Doylestown Township: Originally the province of the Lenni Lenape tribe of the Delaware Indians prior to the colonization by European settlers, the land destined to become Doylestown and Bucks County remains widely regarded as some of the most beautiful countryside in Pennsylvania – and America!
In 1682, William Penn, a Quaker, was granted the land of Bucks County from the King of England as payment for a debt. Doylestown was built on the tract that William Penn conveyed to the Free Society of Traders in 1682, originally containing 20,000 acres. Of the 20,000 acres, 8,612 of them lay in the nearby townships of Warwick, New Britain and Hilltown. The area was twice reduced prior to 1726, when the remainder, containing about 2,000 acres in Warwick and New Britain, was purchased by Jeremiah Langhorne of Middletown. Of Langhorne’s purchase, Joseph Kirkbride from Falls Township bought several hundred acres in New Britain. At the time of purchase, these two proprietors owned every acre of land within the present borough limits.
The name “Doylestown” was apparently derived from the innkeeper William Doyle who obtained a license to keep a public house in 1745 known as “Doyle’s Tavern”. This building, once the Fountain House and currently a Starbucks, is located at the northwest corner of the intersection of Main and State streets in Doylestown Borough. The mural on the wall of the Doylestown Post Office, painted in 1934 by Charles Child, is the only surviving depiction of the Doyle family. In 1750, the country hamlet consisted of no more than a half dozen families living in log houses. There was a blacksmith, a tavern, and a store selling pioneer gear. From its earliest days as an unnamed colonial wilderness, Doylestown grew along with America into a quiet country town. In 1792, a stagecoach route sprang up along the Philadelphia-Easton Road (now Main Street), and Doylestown remained a stopover along the route.(read more on the township website)
No discussion of Township architecture would be complete without mentioning the two Mercer mansions: Henry Mercer’s Fonthill, built in 1910, and William Mercer’s Aldie mansion, built in 1927. Apart from its beauty, Fonthill is interesting for its design which is based on the tenets of the International style. In an effort to maximize the use of space, Henry concentrated first on the arrangement of the mansion’s sixty rooms before concerning himself with exterior aesthetics. William, on the other hand, pursued a more traditional course and drew inspiration from the family’s ancestral home in Scotland. Because of the generosity of the Mercer estates, both buildings today enrich the entire community. Fonthill and the adjacent Moravian Pottery and Tile Works are museums, while the Aldie mansion is home to the Heritage Conservancy (formerly the Bucks County Conservancy), an organization dedicated to preservation of the environment.
Fully embracing the future while preserving the best of its abundant heritage, Doylestown has evolved into an area where exceptional people and industry, classic architectural forms, history, recreational fun and a picturesque landscape all combine to create a unique American identity, and where every day, residents and visitors alike sense its well-secured place in the stream of time as a truly one-of-a-kind community.
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Data last updated: Jul 23, 2019 3:00:am.
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