jasmith [at] mediaborough [dot] com (Jeffrey A. Smith)
Media Municipal Center
301 N. Jackson Street
Media, PA 19063
Thomas Minshall House, 1700s In 1681, after receiving the colony of Pennsylvania from England's King Charles II, William Penn began selling parcels of the land in the form of a "Lease and Release." One such buyer was Thomas Minshall, who in 1682 emigrated from England and settled on farmland deeded to him by Penn. He had paid for the lease prior to leaving Europe, not knowing the exact location of his land in the colonies. Minshall's farming land was set up outside the town limits of the Village of Providence, which contained a blacksmith, a wheelwright, stables, outbuildings, and a few small houses and farmland areas. The road where Minshall's house stood lead to Chester and was know as the Great Providence Road.
Chester had long been the county seat of Delaware County. But as far back as 1789, following the Revolutionary War, there had been constant and bitter complaints from people who had to travel many miles to the court from distant parts of the county, usually on horseback. There was a growing public consensus for the county seat to be relocated from its southern location in Chester to a more accessible site. This relocation had been considered and debated as early as 1820 and grew in strength due to the sentiments of the growing population as well as newspaper editorials which drew comments from residents, officials, and printers alike. Finally, things came to a head in 1845 when the old prison, which adjoined the courthouse in Chester, fell into disrepair. A new prison would have to be built -- but at the expense of the taxpayers, who demanded that their money be spent on a Frisian near the center of the county. A public meeting was called at the Black Horse Hotel in Middletown to discuss this more central location. Four sites were considered: the Black Horse itself, Beaumont's Corner in Newtown Square, Rose Tree in Upper Providence, and the Poor House what is now the Borough of Media. Each had its advocates and feelings rose to fever pitch. In 1848, the Delaware County Commissioners enacted the "Removal Act", which provided for the present site situated between Upper and Nether Providence. But it had to be accepted by the whole county and approved by the Legislature. It was not until 1850 that the State of Pennsylvania by Special Act of Assembly incorporated the Borough of Media on March 11, 1850. This was the only act of assembly in Pennsylvania incorporating a municipality, which made the sale of malt and spirituous liquors unlawful. This restriction was enforced until the Federal Prohibition Amendment was repealed. Although many towns of the time were named Providence, it was thought that a new town had to have a new name. Minshall Painter, a descendent of Thomas Minshall, suggested "Media" because of its central location in the county.
Media, the highest point in Delaware County and approximately 12 miles from Philadelphia, is a planned town. Streets were laid to spread south, west, and east around the spot selected for the new courthouse. Lots were sold at public auctions and the construction of houses began soon after. Churches, inns and shops followed as well as establishments that included livery stables and blacksmith shops.
Click any thumbnail image to view a slideshow