The Veterans Administration Hospital now sits on a piece of the roughly 500 acres (2.0 km2) of land that was once owned by Pierre.

Before Coatesville became the only city in Chester County, it was a town called Bridge-Town, because of the two bridges that were used to cross the Brandywine River. A village named "Midway", named after its station owned by the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad midway between Philadelphia and Lancaster, was also formed in 1834[4] on the western bank of the Brandywine. The village of Midway and the village of Bridge-Town merged to become the Borough of Coatesville in 1867, after the completion of the Civil War. Coatesville citizens finally voted to become a city in 1915.

Coatesville was able to capitalize on the natural energy available due to the Brandwine River running through the area. Jesse Kersey, Moses Coates' son-in-law, partnered with the ironmaster Isaac Pennock and purchased over 110 acres (0.45 km2) of Moses Coates' farm along both sides of the Brandywine River in 1810. The resulting company was named the Brandywine Iron Works and Nail Factory, the forerunner of Lukens Steel. Charles Lukens, MD, married Isaac Pennock's daughter, Rebecca in 1813. Following her husband's death in 1825, Rebecca Pennock Lukens took over the operations of the mill, purchasing it from her mother and seeing it through turmoil and market panic into a prosperous mill. Rebecca was one of the first female operators of a major corporation in America.[5]

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