West Chester is the county town and seat of justice of Chester County, Pennsylvania. The exact location of the borough, or rather of the court-house, was ascertained in 1843 by E.W. Beans, then principal of the public school in West Chester, and Walter Hibbard, surveyor and conveyance.

It is situated on the water-shed or dividing ridge between the Brandywine and Chester Creek, 2 miles from the former stream, near one of the sources of the latter, 5 miles s of the great Limestone or Chester Valley, 23 miles west of the original city of Philadelphia, about 16 miles north of Wilmington, Del and about 456 feet above tide.

On the 28th March, 1799, the town of West Chester was erected into a borough by an act of the Legislature. This elevation required burgesses and assistants to manage the municipal affairs. At the census of 1790, West Chester was but 4 years old - and was only counted as a portion of Goshen Township

The original plan of the village or town proper of West Chester consisted of 4 contiguous squares, with 2 principal streets crossing in the center, and yet, simple as it was, with that utter disregard of symmetry and lack of good taste which characterized the projectors of the plan and early buildings, neither of the streets crossed at right angles and consequently none of the so-called squares was rectangular. An oblique policy, strongly redolent of barbarism, seemed to prevail among the primitive Cestrians, and it's sinister influence was long perceptible. In 1829, several additional streets were opened and new squares formed. People then began to perceive the advantage of setting private dwellings back from the street, of having side-yards, and of planting ornamental shade-trees and shrubbery. Until this improvement was introduced and those trees planted which now render the streets of West Chester so umbrageous and pleasant, our pedestrians found nothing to intercept the glare of the summer sun, save here and there, at long intervals, a straggling relic of a decaying Lombardy poplar.

In the year 1799 the apprehension of fire induced the formation of the first West Chester Fire Co, which is still kept up in good condition, with 2 other efficient companies; the Good Will, organized in 1833 and the Fame, organized in 1838.

This page updated on March 1, 2009