The historic structures of Chadds Ford Historical Society
Learn about the three historic buildings built in the early 1700s and the people who called these buildings their homes
Our Visitor's Center is located in the Heart of the Chadds Ford Village and was built in the early 1990's on the foundation of an 1800's dairy barn. This building houses our offices, library, temporary exhibit room, and meeting room. Come by for a visit and tour our three historic houses and see whats new in our exhibit room. This is also the first stop of your digital tour of the Society's historic buildings.
The Springhouse The springhouse was either built at the same time as the mansion house (before 1725) or before. It could well have been completed before the house so that Chads, the builder, and his apprentices, could have a roof over their heads while work proceeded on the house. When John Chads moved into the mansion house, the springhouse was then occupied by a tenant who helped Chads till his land. The springhouse continued to be so occupied until the mid-1940’s. For a short time in the late 19th century the building served as a one-room school. During the Battle of the Brandywine (September 11, 1777) the northwest corner of the springhouse was damaged by British and German artillery fire.
The John Chads’ House is a fine example of early 18th century architecture and construction in southeastern Pennsylvania. Its style and appointments suggest moderate wealth and social station. Its simplicity reflects its original Quaker heritage. Chads is considered “the founder of Chadds Ford” because he started several small industries which formed the nucleus of the community. In 1731 he began to operate a ferry at the ford itself. He at length obtained official Penn sanction to run the ferry in 1737.
William Barns’ Tavern, now the Barns-Brinton House, is important both architecturally and historically. Built in 1714, the dignity of its proportions and the design of the Flemish bond brickwork using black headers, make it an unusually fine example of early Pennsylvania architecture. There is a subtle sophistication about it which makes it unique in comparison with other local houses of this period. It was purchased in 1969 by the Chadds Ford Historical Society.