West Chester, Pennsylvania

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West Chester
Official name: Borough of West Chester
CountryUnited States
Elevation446 ft (136 m)
Coordinates39°57′31″N 75°36′18″W / 39.95861°N 75.60500°W / 39.95861; -75.60500
Area1.8 sq mi (5 km2)
 - land1.8 sq mi (5 km2)
 - water0.0 sq mi (0 km2)
Population18,461 (2010)
Density10,256.1 / sq mi (3,960 / km2)
MayorCarolyn Comitta
TimezoneEST (UTC-5)
 - summer (DST)EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP Codes19380-19383, 19388
Area code484, 610
Location of West Chester in Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the United States
Website: www.west-chester.com
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Coordinates: 39°57′31″N 75°36′18″W / 39.95861°N 75.60500°W / 39.95861; -75.60500
West Chester
Official name: Borough of West Chester
CountryUnited States
Elevation446 ft (136 m)
Coordinates39°57′31″N 75°36′18″W / 39.95861°N 75.60500°W / 39.95861; -75.60500
Area1.8 sq mi (5 km2)
 - land1.8 sq mi (5 km2)
 - water0.0 sq mi (0 km2)
Population18,461 (2010)
Density10,256.1 / sq mi (3,960 / km2)
MayorCarolyn Comitta
TimezoneEST (UTC-5)
 - summer (DST)EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP Codes19380-19383, 19388
Area code484, 610
Location of West Chester in Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the United States
Website: www.west-chester.com

West Chester is a borough and the county seat of Chester County, Pennsylvania in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.[1] The population was 18,461 at the 2010 census.[2]

West Chester University of Pennsylvania is located in the borough. Valley Forge, the Brandywine Battlefield, Marsh Creek State Park, and other historical attractions are nearby, as are Longwood Gardens, the Brandywine River Museum, and Christian C. Sanderson Museum.


The area was originally known as Turk's Head — after the inn of the same name located in what is now the center of the borough.[3] West Chester has been the seat of government in Chester County since 1786, and the borough incorporated in 1799.[4] In the heart of town is its courthouse, a classical revival building designed in the 1840s by Thomas U. Walter, one of the architects for the Capitol in Washington, D.C.[5] In the 18th century West Chester was a center of clockmaking. In the late 19th century the Hoopes, Bro. and Darlington company became a major wheelworks, first for wagons and later automobiles.[6][7] In the early 20th century, an important industry was the Sharples cream separator company.[8] In the late 20th century, the pioneer in microcomputers Commodore International, giving its headquarters as West Chester, was located approximately a mile northeast of the borough.

The West Chester Downtown Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. Other listed buildings are the Bank of Chester County, Buckwalter Building, Butler House, Chester County Courthouse, William Everhart Buildings, Farmers and Mechanics Building, First Presbyterian Church of West Chester, New Century Clubhouse, Joseph Rothrock House, Sharples Homestead, Sharples Separator Works, Warner Theater West Chester Boarding School for Boys, and the components of the West Chester State College Quadrangle Historic District.[9]


West Chester is located at 39°57′31″N 75°36′18″W / 39.95861°N 75.60500°W / 39.95861; -75.60500 (39.958678, −75.605052).[10] West Goshen Township borders West Chester to the north, south, and east, while East Bradford Township borders West Chester to the west. The borough straddles the Brandywine Creek and Chester Creek watersheds.[11] It is located 25 miles (40 km) west of Philadelphia and 17 miles (27 km) north of Wilmington, Delaware.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 1.8 square miles (5 km2), all of it land.


As with much of Eastern Pennsylvania east of the Appalachian mountains, West Chester straddles the humid continental (Köppen: Dfa ) and humid subtropical (Köppen: Cfa ) climate zones, with generally more characteristics of the former than the latter.[12] Summers are hot and humid and winters are cold but variable. Annual high temperatures average between 39.0 °F (3.9 °C) and 85.4 °F (29.7 °C), annual low temperatures average between 22.2 °F (−5.4 °C) and 64.4 °F (18.0 °C), with the record high being 105 °F (41 °C), and record low being −16 °F (−27 °C).[13]

Annual precipitation averages 46.7 inches (119 cm), and annual snowfall averages 27.7 inches (70 cm).[13]

Climate data for West Chester, Pennsylvania
Average high °C (°F)3.9
Average low °C (°F)−5.4
Precipitation mm (inches)89
Snowfall cm (inches)18
Source: Weatherbase [14]


Historical population
Est. 201218,8572.1%
Old Chester County Courthouse. The new Chester County Justice Center is located at West Market St. and North Darlington St

At the 2010 census, the borough was 72.1% non-Hispanic White, 12.1% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 1.4% Asian, and 2.4% were two or more races. 13.4% of the population were of Hispanic or Latino ancestry.[19]

As of the census[17] of 2000, there were 17,861 people, 6,265 households, and 2,662 families residing in the borough. The population density was 9,703.3 people per square mile (3,747.9/km²). There were 6,541 housing units at an average density of 3,553.5 per square mile (1,372.6/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 75.44% White, 17.08% Black, 3.64% from other races, 1.46% Asian, 0.31% Native American, 0.07% Pacific Islander, and 2.00% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race was 8.94%.

There were 6,265 households, 19.1% of which had children under the age of 18 living in them, 26.8% were married couples living together, 12.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 57.5% were non-families. 35.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.95.

In the borough the population was spread out with 13.4% under the age of 18, 37.7% from 18 to 24, 26.6% from 25 to 44, 13.3% from 45 to 64, and 9.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 25 years. For every 100 females there were 88.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.7 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $37,803, and the median income for a family was $51,018. Males had a median income of $35,540, versus $30,819 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $19,073. About 9.8% of families and 21.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.5% of those under age 18 and 9.2% of those age 65 or over.


Corporate headquarters include:

QVC has its headquarters and television studios in West Goshen Township,[21][22] near West Chester. It is located in the same buildings that were once the corporate headquarters of Commodore International. Electronics Boutique, when it existed as an independent company, had its headquarters in West Goshen Township,[23][24] in proximity to West Chester.[22][25]

Among the major shopping centers in the area is Bradford Plaza, a 22-acre property with a 161,000-square foot center which sold in 2014 to New York Life for US$35.7 million.[26]

Culture and media[edit]

The West Chester Public Library has provided library services to area residents since 1872. It currently has a collection of 50,000 items and receives 110,000 visits every year.[27] The Francis Harvey Green Library on the university campus has additional collections.[28]

The Daily Local News is a daily newspaper headquartered in West Chester that covers Chester County events.[29] The Quad is the student-run newspaper of West Chester University. Beginning in 1932, it covers not only campus events but also regional and national news.[30] Radio station WCUR broadcasts from the borough and is managed by university students.[31]

Notable people[edit]

Boyhood home of Samuel Barber in West Chester, Pennsylvania


West Chester is home to the West Chester Transportation Center, which serves as a parking garage for the Chester County Justice Center and a bus terminal, which is located on the lower level of the facility.

The main east-west road to West Chester is West Chester Pike, which begins in Upper Darby, Delaware County, just outside of Philadelphia, and is part of Pennsylvania Route 3.

The main north-south road in West Chester is High Street. To the north of town, the road is known as Pottstown Pike, which connects to Pennsylvania Route 100 in Exton (Route 100 formerly ran through town). To the south of town, the road is known as Wilmington-West Chester Pike (US Route 202 and US Route 322).

Until September 1986, West Chester was served by SEPTA's Media/Elwyn Line commuter rail line, then known as the Media/West Chester line. Service on the line was discontinued because of poor track conditions west of the Elwyn station. At the time, SEPTA had limited funds for the necessary repairs, and offered Chester County the option of either improving the rail line or expanding parking availability at the nearby Exton station on SEPTA's Paoli/Thorndale Line. The county opted for the latter and service on the line was cut back to its current terminus of Elwyn. The rail line into West Chester is used by the West Chester Railroad, a heritage railroad.

West Chester in media[edit]


The borough is governed by the town council form of government. Led by the Borough Manager, there are seven council members each representing one of the seven voting wards. The council controls all departments except the Police Department (the Mayor directs Police Department activities through the Chief of Police). The mayor and council members are directly elected by borough voters. In January 2010, Carolyn Comitta took office as the borough's 58th Mayor. In succeeding the term-limited incumbent, Republican Dick Yoder,[39] Comitta became West Chester's first ever female Mayor, and the first Democrat to hold the office since 1992.[40]


West Chester Area School District manages the area's public school system, which includes three high schools (Henderson High School, West Chester East High School, Rustin High School), three middle schools (J.R. Fugett Middle School, E.N. Peirce Middle School, G.A. Stetson Middle school), and ten elementary schools (East Bradford Elementary, East Goshen Elementary, Exton Elementary, Fern Hill Elementary, Glen Acres Elementary, Hillsdale Elementary, Mary C. Howse Elementary, Penn Wood Elemetary, Sarah W. Starkweather Elementary, Westtown-Thornbury Elementary). West Chester University is located in the borough, south of the commercial and retail center.


  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  2. ^ http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=DEC_10_PL_GCTPL2.ST10&prodType=table
  3. ^ "West Chester, Pennsylvania". Thebrandywine.com. July 26, 2001. Retrieved August 12, 2012. 
  4. ^ http://www.wcjim.com/history.htm
  5. ^ Enter your Company or Top-Level Office (January 19, 2011). "Chester County: Courthouse History". Dsf.chesco.org. Retrieved August 12, 2012. 
  6. ^ West Chester, past and present: centennial souvenir with celebration proceedings. Daily Local News, West Chester, PA. 1899. p. 125. 
  7. ^ "Keeping the wheels turning in West Chester". Daily Local News. Retrieved February 14, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Cream Separators Page 2". Dairyantiques.com. Retrieved August 12, 2012. 
  9. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  10. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  11. ^ "Watersheds of Chester County". Chester County. Retrieved November 4, 2014. 
  12. ^ Climate Summary for West Chester, Pennsylvania
  13. ^ a b "West Chester, Pennsylvania Travel Weather Averages". Weatherbase. Retrieved August 12, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Weatherbase.com". Weatherbase. 2013.  Retrieved on October 24, 2013.
  15. ^ "Number of Inhabitants: Pennsylvania". 18th Census of the United States. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Pennsylvania: Population and Housing Unit Counts". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  17. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  18. ^ "Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions Datasets: Subcounty Population Estimates: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved November 25, 2013. 
  19. ^ Copeland, Larry (10 March 2011). "Philadelphia gains, Pittsburgh shrinks in population". USA Today. 
  20. ^ McGann, Mike (July 18, 2013). "Chamber touts benefits of social capital". Coatsville Timers. Retrieved December 4, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Directions to QVC Studio Park." QVC. Retrieved on August 11, 2010.
  22. ^ a b "West Goshen township, Chester County, Pennsylvania." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on August 11, 2010.
  23. ^ Moran, Sarah E. "County jobless rate worsens." Daily Local News. Tuesday November 1, 2005. Retrieved on August 11, 2010.
  24. ^ "Contact." Electronic Boutique. June 11, 2004. Retrieved on August 11, 2010. "931 South Matlack St. West Chester, PA 19382."
  25. ^ "Corporate Office Positions." Electronic Boutique. June 9, 2001. Retrieved on August 11, 2010.
  26. ^ Kostelni, Natalie (2014-06-20). "West Chester shopping center sells for $35.7M". Philadelphia Business Journal. 
  27. ^ "Short History". West Chester Public Library. Retrieved November 25, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Library Services". West Chester University. Retrieved November 25, 2014. 
  29. ^ "Daily Local News". Daily Local News. Retrieved November 25, 2014. 
  30. ^ "The Quad: About". The Quad. Retrieved November 25, 2014. 
  31. ^ "91.7 WCUR The Curve". WCUR. Retrieved November 25, 2014. 
  32. ^ Broder, Nathan. Samuel Barber, p. 9-10. New York: G. Schirmer, 1954. Reprinted, Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1985. ISBN 0-313-24984-9.
  33. ^ "DARLINGTON, William, (1782–1863)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved November 27, 2013. 
  34. ^ a b "HEMPHILL, Joseph, (1770–1842)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved November 28, 2013. 
  35. ^ Larrabee, Kevin. "Hergesheimer, Joseph". pabook.libraries.psu.edu. Penn State University. Retrieved 9 January 2013. 
  36. ^ "Charlie McDermott...Bio". website. Charlie McDermott. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  37. ^ "Matt's Bio". Matt Schaub. Retrieved November 27, 2013. 
  38. ^ "Marley & Me Filming in West Chester". chestercountymoms.com. Retrieved October 16, 2010. 
  39. ^ Kristie, Dan (January 11, 2010). "For Yoder, being mayor was 'a thrill'". The Daily Local News. Retrieved July 11, 2012. 
  40. ^ Showalter, Connor (January 5, 2010). "Comitta becomes borough's 1st female mayor". The Daily Local News. Retrieved July 11, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
County seat of Chester County
Succeeded by