Kennett Square’s history goes back more than 200 years. Starting with the Unicorn Tavern in 1735, Kennett Square began establishing itself as an economic center providing goods and services to the surrounding villages. Kennett Square has continued to grow throughout its history.
Today, this one-square-mile scenic, small town is home to families and businesses that enjoy its small-town atmosphere. The advantages of quality schools, excellent shopping, and varied recreational and cultural activities like Longwood Gardens, plus proximity to Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware, all help make Kennett Square an ideal community.
Enjoy all of this with the backdrop of the beautiful Brandywine Valley.
Quality-of-life is why many call Kennett Square home. This cool, comfortable community located in Chester County and surrounded by the beautiful Brandywine Valley offers something for families, singles, and seniors. Historic homes, a bustling downtown with upscale boutiques, retailers, and restaurants, ample amenities, and exceptional public and private schools can all be found within its borders. Several active adult and retirement communities are located close by.
Nearly three-quarters of the buildings within Kennett Square — including its homes — are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Many date from between 1875 and 1924. From Federal through Italianate and Queen Anne, to early 20th century revivals, a variety of styles are represented; however, all have been lovingly maintained by their owners to preserve both the quality and beauty of the community.
Kennett Square’s accessibility adds to its charm. The entire borough is bike and pedestrian friendly. Local bus service is also provided through SCCOOT, which provides service between Oxford and West Chester with stops in West Grove, Lincoln University, Kennett Square, and Longwood Gardens. The service runs Monday through Saturday. Connections to SEPTA are available in West Chester.
Kennett Square’s business district has attracted entrepreneurs for centuries. Today, a diverse mix of architects, accountants, lawyers, doctors, and other professionals fill its downtown and attract visitors to support its landmark retailers and restaurants.
Other residents commute regularly to Philadelphia, Wilmington, and the surrounding communities, where they enjoy opportunities in diverse industries, including financial services, education, health, and medical services, and at the many museums and attractions that dot its countryside. Agriculture, especially mushroom farming, also factors prominently in Kennett Square’s economy. Kennett Square is the “Mushroom Capital of the World,” a fact it celebrates every September with a Mushroom Festival.
A diverse array of recreational, cultural, and community amenities make life complete in Kennett Square. Many residents keep active through memberships and programs at the Kennett Area YMCA. Located on Race Street, the branch was recently named “#1 in the Country for Member Experience” and includes indoor and outdoor pools, a gym, wellness center, and weight room. Youth sports like little league, soccer, and football also shine in this community.
Residents who’d rather enjoy the scenery of Chester County often find themselves at Anson Nixon Park, a 106-acre oasis and home to three miles of hiking trails, two ponds, rolling streams, and a beech grove that’s nearly as old as Kennett Square itself. Kennett Square’s residents also regularly gather on Genesis Walkway, which hosts Kennett Square’s farmers market from May through October. Other community events include the Mushroom Festival in September, the Kennett Brewfest in October, and parades to mark Memorial Day, Halloween, and the winter holidays.
When you call Kennett Square home, you can also take advantage of the beautiful Brandywine Valley. It’s home to attractions like Longwood Gardens, Chadds Ford Winery, Winterthur Museum & Gardens, and the Brandywine River Museum, which celebrates the artistic talents of the Wyeth family.
Of course, you can always find fun in downtown Kennett Square. Whether its meals at Half Moon Saloon, Sinclair’s Sunrise Cafe, Country Butcher Cafe; enjoying La Michoacana’s renowned ice cream; strolling the shops on State Street; or taking in a concert at Kennett Flash or a performance by the Kennett Square Symphony, residents have many ways to keep busy in Kennett Square.
Your Kennett Square Walking Tour begins at The Market at Liberty Place, the perfect spot to start a great day. You’ll then travel to notable historic homes, government buildings, and the iconic Kennett Square Inn.
Market at Liberty Place is a 10,000 square foot space home to a mix of merchants selling freshly prepared foods, produce, and other retail goods. It serves as a gathering place for members of the Kennett Square business community.
Built between 1820 and 1839, this structure is a combination of a two-bay Penn plan on the west side and a four-bay federal plan on the east side.
The house was built in 1858 by Thomas Pyle for the Woodward family. When it was built, it looked similar to the colonial houses across the street at 323 and 325 S. Broad Street. Over time, it grew with the addition of rooms and embellishments. In about 1888, the exterior got a drastic face lift including the tower, circular porch, and Victorian gingerbread.
This house was built in 1879 by James Gawthrop, the founder of the James Gawthrop Company, a coal and lumber business. An eclectic combination of Queen Anne and Stick styles, it is one of the more unusual houses in the Historic District. Particularly interesting is the six-sided turret with the original cap. The main roof is gabled and a hip-roofed dormer projects from the tower.
Built in 1899 in the Queen Anne style by Harry K. Hicks, from plans from architect, George Barber. This home is characterized by its eclectic mix of contrasting materials and patterns: the use of stucco, clapboard, decorative shingles, half-timbering, slate-hipped roof, conical roof porch, and Chinese or chinoise lattice work on the porch railing and the classical columns supporting the porch roof.
Opened on April 17, 1939, this former municipal building was constructed using materials taken from the old high school and WPA labor. Old Ben Butler was cast at the Pennock Foundry at State & Willow Streets, presented to the home guard of Kennett Square in 1861, and was fired to hail Union victories in the Civil War.
Edwin Brosius built a pottery at the corner of Broad and Linden Streets around 1844. The Brosius home serves as a fine example of the Federal style, having been updated later in the century. The more modern Italianate details of the structure are seen in the ornate bracketed cornice and the iron porch with the balcony above.
Here, on September 11, 1777, 12,000 British and 5,000 Hessian troops gathered prior to marching east for what later became known as the Battle of the Brandywine. On the northwest corner was the site of the oldest building in Kennett Square, the Unicorn Tavern, and on the northeast corner, the tower of the office building houses three faces of the original workings of the Kennett Town Clock.