Newtown historic resource surveys
Held at: Newtown Historic Association [Contact Us]Centre Avenue and Court Street, Newtown, Pennsylvania
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Newtown Historic Association. 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
Newtown traces its roots back to William Penn, who purchased 5,000 acres (20 km2) from the Lenni Lenape Indians in 1683. Situated where the Neshaminy River and the Newtown Creek meet, Penn named this land my "New Town," which gradually evolved to Newtown.
According to tradition, Penn had his surveyor Thomas Holme lay out Newtown in a fan shape of 16 tracts radiating out from a central square or common. Each land owner received a town lot of 20 to 50 acres that bordered on the common and a much larger country lot that ran from the town lot to the edge of the township. Newtown developed and prospered as an agricultural, industrial and trade center. Excellent examples of most styles of architecture can be seen in its buildings and structures.
Newtown served as the County Seat of Bucks County from 1726 until 1813, when the Court was moved to Doylestown. In 1838, the area comprising the commercial center, plus a number of homes, was incorporated into Newtown Borough. The Borough was enlarged four times since 1838 and now includes 640 acres.
Today, Newtown Township surrounds Newtown Borough and each has its own form of government. Newtown Borough is governed by a Mayor and a six member Borough Council, who are elected to serve four year terms. Newtown Township is governed by a five member Board of Supervisors; members are elected to serve 6 year terms.
An historic district was first established in 1969. In 1985, the Historic District was enlarged and added to the National Register of Historic Places. Today, Newtown still retains the much of its historic character.
Borough of Newtown. "History." Accessed January 29, 2013. http://www.boroughofnewtown.com/History/.
Mayer, Thomas. A History of Land Ownership Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania 1683-1850. Bedminster, PA: Adams Apple Press, 1999.
Newtown Township. "History" Accessed October 10, 2013. http://www.twp.newtown.pa.us/history.htm
The collection consists of surveys of historic buildings and resources in Newtown Borough and Township carried out in 1936, 1980, 1984, and 1998. The collection is divided into four series by date.
The first series is a Works Progress Administration project, consisting primarily of deed searches with some maps and related data. It is organized by borough lot and township block.
The second series is a Newtown Township Historic Resources Survey conducted in 1980 by the Newtown Joint Historic Commission. The standard Pennsylvania Historic Site Survey Forms published by the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission were used; the fact sheets include information about the property and include photographs. Most were updated with additional survey notes from 1998.
The third series is a Newtown Borough Historic Resources Survey from 1984 conducted by the Newtown Joint Historic Commission. It consists of the same types of materials as the 1980 survey.
The last series is a survey done in 1998. It includes the same types of information as the 1980 and 1984 surveys, although it doesn't utilize the same forms.
An item-level inventory is available in a database on-site.
The WPA series was donated by Edward R. Barnsley. Other surveys were a gift from the Newtown Joint Historic Commission.
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.
Detailed, computerized inventories of all of the items in this collection are available on site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact Newtown Historic Association directly for more information.
- Newtown (Pa. : Borough). Joint Historic Commission
- United States. Works Progress Administration of Pennsylvania
- Newtown Historic Association
- 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.
- Access Restrictions
Contact Newtown Historic Association for information about accessing this collection.