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Doylestown, Pennsylvania facts for kids

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Borough of Doylestown
Pugh Dungan Hs BucksCo PA.jpg
Pugh Dungan House
Doylestown borough seal pa.png
Named for: William Doyle
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Bucks
Elevation 456 ft (139 m)
Area 2.2 sq mi (5.7 km²)
 - land 2.2 sq mi (6 km²)
 - water 0.0 sq mi (0 km²), 0%
Population 8,337 (2013)
Density 3,822.5 /sq mi (1,475.9 /km²)
Founded 1745
 - Incorporated 1838 (Borough)
Mayor Luke Ventresca
Timezone EST (UTC-5)
 - summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 18901, 18902
Area code 215, 267

Doylestown is a borough and the county seat of Bucks County in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. It is located 27 miles (43 km) north of Philadelphia and 80 miles (130 km) southwest of New York City. As of the 2010 census, the borough population was 8,380.


Doylestown's origins date to 1745 when William Doyle obtained a license to build a tavern on what is now the northwest corner of Main and State Street. Known for years as "William Doyle's Tavern," its strategic location — at the intersection of the road (now U.S. Route 202) linking Swede's Ford (Norristown) and Coryell's Ferry (New Hope) and the road (now PA Route 611) linking Philadelphia and Easton — allowed the hamlet to blossom into a village. The first church was erected in 1815, followed by a succession of congregations throughout the 19th century.

Fountain House 2010
The Fountain House, at the corner of State and Main Streets, was built in 1758 and is on the National Register of Historic Places

As the population of Central and Upper Bucks County grew throughout the 18th and into the 19th century, discontent developed with the county seat's location in Newtown, where it had been since 1725. The county seat moved north to the more centrally located Doylestown in 1813. An outgrowth of Doylestown's new courthouse was the development of "lawyers row", a collection of Federal-style offices. One positive consequence of early 19th-century investment in the new county seat was organized fire protection, which began in 1825 with the Doylestown Fire Engine Company.

In 1838 the Borough of Doylestown was incorporated.

Bucks Courthouse
Bucks County Courthouse

An electric telegraph station was built in 1846, and in 1856 the North Pennsylvania Railroad completed a branch to Doylestown. The first gas lights were introduced in 1854. Because of the town's relatively high elevation and a lack of strong water power, substantial industrial development never occurred and Doylestown evolved to have a professional and residential character.

During the mid-19th century, several large tracts located east of the courthouse area were subdivided into neighborhoods. The next significant wave of development occurred after the Civil War, when the 30-acre (120,000 m2) Magill property to the southwest of the town's core was subdivided for residential lots.

In 1869 Doylestown established a water works. The first telephone line arrived in 1878, the same year that a new courthouse was erected. 1897 saw the first of several trolley lines connecting Doylestown with Willow Grove, Newtown and Easton. A private sewer system and treatment plant were authorized in 1903. The Borough took over and expanded sewer service to about three-quarters of the town in 1921.

Mercer Museum
The Mercer Museum of the Bucks County Historical Society in Doylestown

In the early 20th century, Doylestown became best known to the outside world through the "Tools of the Nation-Maker" museum of the Bucks County Historical Society. Henry Chapman Mercer constructed the reinforced concrete building in 1916 to house his collection of mechanical tools and utensils. Upon his death in 1930, Mercer also left his similarly constructed home Fonthill and adjacent Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, to be operated as a museum. The home was left on the condition that his housekeeper be allowed to live there for the rest of her life. She lived there and gave tours until the mid-1970s.

In 1916, Doylestown Country Club was established and still operates a private golf course and caddy program.

County Cinema Dtown
The County Theater in the Doylestown Historic District

By 1931, the advent of the automobile and improved highway service had put the last trolley line out of business, and Doylestonians were forced to embrace the automobile as the primary means of travel within the region. The Great Depression took its toll, as many grand old houses constructed a century earlier fell into disrepair. During the 1930s, the Borough also expanded its land area to the north by admission of the tract known as the Doylestown Annex.

Main Street northbound approaching State Street Doylestown
Main Street

In the decade following World War II, Doylestown's business community boomed. During the 1940s, streets were paved for the first time in two decades and parking meters were introduced downtown in 1948. However, the Borough's post-war housing boom did not begin in earnest until the 1950s, when 550 new homes were built. This housing boom continued into the 1960s and 1970s, as more than 1,600 new homes were built during those decades and the Borough's population grew from 5,917 in 1960 to 8,717 in 1980.

As with many small towns across the country, the growth of the post-war decades also brought a new competitor to the downtown business district—the shopping mall. By the 1960s, the toll could be seen in Doylestown by the numerous vacant buildings and dilapidated storefronts in the center of town. The Bucks County Redevelopment Authority responded with a federal urban renewal scheme that called for the demolition of 27 historic buildings. The local business community objected to such wholesale clearance and responded with its own plan called Operation '64, the Doylestown Plan for Self-Help Downtown Renewal. This private initiative was successful in saving Doylestown's old buildings and historic character, while improving business at the same time. One historic landmark that could not be saved was the 80-year-old courthouse and clock tower, which was replaced by the present county complex in the early 1960s.

By the end of the 1980s, the downtown business district was again showing the toll of massive new competition from the latest wave of suburban shopping centers, as well as the recession that hit hardest in the northeastern states. In response, the Borough Council established a volunteer group of civic-minded representatives from business organizations, government, and the residential community to begin formulating plans for the downtown area in 1992. This effort resulted in streetscape improvements composed of cast iron street lamps and brick pavers, facade improvements and other beautification efforts, and the establishment of a Main Street Manager Program.

Borough Hall of Doylestown

As the 1990s progressed, the downtown area rebuilt itself largely by turning to an out-of-town audience. Doylestown had long been respected as a bucolic tourist destination. The gentry of Philadelphia and New York, including figures of the Manhattan theater and literary scenes, maintained country estates in the area and often summered there. The Mercer Museum, Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, and the local National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa brought a regular stream of short-term visitors through the area as well. With charitable support, the art deco County Theater was restored and reopened showing art-house fare, and a new main library and art museum were built around the ruins of the old stone jail, across the street from the Mercer Museum. An official "resort town" designation exempted the area from liquor license caps, and empty commercial space began to fill with a dense and vibrant nighttime scene of bars and restaurants.

This development goes hand in hand with the broader development of the region. As the Philadelphia metropolitan area expanded from southern into central Bucks County, the fields and farms of the communities around Doylestown quickly began to sprout housing developments. This development brought thousands of people to the area, but the neighborhoods created often lacked longstanding institutions or discernible centers. Doylestown, more centrally located than Delaware River border town, New Hope, PA, which had traditionally served this function, was able to position itself as the regional center of culture and nightlife.

Archival collection and community programming are two functions of the Doylestown Historical Society, established in 1995, whose mission is "to commemorate and preserve the history of Doylestown so that its people, places and events may long be remembered."

The Doylestown Historic District, Pugh Dungan House, Fonthill, Fountain House, Oscar Hammerstein II Farm, James-Lorah House, Mercer Museum, Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, and Shaw Historic District are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2), all of it land.


Doylestown experiences a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfa). However, it falls short of the criterion for a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) by .1 °F (.056 °C)

Climate data for Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 39
Average low °F (°C) 24
Precipitation inches (mm) 3.94
Source: Weather Channel


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 627
1850 1,006 60.4%
1860 1,432 42.3%
1870 1,601 11.8%
1880 2,070 29.3%
1890 1,733 −16.3%
1900 1,764 1.8%
1910 1,854 5.1%
1920 1,369 −26.2%
1930 1,371 0.1%
1940 4,976 262.9%
1950 5,262 5.7%
1960 5,917 12.4%
1970 8,270 39.8%
1980 8,717 5.4%
1990 8,575 −1.6%
2000 8,227 −4.1%
2010 8,380 1.9%
Est. 2015 8,301 −0.9%

As of the 2010 census, the borough was 94.8% Non-Hispanic White, 2.3% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 1.9% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, and 1.5% were two or more races. 2.8% of the population were of Hispanic or Latino ancestry [1].

As of the census of 2000, there were 8,227 people, 3,952 households, and 1,908 families residing in the borough. The population density was 3,822.5 people per square mile (1,477.4/km²). There were 4,055 housing units at an average density of 1,884.1 per square mile (728.2/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 95.24% White, 0.30% African American, 0.11% Native American, 1.42% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 0.43% from other races, and 0.63% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.20% of the population

There were 3,952 households, out of which 19.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.0% were married couples living together, 7.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 51.7% were non-families. 44.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 22.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.98 and the average family size was 2.82.

In the borough the population was spread out, with 16.5% under the age of 18, 5.7% from 18 to 24, 28.8% from 25 to 44, 23.5% from 45 to 64, and 25.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 79.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.7 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $46,148, and the median income for a family was $71,988. Males had a median income of $48,553 versus $31,703 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $32,249. About 2.5% of families and 4.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.7% of those under age 18 and 9.6% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture

Mercer Museum
Fonthill Castle
Fonthill Castle

Doylestown Borough is home to three structures designed and built by Henry Chapman Mercer. The Mercer Museum, a structure built in poured concrete, is the home to Mercer's collection of early American artifacts. It also houses a collection known as "Tools of the Nation-Maker", one of the most important of its kind in the world. The Bucks County Historical Society also maintains the Spruance Library, a research library, adjoining the museum. Fonthill (also known as "Mercer's Castle") was Mercer's home and houses his collection of artifacts from around the world. The Moravian Pottery and Tile Works is an operational facility utilizing the tools and techniques used by Pennsylvania German potters in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The former prison, across the street from the Mercer Museum, has been converted into the James A. Michener Art Museum. The borough also boasts a small music conservatory, writers' and artists' organizations, and other cultural activities.

Doylestown is located near the Polish-American Roman Catholic shrine known as the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa, which houses a painting of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa, Poland.

The Fountain House, a historic building, is located in Doylestown Borough.

Points of interest

Michener's typewriter at the James A. Michener Art Museum
  • Delaware Valley University
  • Fonthill Museum
  • Henry Schmieder Arboretum
  • James A. Michener Art Museum
  • Mercer Museum
  • Moravian Pottery and Tile Works
  • National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa
  • Oscar Hammerstein II Farm
  • Peace Valley Park
  • Pearl S. Buck House
  • Ringing Rocks Park


The main north-south street in Doylestown is Main Street while the main east-west street is State Street, which forms a one-way pair with Oakland Avenue in the downtown area. Pennsylvania Route 611 bypasses Doylestown to the west on a freeway, heading north to Easton and south to Philadelphia. U.S. Route 202 bypasses the center of the borough to the south and heads southwest to Norristown and northeast to New Hope. Pennsylvania Route 313 runs northwest-southeast along the northern edge of Doylestown on Swamp Road and heads northwest to Dublin and Quakertown and southeast to Pennsylvania Route 263, where Swamp Road continues as an unnumbered road towards Newtown.

Doylestown SEPTA
Doylestown SEPTA train station

The Lansdale/Doylestown Line of SEPTA Regional Rail connects Doylestown to Center City Philadelphia and many points in between. Doylestown Station is the northernmost stop.

Doylestown is served by SEPTA City Bus Route 55, which heads south to Warrington, Willow Grove, Abington, and finally the Olney Transportation Center in North Philadelphia. Doylestown is also connected to New Jersey and New York by Trans-Bridge Lines, with some daily runs extending northward to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Locally, Doylestown is served by a small public transportation system called the "Doylestown DART" (Doylestown Area Regional Transit). Not to be confused with Delaware's DART First State buses, Doylestown DART is a service of Bucks County Transport, and consists of a single weekday route. Often used by the elderly, it travels to various destinations in Doylestown, including government offices, schools, department stores, restaurants, pharmacies, senior residences, and Doylestown Hospital.

In popular culture

In the science fiction short story He Walked Around the Horses by H. Beam Piper, which involves the British diplomat Benjamin Bathurst being sent to a parallel universe in which the American Revolution was a failure, it is mentioned that George Washington was killed in the Battle of Doylestown during the short-lived rebellion of the colonies in British North America.

Doylestown is mentioned in "Carbon Creek", an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, as the site of a minor league baseball game in 1957 attended by two of the episode's characters.

Doylestown is the location of M. Night Shyamalan's 2002 film Signs. The location of the film is cited as "Bucks County, PA" in the film. Filming was done in a corn field that forms part of the campus of Delaware Valley University.

King Man Productions' Revenge of the Don was filmed here in 2009 and premiered at the 2009 British Film Festival in Redondo Beach, California that same year.

The documentary "The Last Game" follows the Central Bucks West Football team during the 1999 season. It was released in 2002.

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