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Malvern Historical Commission historic property research files


Held at: Malvern Historical Commission [Contact Us]Borough of Malvern, 1 East First Avenue, Suite 3, Malvern, PA, 19355

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Malvern Historical Commission. 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

In the 17th century, Welsh immigrants settled in the area that would later be known as Malvern, Chester County, Pennsylvania. Originally part of Willistown Township as a village called West Chester Intersection, Malvern was the site of the Battle of Paoli in 1777, which took place during the American Revolution. This site was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997 as the Paoli Battlefield Site and Parade Grounds. In 1873, when the Pennsylvania Railroad laid its tracks through the village, it was renamed Malvern. Economic development in the small village led residents to officially incorporate in 1889 as the Borough of Malvern, separating it from Willistown Township. Following incorporation, the Borough of Malvern continued to grow, including the creation of the Malvern Fire Company, the Malvern water system, and other organizations. As of 2015, the Borough of Malvern remains a small town with a railway station and a variety of cultural and civic organizations, and as a result of recent revitalization efforts, boasts a wide assortment of local shops in its business district.

"[With the approach of the US Bicentennial in the 1970s]...the Chester County Redevelopment Authority held a public meeting in Downingtown that was seminal in approaching efforts to preserve the county's historic resources. At this meeting it was suggested that money be utilized to identify historic buildings and structures using Chester County's Community Development Block Grant funding from Housing and Urban Development. In 1966 the United States Congress had passed the National Historic Preservation Act that enabled such a survey to take place.

"At the same time, similar historic surveys were beginning elsewhere in Pennsylvania, which made it one of the first states to undertake such an initiative. The Commonwealth's Historical and Museum Commission brought an expert from Canada to teach six regional coordinators on historic survey methodology.

"The Chester County Commissioners...[formed] a partnership with the Chester County Historical Society, the Brandywine Conservancy and...many volunteers to organize the proposed Chester County Historic Sites Survey. This survey, conducted between 1979 and 1982, would include all of Chester County except for the Boroughs of West Chester and Downingtown, which would have their own survey projects initiated around this time.

"Volunteers attended meetings to learn how to identify historic resources, fifty years and older, and specific Architectural Styles prevalent in Chester County from William Penn's "Penn Plan" to Twentieth Century Sears Roebuck and Company Bungalows. They were taught how to (1) complete Architectural Inventory Forms (AIF); (2) take architectural photography; (3) log photography; and (4) prioritize the property's historical significance (in some cases)."


Quoted text from: County of Chester, Pennsylvania. "Chester County Historic Resource ID." Accessed September 24, 2015.

Schmitt, Nancy B. A Century in Malvern. Malvern, PA: Malvern Historical Commission, 1989.

This collection consists of research compiled on historic homes in Malvern. The collection, which includes materials that were originally created as part of the Chester County Historic Sites Survey, is arranged into three series: I. Subject files, II. Property files, and III. Oversized materials.

Series I. Subject files consists of files organized by topic, including deed research, historic preservation articles, Malvern Historical District, and other related subjects. The files contain copies of articles, research, and photographs and negatives. In addition to the files, there are binders that consist of tax and deed research for various properties, organized by street.

Series II. Property files consists mostly of secondary-source documents for properties in Malvern, organized by street. Materials in the property files include Pennsylvania Historic Resource Survey Form data sheets from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Chester County Real Estate System - PRS Real Estate Group Property Master printouts (includes parcel ID, lot and plan info), summaries of architectural reports, handwritten notes copied from record and deed books, and a copy of a Malvern map with the property highlighted. Most of the files include photographs of the property. Additional information in some of the folders includes research on the property and/or owners (newspaper clippings, photocopies of newspaper articles), inventories and appraisals of the property, blueprints, and requests for building permissions.

Series III. Oversized materials consists of oversized maps and atlases, including copies of maps of Malvern, property maps, a Chester County property atlas, and multiple copies of the Malvern Historic Resource Atlas.

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 Malvern Historical Commission directly for more information.

Malvern Historical Commission
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.
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