Aston Township Historical Society local history collection
Held at: Aston Township Historical Society [Contact Us]c/o Aston Community Center, 3270 Concord Road, Aston, PA, 19014
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Aston Township Historical Society. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The area that is known as Aston Township was incorporated as a township of Chester County in 1688 and became a part of Delaware County when the latter county was established in 1789. Known as Northley until 1687, the township's name was reportedly changed to Aston by the constable as an homage to his former home in Oxfordshire, England. Mount Hope Methodist Church, the first church on record in Aston, was built in 1807. During the 19th century, Aston was home to various mills along Chester Creek, including cotton, wool, and paper mills. Eventually, low water and freezing temperatures led to the mills ceasing operations. Several small villages in Aston, including Aston Mills, Village Green, and Rockdale, had their own post offices in the 19th century.
Since the 19th century, Aston's boundaries have been altered multiple times. In 1842, a portion of Aston Township was annexed to nearby Thornbury Township. As the result of a proposed tax increase in 1945, residents in the northwestern part of Aston seceded from the township to form the Borough of Chester Heights. Sometime between 1958 and 1960, the area known as Bridgewater Farms in nearby Chester Township became part of Aston Township, although the children in this area had to attend schools in Chester Township for another ten years.
In the 20th century, a number of institutions were established in Aston to support the needs of its residents. Our Lady of Angels College, a liberal arts college for young women, was established by the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia in 1965. It's name was changed to Neumann College in 1980 when the college became co-educational, and again in 2009 to Neumann University when it achieved university status. The Aston Township Library was founded in 1977. Twenty years later, the library moved into the Aston Community Center to accommodate its need for more space. As of 2015, Aston continues to operate as a close-knit community, celebrating various anniversaries of its community institutions and organizations and communicating with its residents through its local newsletter, the Township Times established in 2005.
Dougherty, Paul L. and Ruth M. Ross. "History of Aston." Aston Township. Accessed December 4, 2015. http://astontownship.net/about-aston-pa/history-of-aston-township/.
This collection consists of various materials, including organizational, church, township, and school records; scrapbooks and photographs; subject and vertical files with a large amount of secondary-source materials; and other items that document the history, residents, businesses, and other aspects of Aston Township.
Organizational and church records in the collection include: Old Reading Railroad tool and equipment records, 1896-1916; Pennsylvania and West Chester and Philadelphia Railroad Company stock certificate and forms, 1854, 1967; Aston Mills Little League photographs and ephemera; Gospel Tabernacle Congregation of Lennox Park charter, 1930; and Crozerville Methodist Episcopal Church (now known as Crozerville United Methodist Church) records, such as marriage licenses, baptism and marriage records, membership records, receipts and expenditures, and church histories, circa late 19th century-20th century. Materials from Aston Township include ordinances, tax lists, voter lists, directories, comprehensive plans, proof of publication of notices from the Delaware County Times relating to Township bids, and other materials. School records in the collection include report cards, diplomas, examples of children's school work, photographs of schools and school classes, budget proposals, and other materials. There are also teachers' monthly reports from Aston Grammar School, 1904-1910 and Aston Mills School, 1900-1915; materials from Sun Valley High School, including recordings of the school band on LPs, photographs, programs from sporting events, yearbooks, and other materials; Aston Township School District bonds; materials related to the Village Green Schoolhouse Grant Program; and yearbooks from Notre Dame Catholic Girls' High School (Moylan, PA) and other schools, circa 1960s-1980s. Also in the collection are two unidentified diaries, 1867-1873, an appointment book, 1915, and various deeds and other property records, 19th century-early 20th century.
There are several scrapbooks, 1930s-2000s, in the collection. Most scrapbooks contain newspaper clippings about Aston and its residents, including obituaries. Articles are primarily clipped from the Delaware County Daily Times. There is one scrapbook with clippings of newspaper articles written by Ed Gebhart, Bob Finucane, and Gil Spencer, circa 1980s-1990s. Other scrapbooks document topics such as sports, the Green Ridge Parent Teacher Association, World War II and the post-World War II era, Women's Army Corps (WAC), Aston Senior Citizens Club, and the Penn-Delco School District. Most scrapbooks were compiled by Paul Dougherty and Ruth Ross.
Many of the photographs in the collection are in albums, framed, or attached to poster board. There are also some loose and foldered photographs. The images depict Aston Township residents, organizations, churches, events, aerial views of the Township, and other related subjects.
There are a number of subject binders in the collection that have been organized into the following topics: A.C.H. Survey Rails to Trails, 2016 Alex Farah photographs Area photographs Aston 275th Anniversary, 1963 Aston bridges Aston Business Association Aston businesses Aston excerpts miscellaneous news Aston flood, September 13, 1971 Aston Mills, PA Aston parades Aston schools Aston Township history Aston Township homes Aston Township Times Aston Township Tri-centennial, 1988 Aston Township Voter Lists, 1996, 2006 Bridges of Delaware County 1920s Calvary Resurrection Community Center construction Crozerville UMC Fires, floods, and disasters Gary Koerner Genealogy Heritage Commission of Delaware County 28th Annual Preservation Awards Historic Houses Lenni Lenni Post Office McKeown family Mills of Aston Miscellaneous Miscellaneous pics Mt. Hope UMC Newspaper and various other items Newspaper stories Obituaries and death notices [Aston Township and Delaware County, compiled by Ruth Ross] Our Lady of Angels/Neumann University Paul [Dougherty] notes Publication: Celebrating the Journey (Sisters of St. Francis) Red Gables Rockdale Mount Road Shades of Village Green St. Francis De Sales Stories from the Delaware County Advocate Township Building accidents Trains Village Green Village Green Schoolhouse Village Green Schoolhouse memories The subject binders contain varying amounts and types of materials in each binder, but can include: photographs, newsletters, newspaper clippings, ephemera (programs, flyers, announcements), typed and handwritten notes, photocopies of articles and scans from books, and primary-source documents.
The vertical files are arranged alphabetically by subject or person/family and document the people, families, events, organizations, and other topics related to Aston Township and other nearby areas. The amount and types of materials vary for each file, but can include: notes, newspaper clippings, photocopies of photographs, photocopies of primary source documents, ephemera, and other research materials related to the subjects.
Also included in this collection are a number of oral histories and recordings from the Rockdale (later Aston) Old Timers Reunion, circa 1960s-1970s. Recordings are on VHS and reel-to-reel. Some of the recordings have been transferred to DVD.
Other materials in the collection include, self-published family histories, local area maps (Aston, Delaware County), blueprints, whole newspapers and clippings related to Aston, Delaware County, and the greater-Philadelphia area, ephemera, and a small portion of photographs and other materials that relate to areas outside of Aston Township (Delaware County and greater-Philadelphia area). There is also a small amount of papers related to mills, consisting mostly of secondary-source research materials, but also including bills and pay receipts from the Yorkshire Worsted Mills in Lenni, PA and Chester, PA.
A large portion of this collection was received from the estate of Paul L. Dougherty, circa 2015. The Butch Ryan Collection was donated by Nancy Ryan Sipple. Other portions of the local history collection were donated by Ruth Ross and collected by the Society from various sources over time.
Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2014-2016 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.
In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact Aston Township Historical Society directly for more information.
- Aston Township Historical Society
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Sarah Leu and Anastasia Matijkiw through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
- This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- Access Restrictions
Contact Aston Township Historical Society for information about accessing this collection.