Township History

The first record of Edgmont Township dates from 1686, when Joseph Baker was listed as Constable for Gilead, the original name for Edgmont and a portion of Thornbury Township. The name Edgmont was adopted in 1687, and derives from the Royal Manor of Edgmond on Shropshire from which the Bakers emigrated. Early documents spell it “Edgemont”, “Edgmond”, “Edgemont” or “Edgmont”, with the township officially settling on “Edgmont” in the nineteenth century, incorporated as a township in 1687.
Edgmont’s earliest settlers lived in close proximity to Edgmont Great Road (now Middletown Road). It is logical to assume they deliberately passed over the steeper, rockier land east of Ridley Creek for the more easily cultivated plateau to the west. Edgmont’s popular Historian, the late Jane Levis Carter, indicates in her book, Edgmont, the story of a township, Native Americans occupied areas of Pennsylvania as far back as 12,000 to 18,000 years ago.
In the early 1600’s the Indians, or Native Americans living in what became known at the end of the 1600’s as Edgmont Township were known as the Lenni Lenape Indians. One of the three Lenni tribes to occupy the watersheds of the Ridley and Crum creeks called themselves the Okehocking Indians. The Okehocking clan were nomad hunters, pursuing deer, elk and caribou. Their crest was the turtle. The Pennsylvania Museum and Historical Commission indicates various areas in Edgmont Township as being likely encampments with a high probability of significant archeological resources present. Bill Kraft, son of the late Federal Judge William Kraft, found many arrowheads in the fields of his family’s farm as a boy. The Kraft farm is now known as Brick House Farms Development. Sawmills, cotton spinning mills and grist mills were built along the Ridley Creek to process grain and cut lumber for settlers.
The colonists who called Edgmont home found their means of travel enhanced by the existence of a grid of Indian trails. In certain areas of Pennsylvania these trails served as “highways”, connecting farmers to markets, quarries, forests, creeks and each other. Inns were built along these major trails, and Edgmont boasts at least three historic buildings that served the historic population - Brick House on Middletown Road ( Kraft Farm house), Gradyville Inn on Middletown Road (Townsend’s home) and Edgmont Inn on West Chester Pike (LaLocanda Restaurant). Farmers on their return from delivering their early morning harvest of milk to the local creamery would stop at the local Howellville General Store (later the Gradyville General Store at the Gradyville Road intersection with Middletown Road) for their morning newspapers, mail and gossip. Electricity first came to the Gradyville/Edgmont area in 1920.
The major roads in Edgmont were not paved until the mid 1900’s, perhaps 1945. It is known that beginning in 1848, wooden rails were installed and the West Chester Turnpike Company began running a horsecar line from Philadelphia, eventually connecting with West Chester.
By the end of the 1800’s, trolley cars were running the rails, bringing folks to the 33 acre amusement park built on what was known as Castle Rock. The rocks at Castle Rock in 1899 resounded with music and merriment as people summered in this cool picnic grove on the Crum Creek. Cabins, arts and craft buildings, cottages and a mess hall were built and used continually as the Castle Rock Cottagers’ Association grew in a park like setting. The amusement atmosphere continued until 1963 when the property was sold to a builder and eventually became the Castle Rock Association and full time residential community it is today.
Edgmont Township evolved as a farming area, with both crops and livestock being cultivated. Many large farms were still in existence as late as the 1960s and 1970s, when development began changing the face of the community. Today there are over one hundred historical buildings in the Ridley Creek State Park.
For more information about the history of Edgmont Township, or to learn more about the history of Delaware County, please consult  This website is run by Keith Lockhart, a lifelong resident of Ridley Township.  This website offers an extension variety of maps and other historical documents.”