East Pikeland Township, Pennsylvania

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East Pikeland Township is a township in Chester County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 6,551 at the 2000 census.

Contents

History

Pike's Land was the first name given to a grant of 10,000 acres (40 km2) by William Penn to Joseph Pike from County Cork, Ireland, in 1705. It was eventually sold by Pike's descendants and in 1838 was split in two parts, East Pikeland and West Pikeland.[1]

Mr. E. Kimber established the French Creek Boarding School for Girls in the 1830s and gave his name to the Village of Kimberton. East Pikeland today retains over 150 historically significant structures and sites. Those located in the historic Kimberton Village are the Kimberton Inn, the girls' school, Chrisman's Mill (now the Kimberton Post Office), the Kimberton Train Station and Pennypackers Mill. The Zion Lutheran Church on Route 724 holds the distinction of being the second oldest Lutheran Church in the United States; and the Rapps Dam Covered Bridge and the Silver Bridge iron bridge on Hares Hill Road both have historic significance.

East Pikeland was directly involved in the Revolutionary War, especially from 1775 through 1778, and most heavily during the "Philadelphia Campaign" in 1777 and 1778. It was a source of provisions for the Army from its farms, mills and cottage industries. Military importance came in 1775 with the authorization by the Committee of Safety in Philadelphia from the Continental Powder Mill, and the site chosen was at Rapps Dam on French Creek. The mill was a key element in a system of munitions supply that involved the Warwick and Reading iron furnaces near the headwaters of French Creek, which together with other furnaces such as Hopewell produced cannon and ammunition for Washington. The prime location of the mill on the creek with its long millrace was not forgotten after the war. Some of the mill buildings were reconstructed and over the next 150 years, continued to operate variously as oil, saw, grist and spoke mills.

East Pikeland Township has seen considerable change since the early part of the 20th century. The area around Kimberton saw expanded housing areas, as did the corridors near Routes 23 & 724. Only the main roads were paved, according to a 1938 map. The reason for the growth in the township over the years has been an influx of population that has found East Pikeland Township an attractive and practical place to live. The suburbanization of the township, as most areas, occurred as the availability of automobiles made the general population mobile. In 1940, the township population was 976. Space to house the ever-increasing population came from the conversion of lands that had traditionally been dairy or wheat farms. Although some farms remain today, the predominant land use pattern in the central portion of the township is residential. The spread of suburban development has occurred primarily in the French Creek valley, along Cold Stream Road. Also occurring since World War II has been the development of townhouse complexes, shopping centers and industrial sites, such as the Cromby Power Station (PECO) and shopping centers along Routes 23 & 724. The closing of the remaining one and two room school houses occurred in the 1950s, in favor of the regional school system.

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