History

Shortly after William Penn and English Quakers began arriving here in 1682, Penn gave his daughter a 15,000 acre tract named “Letitia’s Manor”. It was later divided into smaller tracts and one of those was Kennett Township, named after a village in Wiltshire, England. A small village sprung up where the Lancaster and Nottingham roads intersected. A 1765 petition for a license to operate a “public house of entertainment” was the first time the village was called Kennett Square.

In 1777, British and Hessian soldiers camped here on their way to Philadelphia, before defeating George Washington and the Continental Army at the Battle of Brandywine. There was a military encampment here during the War of 1812 and in 1861 Kennett saw their men head off to fight in The Civil War. The Borough of Kennett Square was incorporated in 1855. Because of the region’s continuing Quaker tradition, residents of Kennett Square were active in the Abolitionist Movement and the Underground Railroad, earning it the nickname‘ Hot Bed of Abolition’.

The borough has been home to writers, artists, inventors and professional athletes. Kennett Square was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in August, 1989.

The mission of Historic Kennett Square, Inc., a non-profit 501(C)3, is to actively support and enrich community vitality and pride, to help preserve the historic district and small town atmosphere, to promote economic and positive, productive relationships within Kennett Square and the surrounding townships.


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What we do

We keep it shining – Facade Grant Info & Forms
Historic Kennett Square works at making every aspect of the physical environment of Kennett Square a better place by restoring historic building facades, designing aesthetically pleasing signage for businesses, working with volunteers to keep our streets clean, planting flowers and decorating for the holidays.

We make you take notice
Historic Kennett Square promotions committee produces a visitor’s guide of our town, hosts numerous special events such as the Town Tree Lighting & Holiday Open House, Candlelight Holiday Home Tour, Kennett Square Microbrew Festival, Plant Sale, Halloween Parade, Art Stroll & the seasonal Farmer’s Market and in general, promotes Kennett Square’s unique characteristics.

We bring people together
Historic Kennett Square’s organization committee works hard at building consensus and support between organizations and the community, bringing tax dollars back to Kennett Square by grant writing, acting as advocates for our town and lobbying to see that the best interests of the entire citizenry are represented in downtown issues.

We round out the mix
Historic Kennett Square’s economic development committee is constantly working to bring you a more diversified mix of shops, services and businesses and offers support to strengthen existing businesses. We assist in the creation and retention of jobs and businesses.