Encyclopedia Of Forlorn Places

Chester, Pennsylvania

Chester

Chester, Pennsylvania

Chester Pennsylvania is a old industrial city that has become deeply embedded in the South Philadelphia suburbs. In spite of having lost half of it's population since 1950 (66,039 to 33,972 in 2010) Chester is still very crowded. The above picture is not typical of the streets of Chester. The main downtown area of Chester was too crowded for me to feel comfortable taking pictures. Chester was founded independently of Philadelphia in the mid to late 1600s. The Hendrickson House, one of the early homes built in Chester (1690) was moved to Wilmington Delaware in 1958. Chester was the site of key naval shipyards from the Civil War until World War Two. I don't think anything survives of those shipyards. They were near the base of the Commodore Barry Bridge. The industrial waterfront of Chester has several operating plants, a soccer stadium and a casino/race track. Chester's residential areas are scattered with abandoned homes and empty lots. In several areas on Chester's Southwest side, blocks of historic row houses have been demolished recently and replaced with hideous suburban style subsidized apartment buildings. Chester has many surviving 18th century buildings but I didn't see many or any efforts to preserve them. Marcus Hook is a similar town a few miles Southwest of Chester.