Wallingford - Nether Providence Township


Nether Providence enjoys a rich and fascinating history that spans more than three centuries.  The first recorded inhabitants of what was to become Nether Providence Township were indigenous Native Americans of the Lenape tribe.   They had been living in the area for five hundred years.With the coming of the Swedes in 1638, the Dutch in 1655, and finally the English in 1664, the Lenape started to move west around 1674 to avoid the new settlers.  By 1740, there were very few Lenape remaining in the area.On August 14, 1682, two months prior to William Penn's landing, John Sharpless came to our area. Penn had given Sharpless a thousand-acre tract.   Sharpless chose to settle on a section of that tract near Ridley Creek in Nether Providence.  Finding a large rock adjacent to the creek, he built a log cabin around it, using it as the back wall of the fireplace.  The cabin is gone, but the rock with carved initials J. S. and the date of 1682 can still be seen in its original location.

 The mills played an essential part in the growth of Nether Providence.  In addition to hundreds of employees (men, women, and children), hundreds more were employed in occupations ancillary to the mills - as stable hands, teamsters, smiths, tailors, and carpenters.  They lived in the self-contained villages that grew up around the mills.After the Civil War, the landscape of the township began to change.  As wealthy Philadelphians discovered the lush scenery, delightful breezes, and large open spaces, they descended on Nether Providence, building summer residences and vacation resorts.The first train came to our town in 1854.  It used a single track with a sidetrack at Wallingford.  The first post office in Nether Providence was established at Hinkson's Corner in 1873.  Trolleys also contributed to the area's development.  The first independent trolley was the Chester and Media Electric Railway, chartered in 1892.  The trolley began to disappear in the 1930s, and the last trolley passed into history in 1938.