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The "Riggtown History Homepage"

(presenting local history from
West Chester, Pennsylvania)

ANNOUNCEMENT: This page is moving to West Chester University's Digital Commons
web site, and when it does, this address will no longer work.
So please make note of the new address:

About this web site ... Send email to the site administrator.
This website contains historical data on the neighborhood of Riggtown in the borough of West Chester (Pennsylvania) and the area surrounding it. This site is maintained by Dr. Jim Jones of the West Chester University Department of History. The data was collected by Dr. Jones, the students of HIS480 "Computer Methods in Historical Research" and other contributors using sources located at the Chester County Historical Society, the West Chester University Library, and the Chester County Archives.


West Chester history timeline

Government and law
Labor and business
Society and culture

Special Reports

The 1930s Depression in West Chester
The Everhart Tract
The Register of Deaths in Chester County, PA 1893-1907
History of Riggtown
West Chester University
West Chester in the Sixties

Resources for genealogists
Other local history sources
Go to Google Home Search Tips


  • The History of Riggtown by Jim Jones
  • Interview with Jack & Charlotte Harvey, residents of Riggtown for over half a century. They discuss their memories of the Depression and World War II, and detail on their jobs and the neighborhood. See also a Tribute to Jack Harvey (1921-2002).
  • Interview with Walter "Sarge" Clark, a life-long resident of West Chester's South End who achieved local fame as a minor-league baseball player before WWII. He describes his childhood memories and his baseball career. See also a Tribute to "Sarge" .
  • Interview with Charles Carey, who grew up in Riggtown before World War II. Carey described how the boys used to play baseball, the significance of wartime military service, and the movement to the suburbs after World War II.
  • Interview with Anne Gincley and Margaret "Siddy" Gincley Stanley. Margaret grew up in Riggtown and and Anne married her brother. They describe life in Riggtown, particularly for women, during the 1930s and 1940s.
  • Interview with Pat Morley who grew up Riggtown before World War II. He describes his Irish immigrant parents, two generations of Philadelphia Electric Company employees, and many details about sports, courtship, and the neighborhood.
  • Interview with Dorothea Parker who grew up in Riggtown in the 1930s and left after her mariage. She describes her early life, relations between the neighbors, women's work and education.
  • Instructions for a walking tour of West Chester's East Side "railroad corridor" (including Riggtown) by Jim Jones
  • 1945 poem listing Riggtown veterans of World War II
  • 1943 petition signed by Riggtown neighbors asking the borough to convert the Goose Creek swamp into a ball field (Green Field on South Franklin Street).
  • Back to the Index

    Government and Law

  • West Chester Borough officials from 1799 to the present, complied by Thomas A. Pitt Jr. & Jim Jones
  • Water Bills During Tough Times by Jim Jones
  • West Chester Gets a Sewer System by Jim Jones
  • They Also Ran: (Stories of Past Elections) by Jim Jones
  • Life and Death Matters (Why You Can't Bury a Body in West Chester) by Jim Jones
  • Report on the Chester County Prison in 1900, by Donald H. Bunnell
  • Miscellaneous notes on the history of Government in Chester County.
  • Miscellaneous notes on the history of Education in Chester County.
  • Back to the Index


  • Report on the West Chester Board of Health from 1885-1960, by Charlotte Bridges [Posted April 28, 1999]
  • Miscellaneous notes on the history of Health Conditions in Chester County.
  • A report on causes of death based on data from the Chester County Register of Deaths, 1893-1907, by Karen Flippin
  • A dictionary of causes of death in late-19th century Chester County, by Karen Flippin
  • Back to the Index

    Labor and Business

  • Notes on the history of working conditions in Chester County.
  • A Local Contribution to the Cold War (Wind Turbine Co.) by Jim Jones
  • The History of West Chester's Hotels by Jim Jones
  • Unusual Historical Find - the Boals' Ford Dealership by Jim Jones
  • West Chester's First Factory Still Stands by Jim Jones
  • Benson's Department Store by Jim Jones
  • A brief history of the M. S. Yearsley & Sons hardware store in West Chester, by Jim Jones
  • A detailed history of the "Mosteller corner" at Gay & Church Streets by Jim Jones
  • Notes on the Keystone Tag Company, the Denney Tag Company, and the Lucas Tag Company of West Chester.
  • Report on the history of the Mushroom Industry in Kennett Square by Samuel E. Flammini
  • A history of Schramm Incorporated by Tom W. Brientnall
  • A history of the Keystone Tag Company by Kelly McVeigh
  • Selected notes from Made in West Chester by Jim Jones
  • Text of Bicentennial lecture on the history of industry in West Chester, by Jim Jones
  • Back to the Index

    Historical Maps

  • Tracing West Chester's Growth Through Maps by Jim Jones
  • 1847 map of West Chester, from an unlabeled newspaper clipping in the Chester County Historical Society clipping file, "West Chester, Maps, 1847." Courtesy of Eric Chandlee Wilson.
  • 1928 map showing route numbers in and around West Chester, from the Keystone Automobile Club "Blue Book" (1928).
  • Municipal borders in Chester County, adapted from a 1982 map prepared by the Chester County Planning Commission.
  • 1960 population distribution map of West Chester
  • 1966 zoning district map of West Chester
  • Modern map of West Chester as it appeared in 2005, adapted from the official Borough of West Chester map by Jim Jones.
  • Back to the Index


  • Report on the Warner Theatre by Alishia M. Faller with Jim Jones
  • West Chester's Everhart Park: A Century of Recreation by Jim Jones
  • Remembering Bud Sharpe, Ballplayer by Charlie Weatherby
  • Mike Grady, early baseball player by Charlie Weatherby
  • Joe Borden, early baseball player by Charlie Weatherby
  • West Chesterís Brandywine Baseball club by Charlie Weatherby
  • 184 Years of Borough Christmas Events compiled by Jim Jones
  • Back to the Index

    Society and Culture

  • A brief history of racial conflict in Chester County, by Jim Jones
  • A report on the sociological bases for building a community like Riggtown, by Wendy L. Smoker
  • West Chester's Baha'i Roots by Jim Jones
  • Miscellaneous notes on the history of Religious Activities in Chester County.
  • A report on the conflict presented by the Civil War to pacifist members of the Society of Friends (Quakers) by Mark A. Schmidt
  • A report on the role of animals in West Chester by Mary Kivlin
  • Info on the animal-related issues in West Chester
  • Borough Botanist Was Also a Birder by Jim Jones
  • Notes on Thomas Tompkins' Chris (biography of Chris Sanderson) by Jim Jones
  • The "Four Sisters" by Jim Jones
  • Back to the Index


  • The West Chester Railroad's Gay Street Station by Jim Jones
  • A brief history of transportation in West Chester by Jim Jones
  • List of railroad lines and towns in Chester County prior to World War II.
  • Miscellaneous notes on the history of Streets, Roads and Public Works in Chester County.
  • Notes on West Chester railroad history (1830-1997) sorted chronologically, compiled by Jim Jones:

    1830-79 1879-82 1883-93 1894-1906 1907-1945 1946-present

    Back to the Index

    The Depression of the 1930s

  • 1932 Directory of West Chester residents
  • Notes on Borough Council meetings from 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932 and 1933
  • Notes on Daily Local News articles from November 1929, December 1930, January 1931, March 1931, April 1931, May 1931, June 1932, July 1932, February 1933, March 1933, November 1933 and December 1933.
  • The Goose Creek Fire (September 11, 1931)
  • Report on West Chester's fire companies during the Great Depression, by Chris Weersing
  • Report on Diets in West Chester during the Great Depression by Derek Shugar
  • Report on The Effects of the Depression at West Chester State Teachers College, by Joseph Williamson
  • Report on The Great Depression and Its Effects on the Movie Theatres by Michael Pasquarello
  • Report on the Warner Theatre by Alishia M. Faller with Jim Jones
  • Notes on Studs Terkels' Hard Times (oral history of the Depression) by Jim Jones
  • The Everhart Tract

  • Transcribing the Everhart Deed by Jim Jones
  • The 1829 deed for the Everhart tract transcribed by Jim Jones
  • West Chester's Everhart Park: A Century of Recreation by Jim Jones
  • The Scandalous Life of Edwin Everhart by Jim Jones
  • Benjamin M. Everhart's Last Will and Testament transcribed by Jim Jones
  • Back to the Index

    West Chester University

  • Complete text of the History of the West Chester Academy (written in 1870) by Joseph J. Lewis, Esq.
  • Recent history of West Chester University by Jim Jones and Gerald Schoelkopf
  • An Early History of West Chester University by Jim Jones
  • Town-Gown Time Capsule by Jim Jones
  • A guide to the WCU Digital Archives
  • Quad Project: A Students' History of West Chester University by the students of HIS480, Fall 2012
  • Back to the Index

    Resources for Genealogists

  • Register of Deaths of Chester County (1893-1907) compiled by Jim Jones and the students of HIS480
  • A report on the "Register of Deaths" in the Chester County Archives, by Vincent Civiletti
  • List of West Chester "taxables" in 1807 compiled by Jim Jones
  • 1857 West Chester Borough Directory compiled by Jim Jones
  • West Chester Borough Directory for 1918-1919 compiled by Jim Jones
  • West Chester Borough Directory for 1932-1933 compiled by Jim Jones
  • Downloadable file containing the senior class from the 1936 West Chester High School Garnet and White
  • Instructions on how to trace property owners in Chester County using deeds, by Jim Jones
  • Genealogical data from the Yost Family Bible, beginning with Philip Yost (1757-1832) of Mongomery County, Pennsylvania by William Scheffey
  • Updated list of people buried in the cemetery of the St. Mark's Episcopal Church of Honey Brook, western Chester County
  • List of people buried in the cemetery of the Friends Burial Society on W. Rosedale Avenue in West Chester by Jim Jones and WCU students
  • List of people buried in the West Caln Baptist Cemetery near Wagontown (Coatesville) prior to 1936 compiled by Dan Lindley
  • PA GenWeb's list of cemetery lists
  • Back to the Index

    Other Local History Resources

  • Chester County Historical Society
  • Chester County Archives
  • Chester County PA Gen Archives
  • Borough of West Chester
  • Historical Society of Pennsylvania
  • Historical Society of Delaware
  • Hagley Museum Library (Delaware)
  • Jonathan Hoppe's local history web site

    Back to the Index
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    Copyright 2011 by Dr. James A. Jones