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History :: About Chester

The oldest city in Pennsylvania, Chester was founded in 1641 and was first known as Finlandia. In the late 1670s William Penn was given a land grant from Charles II of England to pay off a debt owed to Penn's father. Upon landing on his newly acquired colony, Penn immediately changed the name of the settlement to Chester to honor the birthplace in Europe of one of his closest friends. Chester was the original county seat of Chester County and was primarily a sleepy village along the banks of the Delaware River. Starting with the arrival of the Industrial Revolution in the 1850s, the makeup of the city dramatically changed. During that decade, industry boomed and the population grew to meet the needs of the startup industries. By 1860, Chester's population had tripled from just ten years earlier to 4,631 and by 1950 peaked at just over 66,000.

Today, Chester once again stands as a city ready to leave a historic impression on the region.

Did you know? Facts about Chester.

  • The Commodore Barry Bridge is the largest Cantilever Bridge in the United States
  • $1.36 billion has been invested in the city of Chester since 1996
  • Harrah's Chester has generated over 900 new jobs
  • Wells Fargo Auto Finance has added 1100 new jobs
  • Chester is located within 100 miles of 13% of the U.S population
  • Chester is 25 minutes from Wilmington, Delaware?home to more than half of the Fortune 500 companies
  • Chester's great location provides linkage to regional high-speed computing hubs
  • Two ships of the United States Navy have been named USS Chester in honor of the city