About This Place
Downingtown is a borough in Chester County, Pennsylvania, 33 miles (53 km) west of Philadelphia. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 7,891. Downingtown has been in existence since the early 18th century and has a number of historic buildings and structures.
The town was originally named Milltown due to its number of mills along the East Branch Brandywine Creek, the first of which was founded by Thomas Moore. The Bicking family also had paper mills in the area, with Frederick Bicking from Winterburg, Germany, being the patriarch of the Bicking paper families. Around the time of the American Revolution, Milltown became more commonly known as Downingtown because Thomas Downing, a 1717 Quaker immigrant from Bradninch, Devon, England, owned a number of those mills. The town's name officially became Downingtown in 1812.
The town is located along the Lincoln Highway (now part of U.S. Route 30) which runs from the East Coast to the West Coast, and was an early westward road in the wagon days as the Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike. The Lincoln Highway was the first paved road to cross the nation from Atlantic to Pacific. The Pennsylvania Turnpike started construction in the early 1940s and was completed in the early 1950s; it runs north of US 30 bypassing Downingtown.