- Newtown Square Historical Society
- History of Newtown Township
History of Newtown Township
Newtown Township is a Suburban community located in Delaware County approximately 12 miles west of Center City Philadelphia and is adjacent to the Main Line. The community offers the convenience of the regional amenities while maintaining the main street ambiance of a small town community. The Township is home to many small businesses as well as international corporations. Newtown provides a wide range of housing opportunities for our 15,000 residents. Newtown development projects are designed to provide community amenities and open spaces trails and vistas to maintain the "Greene Countrie" legacy of Newtown Township's original plan of Homesteads.
Newtown Township was settled and established in 1681 and incorporated as a Township in 1684 with a land area of 10.11 square miles. The early settler in Newtown Square in the late 1600's were Quakers from Wales and other parts on England seeking a better life for their families. They arrived after a journey of three to six months across the ocean and from the port of Philadelphia. They then made their way 13 miles west through forest to arrive in Newtown Square. The early settlers arrived to an area of virgin forest, and what they considered the frontier.
In 1683 William Penn planned the "first inland town west of Philadelphia" at the intersection of Goshen Road (laid out in 1687) and Newtown Street Road (laid out in 1683). The Township was laid out around a center square, or "townsted," of approximately one square mile surrounding farmland. William Penn had original planned New Town while still in England. In a 1722 Newtown Census there was a population of 75 - 100 people, by 1799 there were 500 people, by 1860 there were 830 people and the 2020 census shows the estimated population at 15,000.
Some farms and large estates remain, but for the most part, the Township has developed into a suburban community with old stones homes and structures dotting the landscape to serve as reminders of days gone by.
Today, Newtown Township is a Second class Township and follows the rules of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Second Class Township Code.