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Many thanks to Dave Andrews, Drexel Hill, PA for sharing the following article from the proceedings of the Delaware County Historical Society with us. It is a talk presented by Chester historian Henry Graham Ashmead, Esq. on March 4, 1897.

 

Chester Streets

Back St.

Baker St.

Barclay St.

Bevan St.

Blossom Ave.

Broad St.

Brobson St.

Broomall St.

Butler St.

Caldwell St.

Campbell St.

Canal St.

Church St.

Clarence St.

Clinton St.

Cochran St.

Concord Ave.

Courtlandt St.

Crosby St.

Deshong St.

Dock St.

Edgmont Ave.

Eighth St.

Eleventh St.

Elizabeth St.

Elkinton Ave.

Essex St.

Esrey St.

Evans St.

Eyre St.

Fifteenth St.

Fifth St.

Filbert St.

First St.

Fourteenth St.

Frederick St.

Free St.

Front St.

Gallatin St.

Girard Ave.

Graham St.

Green St.

High St.

Hinkson St.

Howell St.

Hyatt St.

James St.

Jefferson St.

Kerlin St.

King's HIghway

Larkin St.

Ledward St.

Leiper Ave.

Liberty St.

Lindsay Ave.

Lloyd St.

Logan St.

Love Lane

McIlvain St.

Market St.

Mary St.

Mechanic St.

Melrose Ave.

Middle St.

Morton Ave.

Norris St.

Parker St.

Patterson Sr.

Penn St.

Pennell St.

Philadelphia Plank Rd.

Pine St.

Porter St.

Potter St.

Powell's Court

Powhattan St.

Prospect Ave.

Providence Rd

Pusey St.

Quarry St.

Queen's Highway

Queen's Rd.

Railroad Ave.

Reaney's Lane

Reed St.

Road to Flower's Mills

Rose St.

Rowland St.

St. Charles St.

Salkeld St.

Second St.

Seventeenth St.

Seventh St.

Sharpless Ave.

Sixteenth St.

Southern Post Rd.

Stacey St.

Tenth St.

Third St.

Thirteenth St.

Tilghman St.

Twelfth St.

Twenty-fourth St.

Ulrich St.

Upland Rd.

Wall St.

Walnut St.

Walter's Court

Washington St.

Water St.

Welsh St.

Work St.

Worrell Ave.

"Chester Street Nomenclature"

Mr. Ashmead said: Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen before I shall address my remarks to the subject which has been assigned to me "Chester Street Nomenclature," I deem it proper to briefly call attention to the small waterways, which at one time were conspicuous features in the old borough, but which in the progress of improvements are being obliterated until in a few years they will be absolutely removed from the map of our city, as Peggy's Run, Philadelphia, is only a history.

The boundary line which formerly divided Chester from South Chester is Lamokin Run, most of the feeders of which are now discharging into sewers, with the result that the main run has dwindled to a tiny sluggish stream whose very presence is a nuisance to the health of the locality through which it courses. The name Lamokin is a survival of the aboriginal times and is said to signify in the Indian tongue "The Kiss of the Waters." Within the recollection of the speaker Lamokin Run was a clear waterway and where it discharges into the river, dividing the Pennell from the Law estate, for several hundred yards even at low tide it was of sufficient depth to float a good sized yawl boat. Prior to December 5, 1679, Albert Hendricks had received the grant of a large tract of land from Governor Andross, including as far south as the present Highland avenue, much of the territory known as South Chester, under the descriptive title "Lamoco."

"Bristow's Run," which passes under Third street east of Pusey and divided the Perkins property from the land of Davis Stacey to the east and below Third, now almost dry, winds a circuitous course, which can still be easily traced by the swamp willows which still mark its margin to the river, was named for John Bristow, an early owner of the land on the west side of the run bordering on the Delaware. Beyond his name nothing is known as to who or what he was, so far as I have been able to learn. Even the manner in which the title passed to and from his ownership, I have been unable to ascertain.

In the Sixth ward at the sharp turn on MOrton avenue, the old Queen's Road, above Tenth street, where are the Sunnyside Mills, formerly owned by James Leadward and now by Mallison & Son & Munday's Run. While the feeders of that stream remain visible on the lot above Eleventh and Walnut streets, near the Araspha Mills, the main run has almost disappeared, although it can still be traced below the Sunnyside Mills and north of Broad street. The run derives its name from Henry Munday, a merchant of Philadelphia, who after the death of James Sandelands, the younger, married Prudence, his widow. In settling the estate of Sandelands some family unpleasantness arose and Prudence was assigned a tract of land through which the run ran and it became known as Munday's Run, the name of her second husband.

Shortly before the outbreak of the Revolutionary War a peddler was discovered lying by the fun on the Queen's highway with his throat cut and the money he was supposed to have had with him could not be found. Suspicion pointed to William Siddons, and while he was under the charge, a rhymester related the incident in rude verse. All of the ballad has been forgotten in the lapse of years, save the opening stanza, which is

"At Munday's Run, near Chester town,
Old Siddon knocked the peddler down
And robbed him of his golden store
And left him weltering in his gore."

Siddons was able to establish a complete and uncontradicted alibi, but the fact that he was under suspicion embittered his life and when an aged man in 1820 he died with a cancer in his throat. It was said by some of the old people of the day that the disease had eaten his neck in its course, resembling the gash in the throat of the peddler found at Munday's Run over half a century before Siddon's death.

On Saturday, June 6, 1818, John H. Craig was executed on the south side of Munday's Run, in the then Caldwell's meadow, a short distance below the Post road, near a clump of trees, where now stands the Sunnyside Mills. It was half past one o'clock, when the cart was drawn from beneath his feet and he fell with abound which dislocated his neck, producing instant death. For many years the place was one that belated pedestrians hastened by with quick steps, for Craig's shadowing figure, it was said, had been seen several times by persons who were compelled to pass that uncanny locality after midnight, and before cock's crow in the morning.

With but few exceptions, in the old Colonies, towns grew in their beginning without conformity to any well considered and settled plan. While it is true that Philadelphia was laid out before its settlement, that is not true of Chester, for its beginning was left to individual caprice, and it grew along the east side of the creek, because of the advantages such a location afforded the early settlers who journeyed from place to place generally by water, hence the settlements were usually along navigable streams. The Penn's original design was to locate his capital city at Chester seems evident, for his instruction to his Commissioners, Crispen, Bezer and Allen, particularly directed them "that the creeks should be sounded on my side of the Delaware River, especially Upland, in order to settle a great towne," will bear no other legitimate construction. The unexpected opposition, together with the uncertainty raised in the boundary dispute, doubtless caused a change in his purpose. That Penn found Sandelands opposed to his plan is stated by Mordecai Howell, who, in 1740, when seventy-eight years old, testified for Lord Baltimore, in the Penn and Lord Baltimore boundary dispute, before the Lord Chancellor, (Pennsylvania Archives, second series, vol. XVI, page 719), that he, Howell, then a young man of twenty, "had come up the Bay of Delaware in company with the ship in which the Plaintiff's Father" William Penn - "was," that he, the witness, has stopped at New Castle, but subsequently came to Chester, "where he heard it talked among the People that" when Penn landed here "it was with the Intent to have built a City there, but that he and Sandirlin could not agree."

Chester grew along Chester creek as before stated, until a few years prior to the opening of the eighteenth century, and the highway or street formed itself for a long period, without any designated plan, even the width of the street was not prescribed by law. It should be remembered that after the settlement of Philadelphia, and the marvelous growth which marked its early history, the road from Chester to the capital of the Colony did not follow the course of the present Queen's highway - more recently known as the Great Southern Post Road, for at that time there were no bridges, and it was necessary in crossing the larger water ways to pass over at the fords, hence the course which the road ran was irregular, presented many windings which would not be tolerated at this age in laying out a public road. The then old highway to Philadelphia from Chester was the present Twenty-fourth street crossing Ridley creek below Irving's Mills, and Chester creek at the ford below the present covered bridge at Upland. It may not be amiss to state that the then road crossed Marcus Hook creek at Trainer Mill, although the present road leading south to Trainer from the Keysertown road did not exist at that time. Traces of the old abandoned highway can still be found. The north boundary of the Benjamin Johnson farm in Lower Chichester is the old disused highway, and ancient deeds disclose the road in that township northwest of Linwood where it runs for a considerable distance, then turns sharply to the southeast through the old Col. Thomas Robinson farm, to reach the ford over Naaman's creek, in Delaware State, near where the old Jasper Yeater's Mill stood.

We have record that from the west to the east side of Chester creek, where is now the city, as late as December, 1699, boats were required to convey passengers across the stream, and that there were no bridges there at that date. On the 30th of November, 1699, William Penn, on his second visit to his Colony, reached Marcus Hook just as evening began falling. At that place he went ashore in his barge, and rode to the Essex house, Front and Penn streets, which was then occupied by Lydia Wade, the widow of Robert, who had entertained Penn on his first visit in 1682. Clarkson relates the incident circumstantially. He tells us that Penn next morning went over the creek in a boat to Chester, "and as he landed some young men officiously and contrary to the express orders of some of the Magistrates, fired two small pieces of cannon, and being ambitious of making three out of two, be firing one twice, one of them darting in a cartridge of powder before the piece was sponged, had his left hand and arm shot to pieces upon which a surgeon being sent for, an amputation took place." The young man Bevan, thus injured, died the following April, and the expense attending the nursing and burial of the wounded lad were discharged by Penn.

The first highway leading into Chester officially laid out was Providence Road. It was petitioned for in 1683, at the November Court. That year the Grand Jury were instructed to lay out the road, and it is believed that the road opened the following Spring. Walter Faucett, an eminent Friend, owned a good sized tract of land in Nether Providence, on the south side of the present Bullen's Lane. He lived there, and as he was a man of influence and the keeper of a public house, the road was as often called by his name as the Providence Great Road, its legal title. In many deeds of the last century for land in the now First ward, the highway to Providence will be found described as Faucett's Road. It is a strange fact that this road ran to Chestertown, hence from Twelfth street to below Fourth, for many years the Edgmont road has been accorded that which was not properly its due, and the city has continued the error in terming that artery Edgmont avenue. That this is so the record laying out the Edgmont Great Road establishes, for on December 11th, 1687, the Grand Jury's report, describing the properties through which the road ran, states that they have laid the road from "Edgmont to ye King's Highway in Chester, being a sixty foote road," and stated that they had done this by virtue of the order of Court, dated October 4th, 1687. Edgmont Road ran only to the King's Highway - Twenty-fourth street - a grade of thoroughfares which at that time were laid out by order of the Governor and his Council, or by action of the General Assembly - while Providence Road continues to Chestertown.

The first street officially laid out in Chester was done at the Court held Eight-month second, 1686, when the Grand Jury reported that they "doe lay out a street and a landing upon the creek to the corner lot far as over against the Court House, fifty foote in breadth, and from thence up the said Chestertown for a street thirty feete in breadth." That street so laid out began a short distance above Second street and extended a short distance above Third, where at the angle still existing, it entered the Providence or Edgmont Road. This street was known indifferently in later years as Front street along the creek, Water street, but generally in early days, as Chester Road or street. I am of the opinion, however, that the street was not actually opened for six years thereafter, and why I so believe, I will explain as I proceed. The Court House mentioned stood on the west side of Edgmont avenue, above Second street, which was sold at "Vandeu" in 1701, to Ralph Fishbourne, and was subsequently removed. At the June Court, 1689, the Grand Jury laid out "a landing and open street beginning at the northwesterly corner of the Court House to low water mark by Chester creek, and so by the same breadth, by ye said creek down to Delaware river in low water mark, thence and also from the first mentioned corner of the Court House, a Public street thirty feet wide through Chester Town." This was Edgmont avenue connecting with the former street, laid out in 1686, and in so doing the old block house in which Court had formerly been held came in the way of the official highway. The block house stood on the east side of the present street about eighty-four feed north of Second street, and as it was rectangular in shape, standing at an angle to the street fourteen by fifteen feet, when Edgmont avenue was opened, the street cut the block house directly in halves from its southeast to its northwest corner. It is doubtful whether these streets were immediately opened in pursuance of the Grand Jury's report, for there is no record showing a return to Court of these being so opened to public use. In 1692 James Lownes and others presented a petition to Court for the Grand Jury to lay "out a road to the Dyall post strait way to the road for the convenience of both town and country." This street was laid out and in the return to Court it is described as "Beginning at the Dyall post and so running south 22 degrees west, to low water mark; thence beginning again at the Dyall post and running north 22 degrees east up the King's road, which said Road or Street is to contain thirty feet in breadth., and the said Dyall Post is to be the Western bounds thereof." This is the course, allowing for the variation of the needle which has occurred in two centuries, which Edgmont avenue runs today, and it locates the Dyall post on the west side of the present street, doubtless in front of the old Court House, which stood about where C. L. Thomson's commission store is now. The course given, if continued, would intercept Providence Road, then erroneously termed the King's Road, above Third street, where the angle in Edgmont avenue still occurs.

Even the street was not cleared of the obstructions immediately for in 1703, the old Block House which had been built of logs still stood, for at the Court held in the year the following order was made: "The Grand Jury having presented the house commonly called the old Court House as being a nuisance and dangerous of taking fire, and so would endanger the town, the Court on deliberate consideration, orders the said House to be pulled down and that Jasper Yeates, Chief Burgess of Chester, shall see the order performed."

Second street was laid out by the grand jury at the Court held fourth month 4, 1690. It was directed that it should be thirty feet wide. "The one-half of this public street to be on one side of the land dividing betwixt David Lloyd's and the Green; one-half on David Lloyd's Land and the other half on the Green's Land." The land known as The Green was a territory set apart for the Swedish church and ran from the creek to Welsh street, south by the river and north by the centre of the present Second street. The street thus laid out ran from the public landing at Second street and the creek to Welsh street. In after years it was known as Filbert street.

The elder Sandelands, doubtless soon after he had thwarted Penn's design to locate his city here, discovered by the marvelous growth of Philadelphia the gravity of his error, but there is as yet no evidence presented to show that he ever made any attempt to right the mistake. He died in 1692. His son James, however, took steps to undo that which his father had done. On May 15, 1699, David Lloyd petitioned the Provincial Council to accept a plan of Chester in which he stated that a town "is protracted and a market place laid out with streets by ye Surveryor General - "Edward Penington" - as by the mapp to the said petition annex't appears," and he asked Council "to allow and Conform the ad modell as the Law in that case directs." (Colonial Records, Vol. 1, page 557.) Subsequently at a meeting of Council, held at New Castle, Nov. 19, 1700, at which William Penn personally presided, the petition of James Sandelands, the younger, was presented in which he stated among other things that he was possessed of "a certain spot of land lying in the old countie of Chester, verie fitt & naturally commodious for a Town & to that end lately caused the ad spot of Land to be divided & Laid out into Lotts. Streets and Market Place, a Draft & Model whereof" was submitted. Penn approved of the plan and on Oct. 31, 1701, erected Chester into a borough.

The plan thus approved was very much like that which is recognized today in the old parts of the city, excepting that at a distance of 120 feet south of the present Second street was an old street forty feet in width which can by deeds be traced a distance of 247 feet, six inches, eastward from Edgmont avenue to the land on which stands the Beacon Electric Light plant. This highway, which was almost wholly eaten away by the river, was known as "First street by Highwater mark along the river." The second street we have already mentioned, was known in early times as the street leading to David Lloyd's Plantation, and bout 1840 was christened Filbert street but on Shedaker's plan is again called Second street. Third street was in the early days known as James street, in honor of James Sandelands, not James, Duke of York, afterwards King of England, as has been supposed. After the erection of St. Paul's Church, that part of James street, from Market Place to Welsh street was known as Church street. Fourth street, or Middle street, because it divided the original town plot in the center, after 1726, was known as the street by the Prison. Work street, because the Workhouse fronted on it, and after the late Isaac Engle Cochran, Sr., laid out his grounds it was called Clinton - in memory of DeWitt Clinton, the noted Governor of New York. Fifth street was known as the highway to Philadelphia, after the Queen's highway was laid out in 1708, in honor of the then Queen Anne of England, and subsequently to 1770 was termed Free street, because it led to the Free School at Fifth and Welsh streets, which Joseph Hoskins gave the borough bky his will. Market street was originally termed High street, but the former name in time came to be generally used. Welsh street was originally only a lane leading to David Lloyd's property, intercepting the present Edgmont avenue above Seventh street, as now. It received its title from the fact that David Lloyd was a Welshman, and the land led to his possessions; hence it was the Welsh lane. In some ancient deed it is termed Back street, and towards the beginning of this century was known as Love Lane, and many times the old, old story has been told under the leafy trees which shadowed both sides of the way.

Fifth street, from Welsh, eastward, was the old Queen's Road, laid out in 1706, by order of the Provincial Council, in response to a petition presented to that body on March 19th, 1705-6, in which it was declared that Chester was "much discouraged for want of a direct Road from thence to Philadelphia." Jasper Yeates was the leading Commissioner appointed to lay out that highway, and because his influence carried the new road a great distance to the south of the old King's Highway, the people of that day declared that "God and Nature intended the road to cross directly across the creek" - Chester - "but the Devil and Jasper Yeates took it where it was located." This he did, they held, to benefit his brother-in-law, James Sandelands, the younger, who owned much of the land in Chester township, along which the road ran, but back of him was Davis Lloyd, the strongest man mentally in the colony at that time, and as he was benefitted equally with Sandelands, the road, despite all objections, remained where it was located by the Commissioners. On December 20th, 1714, David Lloyd and Sandelands made an exchange of lands, for in several places the road had cut small pieces of lands apart from their holdings. Sandelands deeded a triangular piece at the southeast corner of Welsh and Fifth, where the Harvey school now stands to Lloyd, while Lloyd conveyed to Sandelands a long narrow piece on the north side of Fifth, where it intersects with Morton avenue, extending to Upland street. The bridge over Chester creek at Third street, we know was not completed in the fall of the year 1709, for at the November Court in that year, it was ordered "that 24 foot of Chester bridge at the east side of the end, and 42 foot at the west end, be filled with wood and earth with all expedition." On the west side there was a causeway over the marsh ground, which extended several hundred feet, as is evidenced by old descriptions in deeds, as to the land abutting thereon, on the north side of the Third street extending to where the bend occurs there, about the site of the present store of S. L. Armour.

In the old town there has not been many changes, and those are as follows: Graham street, named for Henry Hale Graham, the first President Judge of the Courts of Delaware county; Bevan street, between Market and Welsh streets, opening into Second, was named for Davis Bevan; Powell's Court Walter's Court now termed Graham street, although without any good reason was named for Henry L. Powell, who laid it out, and subsequently for U. S. Walter, whose house stood at the corner of the Court and Market street. Between Second and Third, running east from Welsh, were formerly two now obliterated streets, Evans street, named for Cadwallader Evans, and Porter street, named for Commodore David Porter, through whose land it ran, only, however, for a short distance. The present Front street was laid out in the early seventies, to accommodate the Chester and Delaware Railrod Company, since then operated by the Reading Railroad. Crosby street is named for the late John L. Crosby, who owned the land through which the street was projected in 1864, and the name was retained by the city when it was laid out by Shedaker in 1866. To Mechanic street, from Sixth to Tenth street, was given the name Crosby street.

When John Larkin, Jr., on January 5th, 1850, purchased from John Cochran, what was known subsequently as Larkintown, he had Joseph Taylor lay out the tract of eighty-three acres in streets and lots. In that plan a wide thoroughfare above the present Sixth street, extending from Edgmont avenue to Morton avenue, was projected, termed "Railroad avenue," but no lots were sold there and as it ran through Mrs. Edward Fitzgerald Beale's and John O. Desnong's, as well as John Larkin's property, it was subsequently abandoned, when the present Sixth street was accepted on the city plan. Seventh street, from Edgmont avenue to Morton avenue, was, when laid out, known as Cochran street, named for John Cochran, while Eighth street was known as Larkin, Ninth as Broad, and from Edgmont avenue to Morton avenue, that name still is as often used as its numerical designation. Tenth street, on Larkin's plan was known as Liberty street, and Eleventh as Logan street. Within the territory mentioned between Sixth and Seventh streets and Welsh and Upland streets, is St. Charles street, named by the late Dr. F. Fidgley Graham, in honor of a fine horse of that name, of which the doctor was exceedingly proud, while in the triangle made by Welsh, Sixth and Edgmont, Wall street appears as an eccentricity in nomenclature, for which there is no justification. Pine street was on Larkin's map and officially accepted, running from Sixth to Seventh, between Madison and Upland, but in 1896 it was vacated by ordinance. Deshong street was named in honor of the late John O. Deshong, Sr., and assumed its peculiar appearance because of the efforts of the surveyor to utilize all the land owned by John Larkin, Jr., for lot purposes.

Potter street, laid out by Mr. Larkin, was named in honor of Right Rev. Alonzo Potter, Bishop of Pennsylvania, who owned and resided in the mansion more recently known as the residence of Abraham Blakeley. Walnut street was originally known as Quarry street, because it led to the stone quarries which were located on the Cochran estate, and Elizabeth street from Tenth south to Agate, between Upland and Madison, is named for Elizabeth B. Booth, wife of the late William Booth.

Morton avenue, the old Queen's Highway, Southern Post Road, the Philadelphia Plank Road, was named in honor of John Morton, the signer of the Declaration of Independence, and when Crosby P. Morton laid out his land in 1864, he provided for a wide avenue, extending from the Post Road to the river, which he termed Morton avenue, a name that was subsequently given to the Old Post Road as well, from where it intersected Morton avenue to Ridley creek. Spencer McIlvain sold in 1866 to John Hinkson and Henry McIlvain a tract of land south of Ninth, east of Morton avenue, and north of the railroad which was plotted into streets and many houses erected. Hinkson street, which was the most easterly highway on that plot was named for John Hinkson, who was a noted builder and enterprising man of that day. Caldwell street was named  for John Caldwell, whose ancestors had owned the lands for several generations, and who was a leading man in Chester at that time. McIlvain street was named for Henry McIlvain, son of Spencer, who was interested with Hinkson in buildings on that tract. while Green street was named in honor of John J. Green, who was a well-known manufacturer, and who owned one of the mills located on the tract to which the street led. Canal street was so termed because it led directly to the canal dug by Spencer McIlvain, in 1861, to permit the passage of sloops and canal boats, close to his tract of land, and thereby to shorten cartage.

On March 27, 1853, Frederick and Augustus Wiggins, of New York, purchased from Isaac Engle Cochran, Sr., the remainder of the Cochran farm, which they plotted into streets. The property purchased by them began some distance above Eleventh street. On that tract is Gallatin street, now running from Madison to Upland, but originally designed to start at Edgmont avenue, is named for Albert Gallatin, the great Secretary of the Treasury, under Jefferson and during Madison's first administration. Rose street, which runs from Upland to Walnut, was so named in honor of Samuel J. Rose, and by ordinance that name has been extended to also include Gallatin street. Twelfth street was on the Wiggins' plan, and was know as Frederick street for Frederick Wiggins, extending from Edgmont avenue to Potter, while Thirteenth was termed Morton, in honor of John Morton, before Morton avenue was so designated, while Fourteenth street, west of Providence avenue, was known as Upland Road. The road running by Powhattan Mill, No. 1, and now known as Upland avenue, north from where it intersected with Fourteenth street, was laid out in 1808, and at that day and until the old Chester Mills were sold in 1845, by John W. Ashmead to John P. Crozer, was generally termed the Road to Flower's Mills. Fourteenth street, from Potter, east, was known as Prospect avenue. Fifteenth street, from Providence avenue east, was Courtlandt street, an imjportation from New York; it was also known as Washington street, from Provicence avenue to Edgmont, the projected highway, which ran through lands of John O. Deshong, Sr., was called Clarence street, for Clarence Deshong, the youngest son of Mr. Deshong, and from Edgmont avenue west to Upland avenue, it was called Girard avenue.

Sixteenth, from Potter street west, was known as Deshong street, for John O. Deshong, Sr., while east of Potter, it was called Jefferson street. Seventeenth was known as Rowland street, but for whom it was named I have been unable to ascertain. Within the old borough limits, and on the McIlvain tract are Washington, Ridley and Melrose avenues, the latter named for Mr. Melrose, who still resides near Fairview, who had been a successful manufacturer of wall paper in Philadelphia, had retired on a competency, and being a warm friend of the Simpson family. When the Simpson influence changed the name of Reed street, it was given the name Melrose avenue, in his honor. I have no information for whom the street when known as Reed was called. Ledward street was named for James Ledward, who built and owned the Sunnyside Mills, along which the street runs from Hyatt to Morton avenue. Hyatt street is named for Col. Theodore Hyatt, the founder of the Pennsylvania Military College, and Campbell street is for James Campbell, the pioneer manufacturer of Chester, to whom much of its prominence in industrial enterprise after 1850 was largely due. Leiper avenue is called for the late John C. Leiper and not for Col. Thomas or Judge George G. Leiper, as is frequently stated. Powhattan street derives its name from the mills of a like title; the only change in the names of the streets on the tract formerly styled Powhattan, as laid out by John Cochran, is in Esrey street, which was originally called Pine. The present name Esrey is for David Reese Esrey, the well-known manufacturer.

I have spoken of Twenty-fourth street as the old King's Highway, and it is unnecessary to mention streets designated by numerals, for trees, plants or in honor of Presidents, for the names themselves disclose the reason or persons for whom they are called. In what was formerly known as Sunnyside, Worrell avenue is named for Edward S. Worrell, the owner of the trace; Sharpless avenue is called for the family of that name, not a particular individual; Lindsay avenue for John C. Lindsay, Elkinton avenue for Thomas Elkinton, of Philadelphia, who has been so generous to this city in donations of valuable lands for park purposes, while Blossom, was named for the late Marguerite P. Worrell, whose parents in endearment, termed her "Blossom," the title given to the avenue.

In the old South Ward the present Concord avenue, to the road turning into Upland, above the old water basin, was, in all probability, laid out by John Wade, when disposing of the land inherited from his uncle, for the old Concord road, which was laid out by the Grand Jury on October 25th, 1687, only extended to that point. The first road laid out within the territory afterward known as the South Ward of Chester, was done on the fourth day of fourth-month, 1690, and extended from Chester creek to Chichester creek, beginning on the west side of Chester, where the wing walls of the west abutment of Second street bridge ends. It is described as follows:

"Wee of the Grand Jury due Lay out A foot way of Six foot Wid, att the Least, beginning att Chester Creek over against the Common Landing place; from thence upon a Strait Line over the Swamp of Robert Wade's to the Corner of Robert Wade's pales and so a long by the said pales and fence to a popeler and White Walnut standing by the said Robert Wade's fence and so to Remain a Longe the Side way Accordingly, as it is already Marked and Cut out into Chichester."

Ancient deeds seem to indicate that this passage way which subsequently was abandoned, after the present Third street was laid out in 1699, extended in a straight line to a short distance beyond Penn street, where it turned and obliquely ran in a northwesterly direction intersecting Third street at Concord Road. At December Court, 1699, Ralph Fishbourne presented a petition "for a convenient road from the west side of Chester creek, where the ferry is kept for to lead to the now King's Road," and the Court thereupon appointed six viewers to lay out "the said road way in the most convenient place they can for the convenience of the inhabitants." That this was the present Third street is evidenced from a return made to Court on August 29th, 1704, in which reference was made to the road as "the intended place for a bridge over Chester creek," and twelve of the inhabitants of Chester township certify that "We have at our own charge cut and cleared the same, requesting it may be recorded and confirmed according to law."

Even after this road was cut and cleared for public travel the duty of keeping it in repair pressed heavily on the inhabitants; so sparse was the population, that on August 28th, 1707, was presented to the Court an "application of the overseers and inhabitants of the West side of Chester Creek that the road there is very burdensome and chargable to them in regard to their small number, and requesting the Court would appoint the inhabitants on the East side of the ad creek to aid and assist them in mending and repairing the Bottoms and low grounds in the Road to Chichester, so far as their township goes, promising them to maintain and hereafter to keep all the ad road. Its Ordered by the Court that Jno Hoskins, supervisor, do summon the inhabitants of his precinct to meet Guyan Stephenson, with the Inhabitants on the West side, and repair the bottoms & low grounds aforesaid, & that afterwards, the inhabitants of the West side do always repair & support the ad Road."

For almost a century and a half the territory remained as farms, and so continued until December, 1850, when William Kerlin sold his farm including the site of the noted Essex House, to John M> Broomall, who plotted the territory in streets and lots, which he offered for sale at reasonable figures, and on easy terms. In the development of that section Mr. Broomall acquired interests in the titles of much of the old South Ward; he it was who gave the names to the streets.

Dock street took its name from the fact that a natural basin existed on the west side of the creek between Third and Second, which it was believed would be useful for vessels which could not go above the bridge at Third street to harbor. Penn street is mentioned simply because in the early times it was also known as Washington street. Concord avenue, south of Third, was termed Essex street, in memory of the Essex House, where Robert Wade entertained Penn on his first visit to the colony in 1682, and when the street was christened, the old house was still standing. Fourth street, from Penn to Concord avenue, was known as Brobson street in honor of William Brobson, who owned the land through which it ran. Patterson street was named for General Robert Patterson, the millionaire manufacturer of Philadelphia, and hero of two wars. Eyre street was named for Joshua P. Eyre. Barclay street for Robert Barclay, the author of the "Apology," a noted religious work in the literature of the Society of Friends. Barclay, it is said, being connected in England with the Eyre family; Baker street in honor of the late Perciphor Baker. Parker street was named for Joseph Parker, a leading resident of Chester during the last century, and Kerlin street was for William Kerlin, from whom John M. Broomall had made his first purchase of land in the South ward. Howell street, Judge Broomall told me, was called for the family of that name, who in the last century were leading business men in this section. Butler street was named for Hon. William Butler, who at the time it was projected was President Judge of the Courts of Delaware and Chester counties. Stacey street is one that was not named by Mr. Broomall, but is in honor of Davis Bevan Stacey, through whose land it ran. Ulrich street was so called for Squire Samuel Ulrich, a man of infinite jest, and one of Chester's best known citizens half a century ago. Lloyd street was named for David Lloyd, the Colonial Chief Justice, who moulded largely the system of laws in the Colony, the influence of which has not died, even in the lapse of years. Pusey street was named for Caleb Pusey, a fellow passenger with Penn on the Welcome and the builder of the Chester Mills, where Upland is now. Pennell street was named for the late Edmund Pennell. Reaney's Lane, extending from Third street to Roach's ship yard, on which a railway siding runs, was called for Thomas Reaney, who at the time owned and operated the ship yard. Norris street was called for Isaac Norris, an eminent lawyer of Philadelphia, and a personal friend of Mr. Broomall, while Tilghman street is in honor of Benjamin Tilghman, a noted Philadelphia lawyer, who frequently practiced in our Court, and who was the counsel for the defense in the murder trial of Craig, in 1817, and Wellington in 1824. Broomall street was named for John M. Broomall, although at first he had named it Salkeld, in honor of John Salkeld, a noted character of Chester, in the last century, but there was a general desire that one of the streets should be called for Mr. Broomall, and Salkeld gave place to his name.

There was formerly a street between Parker and Fulton, Front and the river, running parallel with Front, known as Water street, but it was abandoned when the city was incorporated, and of Mary street, I have no knowledge in whose honor it was so named.

On April 1st, 1864, Joshua P. Eyre and Joshua P. Eyre, Jr., sold to John H. Barton and John Cochran, a tract of ground extending from the P. W. & B. Railroad to the present Ninth street, and from Concord Road to the line of Abram R. Perkins, which was plotted into streets and lots, and on that plan the present Sixth street was designated as First avenue, Seventh street as Second avenue, Eighth street as Third avenue, Ninth street as Fourth avenue, and where Tenth street is, although it was not on that tract, was known as Fifth avenue.

I have now reached the debatable part of the City of Chester, that section formerly known as South Chester, and although there is much interesting matter connected with the story of the streets there, at present I deem it proper not to extend the scope of this paper, covering that territory which is now in litigation. The alleys and unaccepted highways have received but little consideration in this article.

- Henry Graham Ashmead, Esq., March 4, 1897

 

 

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2003 John A. Bullock III.

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