Every once in a while you need a staycation day. Today was mine. My friend Chris and I went to Marshallton today. We played tourist in our home county. We rambled in Chester County.
Everyone knows I have not been very mobile since my knee injury at the end of February/ first couple days of March and subsequent surgery in May. (Yes, it took that long. I couldn’t walk, and I certainly couldn’t drive and U.S. healthcare has a long and winding and irritating process if you do not practice Emergency Room medicine, as in push to the head of the line and bypass everything by going straight to the E.R.) So now, as I go through the process if physical therapy, I am thrilled to get out again.
My friend picked me up and we went to The Four Dogs Tavern. I had forgotten how amazing the food is and how wonderful the ambiance, and the terrific and friendly staff. We had the beet salad, which was amazing, and split the mushroom and goat cheese flatbread.
Then we did the senior stroll of the village of Marshallton – I am moving like a snail still. But oh, to take in the beauty of this village! This is so what Chester County is about.
My late father loved Marshallton and in particular, the Marshallton Inn. When some of my girlfriends and I were in our twenties we loved the then Oyster Bar and way back in the dark ages of the late 1980s some were dating guys who competed in the Marshallton Triathlon (and wow what a party afterwards!)
So flash forward to me as a quasi grown-up (some days are better than others!) and today. Marshallton is more beautiful than ever and the gardens are marvelous! Ran into another friend and met a nice man named Ernie and his wife. Ernie was restoring an antique buggy on his front porch.
Ernie encouraged us to go back further down the lane by his home to see the Bradford Friends Meeting, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. I am so glad he did! I had never seen it in person before.
Marshallton is just the village to remind you what Chester County is about. Marshallton is an unincorporated village in Chester County and a Federal Historic District. The Marshallton Historic District has 65 contributing structures and 3 contributing sites. Marshallton is like a living history site, living proof that historic districts and preservation can work.
Marshallton lies within West Bradford Township. In recent years it has faced encroachment of development from the surrounding area.
We did not wander up Strasburg Road to see where Marshallton Walk is, for example. Stargazers Village that thing that was contentious enough, that it doesn’t appear to be more than “coming soon” I guess? (Stargazers shows up on this “Envision” website.)
And then there was Embreeville, which started out life as the Chester County Almshouse in 1798. It is also where Indian Hannah is purportedly buried.
Embreeville has had no news since February 2017 when West Bradford said “Zoning Hearing #395 for Embreeville Redevelopment, LP scheduled for February 1, 2017 has been continued to a date uncertain. There was no hearing on February 1st. Any resumption of the hearing will be after public notice and will be posted on this website.” (Embreeville has been so crazy it has it’s own page on West Bradford’s website.)
Now the Marshallton Conservation Trust which was created in 2009 exists to help preserve the village and surrounding rural area:
“Motivated by the desire to see the Marshallton area return to a safe, walkable community and its rich history preserved, several residents formed this 501c3 non –profit in 2009. Marshallton Conservation Trust is committed to preserving the historic integrity and the quality of life in this very special area for future generations….The Marshallton Conservation Trust (MCT) promotes the preservation and improvement of the Marshallton community through initiatives focused on maintaining and improving its livability along with its distinctive character.”
Marshallton Conservation Trust also sponsors many events. As a matter of fact the 44th Marshallton Triathlon is October 1st.
But back to the history. Reference a website called Living Places:
The Marshallton Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.
Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document.  Adaptation copyright © 2008, The Gombach Group.
…The Marshallton Historic District is located along the Strasburg Road in central Chester County. It assumed its present configuration between the 1760s-1880s, with scattered infill and rebuilding occurring into the 1920s. Of the 71 principal buildings in the Marshallton Historic District, 67 contribute to its historical and architectural significance. The 4 non-contributing buildings include three from the 1930s-40s (a dwelling, store, and apartment building) and a c.1965 brick dwelling. Of similar size and scale to the district’s contributing buildings (by which they are far outnumbered), these non-contributing buildings do not detract from Marshallton’s overall architectural unity.
Marshallton lies only four miles west of the county seat of West Chester; its surroundings are still rural. Leaving West Chester by the Strasburg Road, one passes sprawling farms, open fields, and pasture land. There is a small group of historic buildings near the nationally registered Cope’s Bridge on the East Branch Brandywine River, and then more open country….
The Marshallton Historic District is primarily significant for its association with Strasburg Road, established in the late 18th century as a thoroughfare between Philadelphia and Strasburg in Lancaster County. Throughout 200 years of its history, Marshallton’s focus has been on Strasburg Road, and both literally and figuratively its growth has paralleled the road’s. With its integrity of setting and well preserved collection of buildings representing a variety of historic uses, Marshallton today conveys a clear, sense of the past — when the Strasburg Road was a primary transportation route and, capitalizing on its location, the village functioned as a rural service center for both travelers and nearby farmers.
Marshallton can trace its origins to the 1760s when a few houses, a Quaker Meeting, an inn, and a blacksmith shop were loosely grouped near the intersection of the roads to Strasburg and Downingtown. At that time the Strasburg Road was actually a fragmented series of local roads leading west.
More on Marshallton:
Unionville Times Living History: A tale of two names, Marshallton and the Marshalton Inn Aug 10th, 2012
Marshallton Conservation Trust: The Village of Marshallton, West Bradford, Chester County PA
Marshallton History Off of West Bradford Website
National Register of Historic Places Marshallton
I had one of the best afternoons I had in a while. Good company, a nice lunch, and photographing one of Chester County’s most beloved gems.
Go to Marshallton.
Soak it in, have a meal at Four Dogs, support the village’s ongoing preservation efforts and events.
Walk down the street like we did and wonder about all of the people who walked it before us. Be in the moment of some amazing history and just a lovely and charming spot.
It’s what Chester County is all about.