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Delaware County Historical Society collection on Lansdowne Borough


Held at: Delaware County Historical Society [Contact Us]408 Avenue of the States, Chester, Pennsylvania, 19013

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Delaware County 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 now known as the Borough of Lansdowne [Delaware County, Pennsylvania] was settled in the early 1700s and named after the English estate of Lord Lansdowne. Lansdowne Borough has a rich industrial and commercial history. One hundred years before it was incorporated as a separate entity from Upper Darby, the area which is now Lansdowne Borough was historically home to various industries [including textile, paper, and cotton].

"By the mid 19th century a single rail track ran through the town. Big changes followed the construction of a second track in the 1880s by the Pennsylvania Railroad. The freight line brought silk, tin work, roofing, piping and steel mill trades to the area.

"In addition to its rich industrial base, the area became known for its small but elegant hotels and guesthouses including The Evergreen Lodge, Hartel's Guest House and The Windermere. The floral trade also blossomed with the well-known Pennock family, William Leonard and August Valentine Doemling operating floral businesses here.

"The expanded rail accessibility also attracted real estate developers. The farmers of the largely agricultural Upper Darby were not particularly interested. Eager to take advantage of new opportunity, leaders of the local business community petitioned the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and in June of 1893 were granted permission to incorporate the Borough of Lansdowne.

"A trolley line along Baltimore Pike, linking the many towns between Media and Philadelphia, was constructed at the turn of the century providing an easy commute between the city and outlying towns.

"Situated just six miles from Philadelphia's City Hall, Lansdowne became a haven for middle-class families wanting to settle in eastern Delaware County. Between 1900 and 1910 residential development throughout the borough boomed. The Victorian mansions from this era still grace the town's streets and provide much of the charm that remains today.

"The areas best architects, including renowned Philadelphia architect Frank Furness, teamed with builders to display some of their grandest designs in Lansdowne. Furness designed the Lansdowne train station. His thumbprint is also on the Barker Building as well as many private residences throughout the borough."


Quoted text from: The Borough of Lansdowne, Pennsylvania. "History." Accessed July 8, 2013.

This collection consists of records and materials relating to numerous Lansdowne institutions, organizations, and events. About one third of the collection is materials relating to Lansdowne-Aldan High School (formerly Lansdowne High School). Most of the materials, including correspondence, newsletters, and ephemera (mostly programs) are from class reunions for the classes of 1924 to 1979 (incomplete). There are also board minutes from the time of the school's merger.

Other entities and events represented in the collection include: Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra / Community Orchestra; Needlework Guild, Lansdowne Division; The Novelty (Women's Club); Bruce Harlan Fund; launch of the S.S. Lansdowne, circa 1919-1920; local elections, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007; Lansdowne Borough appointments, 1951-1987; a run of the Borough newsletter (incomplete); President Carter's visit, 1980; John Kerry's campaign visit, 2004; Lansdowne Leader (Democratic Party newsletter), 1995-2012 (incomplete); Lansdowne School District, study on fraternities and sororities, 1949.

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 Delaware County Historical Society directly for more information.

Delaware County Historical Society
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Faith Charlton 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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