Doylestown has a rich history and has been recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. Originally the province of the Delaware Indians (the Lenni Lenape tribe), the land destined to become Doylestown and Bucks County (named for its resemblance to the gently undulating woodlands of Buckinghamshire, England) remains widely regarded as some of the most beautiful countryside in Pennsylvania - and America.
The history of Bucks County takes many fascinating paths, but few as dramatic as the one traveled by Edward Marshall in 1737, which resulted in what is now part of what's commonly referred to as "Penn's Purchase." By agreement between William Penn's Proprietary Council and the Lenni Lenape Indians, a group of men including Marshall were to walk "As far as a man can go in a day and a half" on a straight course from Wrightstown northwest in the allotted time. New colonial boundaries would be established from surveys taken from that point to determine the extent of Bucks County's growth.
According to records, Marshall walked sixty miles. From that exact spot, surveyors drew a western line at a right angle to meet the Delaware River. The resulting quantity of land thus embraced by the "Walking Purchase," as it also came to be known, amounted to roughly five thousand new acres for Bucks County.
Marshall's route allegedly followed, at least for some portion of the walk, an old Indian trail. The path the walkers took ran through an area that, 101 years later, would become Doylestown. An early inhabitant of the area, William Doyles, owned property abutting this crossroads. As traffic increased, Doyle found himself at a busy intersection. An entrepreneurial man, he decided in 1745 that the practical thing to do was build a public house on the spot where weary travelers could rest and take refreshment before journeying on. With the support of neighbors, he petitioned the county government in Newton for what today is called a liquor license. Petition granted, Doyle built his tavern at the intersection.
The crossroads began to be known variously as "Doyl's Tavern," "Doyltown," "Doyle's Town," and finally, Doylestown. Today, that north-south road is Main Street (Rte. 611), and the east-west road it crosses State Street (Rte. 202). The two streets mark the center of Doylestown Borough, which is itself located within a mile of the geographical center of Bucks County. In 1750, the country hamlet consisted of no more than a half dozen families living in log houses. There was a blacksmith, a tavern, and a store selling pioneer gear.
From the turn of the century on, Doylestown grew apace with the rest of Bucks County - and was notably popular and prosperous as the seat of county government. It became a professionals' town, with law and medicine among its top trades. Doylestown flourished as a region where art, architecture and good dining were revered, along with farming history, and other venerable trades, crafts and traits which had contributed to its particular indigenous identity.
Fully embracing the future, while preserving the best of its abundant heritage, Doylestown has evolved into a locale where exceptional people and professional, classic architectural forms (notably Victorian and Federal), art, antiques, history, recreational fun and a gracious pastoral landscape all combine to create a unique American identity. Where, every day, residents and visitors alike sense its well-secured place in the stream of time as a truly one-of-a-kind cultural community. Many of the historical and Victorian homes in the area are maintained in Doylestown borough.
Although the name "Doylestown" goes back to the middle eighteenth century, the present Township is actually made up of a number of villages that were once independent communities. Some, like Cross Keys, Edison, Fountainville, Furling and Tradesville are still referred to by name. Others, such as Rittersville, Southwark, Wrangletown, and Germany have long since disappeared.
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