Downingtown is a borough in Chester County, Pennsylvania, 33 miles (53 km) west of Philadelphia. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 7,891. Downingtown was settled by English and European colonists in the early 18th century and has a number of historic buildings and structures.
The town was originally named Milltown due to its number of mills along the East Branch Brandywine Creek, the first of which was founded by Daniel Butter. The Butter family also had paper mills in the area, and Frederick Bicking from Winterburg, Germany, was the patriarch of the Bicking paper families. Around the time of the American Revolution, Milltown became more commonly known as Downingtown after the prominent businessman Thomas Downing, a Quaker immigrant in 1717 from Bradninch, Devon, England, who owned a number of those mills. The town was officially named Downingtown in 1812.
The town is located along the Lincoln Highway (now part of U.S. Route 30) which runs from the East Coast to the West Coast. It was an early westward road in the wagon days as the Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike. The Lincoln Highway was the first paved road to cross the nation from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Construction of the Pennsylvania Turnpike started in the early 1940s and was completed in the early 1950s; it runs north of US 30, bypassing Downingtown.
At the 2010 census, the borough was 76.0% non-Hispanic White, 12.0% Black or African American, 0.1% Native American, 2.7% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, and 3.2% were two or more races. 7.2% of the population were of Hispanic or Latino ancestry .
As of the census of 2000, there were 7,589 people, 3,059 households, and 1,853 families residing in the borough. The population density was 3,473.2 people per square mile (1,338.0/km²). There were 3,197 housing units at an average density of 1,463.2 per square mile (563.6/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 83.65% White, 10.79% African American, 0.12% Native American, 2.29% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.44% from other races, and 1.67% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.53% of the population.
Downingtown has a large population of residents that have Italian ancestry. The town has two different Italian American organizations and is listed as one of the Italian-American strongholds in the U.S.
There are 3,059 households, out of which 31.4% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.8% were married couples living together, 12.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.4% were non-families. 32.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 3.09.
The borough's population is spread out with 25.3% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 32.6% from 25 to 44, 19.2% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 89.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.4 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $45,979, and the median income for a family was $53,468. Males had a median income of $38,893 versus $29,284 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $21,634. About 3.0% of families and 4.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.2% of those under age 18 and 5.3% of those age 65 or over.
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If You Would Like to Learn More About The History of Downingtown
Here are Two Books Brad Recommends
Images of America Downingtown by Bruce Edward Mowday
A History of Downingtown by Jane L.S. Davidson
With a Pictorial History by Joseph E. Miller