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West Nantmeal Township Historical Commission local history collection


Held at: West Nantmeal Township Historical Commission [Contact Us]P.O. Box 234, Elverson, PA, 19520

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the West Nantmeal Township 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

Between 1700 and 1710, settlers from Radnorshire, Wales settled in the area that would become West Nantmeal Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania. The settlers named the area Nantmell, or Natmel, meaning "sweet water" or "land of the sweet stream" in Welsh. In 1739, the area was divided into East and West Nantmeal. In the following years, West Nantmeal was further divided with the creation of Honey Brook Township in 1789 and Wallace Township in 1852. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, West Nantmeal was home to farms, mills and forges, including the Isabella Furnace, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991. Today, West Nantmeal continues as a rural community located in the northwest section of Chester County, Pennsylvania.


Windle, Spencer L. The History of West Nantmeal Township. West Nantmeal, PA: West Nantmeal Historical Commission, 1976.

This collection consists of a mix of primary and secondary sources relating to the history, residents, businesses, and other aspects of West Nantmeal Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania. The materials include manuscripts, subject files, oral histories, CDs and DVDs, maps, and other materials.

The manuscripts, 1759-1960, consist of deeds and other property records, letters, financial and legal documents, and school records. The school records include attendance records and teachers' monthly reports from Franklin School, 1914-1915; Goodwill School, 1880-1887; Central High School (West Nantmeal), 1914-1918; Springfield School, 1902-1909; and another unidentified local school, 1912. A partial inventory of manuscript materials is available on-site.

The subject files consist of folders that relate to local history topics including: a 1943 military plane crash in the area, West Nantmeal schools such as Allen's School, the Downingtown Railroad, various families that live or lived in West Nantmeal Township such as the Potts and Millard families, historic sites and buildings in the area such as Rose Cottage, Isabella Furnace, Springton Manor Farm, Brookdale Farm, and Wyebrook Farm, and various other topics pertaining to West Nantmeal Township and nearby areas. The folders in the subject files contain newspaper clippings, computer printouts, photocopies of original documents and newspaper articles, photocopies of photographs, and other secondary-source materials.

There are several oral histories in the collection that were recorded between 1999 and 2011 on about thirty audiocassette tapes and a few DVDs. The recordings contain interviews with West Nantmeal Township residents discussing memories of living in the Township and family history. Two of the oral histories have been transcribed.

The collection also includes digital photographs, paper photographs (prints), negatives, at least one VHS and one flash drive, and about a dozen DVDs. The DVDs have video recordings relating to Historical Commission events including programs and tours, dating from circa 2010. The digital photographs are on CDs and include scenes of West Nantmeal Township bridges, landscapes, and other related subjects.

Other materials in the collection include original maps of West Nantmeal, a few copies of local area maps and photocopies of primary-source documents, digital copies of photographs and documents held by other organizations in the area, and a few items on display throughout the building.

Materials collected by West Nantmeal Township Historical Commission from various sources over time

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 West Nantmeal Township Historical Commission directly for more information.

West Nantmeal Township 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.
Access Restrictions

Contact West Nantmeal Township Historical Commission for information about accessing this collection.

Collection Inventory

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