Sister Cities: Chester, New Jersey, Meet Chester, Pennsylvania

Photos courtesy of the City of Chester, Pennsylvania

 

By Steve Sears

Amanda Johnson, the Press Secretary for the city of Chester, Pennsylvania, says there is much to see in her five square mile historic city, which neighbors the Delaware River.

Chester,” Johnson says, “is the first city where William Penn landed in the state of Pennsylvania. Chester is the oldest city in Pennsylvania.”

And the only city in Delaware County. With a population of about 32,000, it definitely is leaps and bounds population-wise above Morris County’s Chester Township, which has roughly 8,000 residents. Chester, Pennsylvania’s first settlers called the area home in 1644, while Chester Township, New Jersey, at 30 square miles, was first settled in 1713. Routes 13 and 95 run north and south through Chester, Pennsylvania, while Route 322 crosses over into the city near Subaru Park from New Jersey via the Commodore Barry Bridge.

Johnson speaks about the area’s revitalization. “Chester has seen its share of hard times, but Chester is being built back up. We have two great waterfront attractions. The Union Soccer Stadium (Subaru Park) and we have the Harrah’s Casino with a race track. We also have access ramps for boat owners to put their boats into the water, and we also have the beautiful Widener University Campus in Chester.” If visiting and seeking affordable dining, a very popular UNO Pizzeria & Grill is located next to the Widener University Campus. “We have a fairly new hotel called Candlewood Suites that is located downtown and not far from the Harrah’s Casino, and we have Best Western next to Widener University,” adds Johnson about lodging. “We are fortunate to have a Salvation Army Corps located in our city to serve our community. We have many churches in the city and we have a few that are equipped with large fellowship halls and basketball courts for the community.”

Chester, Pennsylvania, which is also known for its fine water quality, is definitely about history, and Johnson details some of it. “We have the Chester Historical Society located downtown on 4th and Avenue of the States. We have the famous Penns Landing. At this time, we have a park in the location that reflects his landing area near the Chester Creek. We have the famous Deshong Park. The museum has been closed, but several of the famous items that were in the museum are being housed at Widener University.” Johnson also mentions that Chester was a large shipbuilding and steel production city. “We are proud to know that we are a part of history, with every part we made right here in Chester that was placed on navy ships that fought in the wars.” And, in addition to the before mentioned, Martin Luther King Jr. studied in Chester for several years, the legendary Scott Paper Company (aka Kimberly Clark) is in Chester, and Al Alberts of Four Aces music fame, singer-songwriter Brandi Wells, former New York Jet defensive linemen, Joe Klecko, the late Pittsburgh Pirates manager, Danny Murtaugh, who guided his club to Major League Baseball’s 1971 World Series championship, and forward Derrick Jones, Jr. of the National Basketball Association’s Chicago Bulls, all lived in Chester. Chester also has the oldest active court house in Pennsylvania. “Chester,” affirms Johnson, “is a very historical city.”

In addition to the waters of the Delaware River, nature is being embraced on the east coast of Pennsylvania, as Chester Park (which has a creek that runs through it), and areas near Union Soccer Stadium are continually being enhanced. “Eyre Drive has a walking trail located next to Chester High School, which allows the walkers or joggers to look over the Chester Creek,” Johnson says.

For more information about Chester, Pennsylvania, visit www.chestercity.com.

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