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West Nantmeal Township Historical Commission historic property research files


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.

"[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 July 24, 2015.

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

This collection consists of copies of historic property research files for buildings more than fifty years old in West Nantmeal Township at the time of the survey in the early 1980s. The files are organized by tax parcel and include photocopies of the original historic property files located at the Chester County Historical Society. The files, which consist primarily of the Chester County Architectural Inventory Form (AIF), include the property owner and address; dates of construction; style or period; photograph (either a print or a photocopy); historic name of property, if any; notes on the building's structural condition; a property plan sketch; a brief physical description of the building and property; the history, significance, and background of the property and building; and the name of the recorder. The files also include the location of the original file at the Chester County Historical Society.

Materials photocopied from Chester County Historical Society over time by West Nantmeal Township Historical Commission

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

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