jasmith [at] mediaborough [dot] com (Jeffrey A. Smith)
Media Municipal Center
301 N. Jackson Street
Media, PA 19063
Located at Front Street and Providence Road:
Centuries before our County Seat was established or Delaware County created, before the time of Chester and Philadelphia, or the coming of William Penn, a group of Friends, or Quakers, left Cheshire or Chester County England for America. One of the leaders of these venturers was Thomas Minshall.
On March 11, 1681, by deeds of lease, were sold to Thomas Minshall 625 acres of land to be laid out in Pennsylvania.
Equipped with these documents, Thomas Minshall and wife, their relatives and neighbors and friends landed in May of 1682 at Chester, then called Upland. Finding the river banks populated with Swedes and the land rather low, Minshall and his party moved further back into the woods and selected this immediate location as the most desirable place of all the surrounding country. Having presented his credentials to Penn's surveyor at that time, Minshall received a warrant for 300 acres in Nether Providence, 315 acres in Middletown and 10 acres of Liberty Land. Penn had designated a strip of land adjoining what was to become Philadelphia as Liberty Land and these early settlers who made large purchases, as did Minshall, were donated a part of this Liberty Land, as a bonus. His tract extended from the Providence Road eastward to Crum Creek and embraced the Providence Friends meeting property, so that the first owner after Penn, of the land on which we meet today, was Thomas Minshall.
Adjoining tracts of land were granted by Penn, to Thomas Powell, Randall Croston, Peter Taylor, William Taylor, Robert Vernon, and William Swaffer. These, in fact, were the original settlers on the land in this area, other than Indians, part of Which was to become Media.
The Minshalls found this area populated by Indians, and a few Swedes, and they were received in a friendly manner.
The location of the original Minshall home was a few hundred feet southeast of here, in what used to be the orchard of the late William L. Green. That property is now known as Bowling Green.
Minshall House before restorationThe original Providence Friends Meeting, across Providence Road from here, was built in 1699, being constructed of logs. The present building was built in 1814, the log portion having been torn down.
A village, called Providence, sprung up around the Meeting House, and along Providence Great Road, which ran to Chester, just opposite the Meeting were quite a collection of buildings, including a tailor shop, blacksmith shop, wheelwright shop, barn and other buildings.
This house is the only one still standing of this grouping, and is believed to be theoldest house in Media, being about 260 years old. The Meeting House across Providence Road is nearly 300 years old.
Part of the original section of this house was of log, and later a frame section was added. Sometime, prior to 1789, the log and later the frame sections were torn down leaving the stone section standing. An interesting item found in old history books reveals that a leathersmith, or saddle maker, who once did business at this location, made a saddle for General Lafayette; and the General visited the shop here to receive his new saddle, during the Revolutionary War. The first Post Office, which was called Providence, was located in this immediate area.
Frank C. Hamilton, Chairman for Dedication DayThere were many owners of this house, which was also used for a store at one time, from the Minshalls to their sons and through many owners to 1937 when ownership passed to Marion and George T. Lewis. In May of 1975, on the
125th Anniversary of the Borough of Media, Marion Lewis deeded this house, in memory of her late husband, to the citizens of the Borough, who have designated this as an Historical Site, and restored the house as you see it today.
Indeed, if any of the early Minshalls were able to return to the house for a visit, they would find it, in many ways familiar. Its clean lines, so typical of early Pennsylvania, have been revealed by the stripping away of the stucco. And the beautiful fieldstone, now uncovered, is lovely to see. The original color of the interior walls has been matched and the woodwork restored. Even the floorboards are original though some are replacements taken from the attic flooring.
The "House" is completely furnished with period furniture, many valuable antiques, both borrowed and gifts.
A tour of Media's oldest house is well worth your time, and you will be most welcome.
Media Historic Preservations, Inc.
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