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The first settlers here were Lenape Indians and the first roads were Native American trails. In 1710, three cowpaths were established called Goshen, Sugartown, and Boot. Those roads are still in existence, under the same names.

Willistown was a part of the 50,000 acre Welsh Tract surveyed for William Penn in 1684. It is located in the eastern part of Chester County, Pennsylvania, five miles east of West Chester and approximately twenty miles from Philadelphia proper and Wilmington, Delaware. In the late 1700s as business grew, scattered villages emerged at major crossroads and contained a school, tavern, general stores, and craft shops. Sugartown, White Horse, and Plumsock were the earliest villages in Willistown. Historic Sugartown is a celebrated landmark of the region and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Willistown was organized as a Township in 1704.

In the early 1900s the township mainly developed agriculturally. The electrification of the Paoli and Philadelphia commuter railways in the 1920s increased suburbanization in the entire area and population grew rapidly in West Chester, Malvern, and Paoli. During the early 1970s, a four-lane highway, Route 202, was built between King of Prussia and West Chester. Rapid development spread southward along this “high tech” corridor and increased the demand for housing in Willistown Township. While considerable growth has occurred and the Township has expanded in size and modernized, the rural character of the Township makes Willistown a reserve in the midst of the dense suburban landscapes surrounding it; a distinct agrarian society with one foot in the not-too-distant past.

Willistown is mostly comprised of Malvern and Newtown Square, but also a slice of West Chester, and portions of the Main Line towns of Berwyn and Paoli.

Willistown is known for the farms dotting its landscape and its many thousands of acres under conservation easements to protect natural and scenic resources. Effectively the “town center” of Willistown Township, Malvern bustles with terrific restaurants, shops, library, Green Tree Park, and small-town activities such as the Farmers Market, Memorial Day Parade, Halloween Parade, Malvern Blooms, Summer Carnival at Monument Park, and Third Thursday strolls with vendors open late and street performers. Throughout the rest of the Township, equestrian activities are de rigeur, with countless riding trails, and farms devoted to elite breeding programs, competitive dressage and eventing, and fox hunting (no, the fox is not harmed). The Radnor Hunt, founded in 1883, is the oldest fox hunt in the United States and hosts several charity events throughout the year, the biggest of which is the Radnor Hunt Races, and all of which support local land conservancy organizations. In Willistown, you will mostly find single family homes with old-world charm on larger lots and a smattering of townhouse developments.

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