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Chester City Council meeting minutes


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

"[Chester is the oldest City in Pennsylvania.] Originally settled in 1644 by the Swedish as "Upland", the name was changed to Chester in 1682. Incorporated on October 31, 1701 as a [borough] and as a city on February 14, 1866... In 1681, William Penn acquired the colonial settlement as a safe haven for Quakers. One year later he landed on the ship Welcome and renamed the settlement Chester, after the city in England. For the first two hundred years of its history, Chester was [a] prosperous and wealthy manufacturing community with industries concentrating on machinery, metal manufacturing, locomotive, shipbuilding, and textiles. These strong industries, paired with the city's proximity to the Delaware River and major railways generated jobs and fueled a steady population growth.

"During the early 1900's, Chester experienced its first major growth period stimulated by World War I. The population grew significantly from 38,000 in 1910 to 58,000 in 1920 as people moved into the city to fill the many jobs generated by the war. The rapid expansion of Chester's industrial base and the need for workers to support this growth provided many jobs in Chester and vicinity. The job growth also created a demand for housing and other services. After this initial growth and during the depression years, economic development activity stabilized. Along with the rest of the county, manufacturing employment dropped significantly in Chester during this time.

"As in many cities and urban areas, World War II stimulated a second period of economic prosperity. As employment increased, housing demands grew in Chester. Business and industry operated at an all time high in the city. By 1950, Chester's population peaked at more than 66,000; however, the post-war economy also had a negative impact on Chester as it did on many industry-based cities at the time. By the mid-1950s, Chester began to experience economic difficulties as manufacturing and other industries moved out of the city. As a result, employment declined into the 1960s, as many people migrated out of Chester to surrounding towns and suburbs." ("History")

In 1980, the City of Chester approved a home rule charter designating it as a Third Class City. The charter empowered the city council, composed of four elected members and the mayor, with legislative authority to create ordinances, rules, and regulations. ("City Council Meetings")


Chester City. "History of Chester" and "City Council Meetings". Accessed June 25, 2013. and

This collection consists of minutes of Chester City Council meetings from January 1970 to September 1979. It covers the period when home rule was discussed in Chester, leading to the 1980 designation of the City of Chester as a Third Class City. The minutes appear to be copies.

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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