Ridley Park, Pennsylvania

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Ridley Park is a borough in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 7,196 at the 2000 census. Ridley Park is the home of Boeing Helicopters.[1]

Contents

History

Native American

The Lenape inhabited the Delaware River region several centuries before the arrival of European explorers and traders. The Okehocking Tribe of the Lenni Lenape Nation established small permanent villages along the river and its main tributaries. Land adjacent to Stoney Creek in Ridley Township has been identified as a Native American town site. Historians also believe that additional villages may have existed at other locations along Stoney Creek and Crum Creek in Ridley Park.[2] Native Americans significantly influenced the built environment through their network of paths laid out for travel and communication purposes. Their footpaths through the densely forested countryside grew into the first roads of the area. Chester Pike is believed to have developed from a footpath created by the Lenni Lenape as their main thoroughfare in the area.[3]

Colonial

The borough is named after a place in Cheshire, England. John Morton, signer of the American Declaration of Independence, was born and raised in a log cabin adjacent to East Ridley Avenue. He later replaced the cabin with a brick house and began farming 133 acres (0.54 km2) in the Ridley Park area.[4] Chester Pike, originally a footpath, was realigned and widened by William Penn. Known then as the “Queens Highway,” it was one of the region’s first roads stretching from Chester to Darby, and by 1715, it reached Philadelphia. General George Washington led his troops down this earthen road to Wilmington and eventually to Brandywine to confront the British in 1777.[5] In 1799, the “Queens Highway” was improved as a plank road, and tolls were levied. The population of the area continued to increase after the American Revolutionary War. Consequently, a private elementary subscription school was founded in 1800 on a site at Chester Pike and Myrtle Avenue. This was one of the first schools in Delaware County.[2]

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