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Chichester Historical Society local history collection


Held at: Chichester Historical Society [Contact Us]3110 Namanns Creek Road, Upper Chichester, PA, 19061

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Chichester 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

Chichester, located along the southeastern border of Pennsylvania in Delaware County, adjacent to the state of Delaware and the Delaware River, encompasses Marcus Hook and Trainer Boroughs as well as Upper and Lower Chichester Townships. Originally inhabited by Lenni Lenape, it was settled fifty years before William Penn by Swedes and Finns. The river tier area provided fertile water meadows for farming. Later, the river made the location ideal for mercantile ventures and powered industrial development.

The Borough of Marcus Hook served as an early trading post for the Dutch, Swedes, and Finns beginning around 1640. With its riverfront location, it came to be known for shipbuilding, its fishing industry, and as a way station for the pirate Blackbeard. It was the site of encampments during the American Revolution and the War of 1812. Oil refineries became the dominant industry in the late 19th century.

Upper and Lower Chichester Townships were both founded in 1759. Lower Chichester accommodated residential and commercial expansion from Marcus Hook; many employees from nearby mills settled in the area. Upper Chichester Township was a major farming area, especially for dairy, beef, cherries, and manufactured ice and bottled water. However, after a Japanese beetle invasion destroyed the area's orchards, the fruit farming industry never recovered. Upper Chichester Township was the home of a prominent Friends Meetinghouse that was used as a hospital for the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. Later, the Philadelphia division of the Baltimore & Ohio railroad passed through the area, turning it into a popular resort area. In the late 20th century, Upper Chichester experienced a suburban population boom.

The Borough of Trainer was founded in 1919, although its mills and farms date back to the 1700s. Well-known for its industrial products, the area was first known for its lumber, cotton, and corn. Later, these industries were replaced by automobile manufacturing and oil refineries.


Chichester Historical Society. Pamphlet. 2010.

This collection consists primarily of secondary-source materials relating to local history. Materials are roughly sorted into categories based on geographic location or topic. The most prominent subjects are: Marcus Hook, Trainer, Upper Chichester, Lower Chichester, Delaware County, Delaware River and Ships, and Swedes and Finns. Marcus Hook is the most comprehensively-represented. The most common document types in the collection are newspaper clippings, copies of historical documents and photographs, pamphlets and ephemera, research notes and correspondence, genealogy research, narrative histories, and reports. There is also a small quantity of original and primary-source documents, including several framed photographs, atlas plates, and a sizeable quantity of photo postcards (circa 1910). Some books and artifacts are mixed in with the collection.

The collection includes several scrapbooks, most of which contain the same types of materials and are on similar local history topics. Of special interest are a scrapbook about Marcus Hook's designation as "Tree City USA" and a newspaper clippings scrapbook about President Garfield's election and assassination (circa 1881).

Scattered throughout the collection are materials that were collected by James Muzyk. Muzyk settled in Delaware County in 1979 after his retirement, and quickly became known for his dedication to local history and his civic engagement. He was involved with the Heritage Commission of Delaware County, Marcus Hook Community Development Corporation, Marcus Hook Library Board, Shade Tree Commission, Chichester/Marcus Hook Historical Society, and Delaware County Historical Society. In 2005, he became the first appointee to the newly-formed Marcus Hook Historic Commission. Muzyk passed away the following year.

A small amount of Chichester Historical Society records, including documentation of the Ogden School Building restoration, are also part of this collection.

Materials collected from various sources by the Chichester Historical Society.

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2012-2014 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 Chichester Historical Society directly for more information.

Chichester Historical Society
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen 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.
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Collection Inventory

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