Town Tours and Village Walks — Past Events
The 27th year of Town Tours and Village walks were hel both virtually and in person. Thank you to everyone who attended and helped make this another successful year! Missed an event? Recording of virtual events are available below.
June 17 — Juneteenth Commemoration
Chester County's 2021 Town Tours & Village Walks kicked off on Thursday, June 17, with a "Live at Five" celebration and Juneteenth Commemoration at the Chester County History Center. The program featured William Kashatus, respected Underground Railroad historian and author of "William Still: The Underground Railroad and the Angel at Philadelphia." View recording
July 1 — Abolitionists and the Eusebius & Sarah Barnard House
The Barnard House is located on 60 plus acres of Chester County farmland where abolitionists aided freedom seekers and tirelessly worked to secure for all people "the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity." Generations of the Barnard Family were involved in various anti-slavery activities since the Revolutionary War. Learn of state and federal actions toward slavery, of Old Kennett Meeting, the Marlborough Riot, and the founding and building of Longwood Progressive Meetinghouse, a beacon of reform, along with President Lincoln's connections with Chester County. Hear of Harriet Shephard and her party's path to freedom, including Barnard Station, a documented stop on the Underground Railroad less than six miles from the Delaware border, a slave state. View recording
July 15 — Parker Sisters Kidnapping and Rescue
Rachel and Elizabeth Parker were kidnapped in separate incidents from the Nottingham area in December of 1851. These two free black young women were taken in order to be sold south into slavery. This story involves the reactions from those on either side of the Mason Dixon Line - tales of compassion, murder, and legal maneuverings by Roberta McManus. View recording
July 22 — W. Vincent Lewis Fussell Family Story
"Seventeen strangers were here..." Esther Fussell Lewis wrote cryptically in her diary one evening. Long before there was an organized network called the Underground Railroad, Quakers and free Blacks guided fugitives here - a stop on their way to freedom. By the 1800s, the Lewis-Fussell family, in four adjacent houses along the Old Kimberton Road, had devoted themselves to abolition and to the care of runaway slaves. Learn about those four farmsteads, which comprised the original "John and Esther Lewis Farm", including "Sunnyside", built in 1848! View recording
August 12 — Post-Civil War & the Road to Recovery
The Abolitionist movement in Chester County had many adherents but not all people north of the Mason-Dixon Line were interested in participating in the illegal activities required to bring fugitive slaves to freedom. Individuals feared reprisal from the American government, especially following the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, from their own communities, and from the Almighty. Coupled with a general pro-slavery sentiment in Chester County, most notably in the non-Quaker sect, slavery became a highly polarizing issue. The passage of the 13th Amendment in January 1865 and the end of the Civil War that same year brought new challenges in the quest for civil rights within our county. Join us on a fascinating journey as we travel to National Register sites in Chester County related to the Post-Civil War and the Road to Recovery! View recording
The 2020 Town Tours and Village Walks Virtual Summer Series took place virtually through Zoom, a free video conferencing software for use with computers, tablets and cell phones. View the recordings from 2020 below.
July 16 — Art & Architecture in Phoenixville
July 23 — Historic Sugartown
July 30 — Hibernia Mansion
August 13 — Historic West Chester
August 20 — Village of Yellow Springs
August 27 — Special Preview: Kennett Square Occupation Day
The Chester County Planning Commission is pleased to support the 2020 Town Tours and Village Walks, and thanks this year's sponsors and volunteers who have worked diligently to make these virtual tours possible.
Sponsored by: Chester County Board of Commissioners, Chester County Planning Commission, Chester County Historic Preservation Network, The Chester County Historical Society, and Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau.