Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia

Delaware County Map

Carved out of Chester County in 1789 (with the remainder of that county lying to its southwest), Delaware County long served as a distinct but close neighbor to the City of Philadelphia. Linked to the Philadelphia port from the eighteenth century onward, the eastern part of the county, including Chester and its neighboring municipalities along the Delaware River, was almost indistinguishable from nearby Philadelphia neighborhoods while much of the rest of the county remained agricultural into the late twentieth century. In the mid-nineteenth century, the introduction of regional railways fostered new town centers at commuter stations. The westernmost section remained predominantly rural until the late twentieth century, when the county began to experience the effects of large-scale development. That mixed settlement pattern created some of the widest social disparities observable in any suburban county in the Philadelphia metropolitan area.

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