East End of West Chester

Walking the East End, Part One

East End of West Chester

This self-guided walking tour is illustrated with numerous photographs, many of them offering a rare glimpse into the 19th-century lives of early black entrepreneurs in the days when West Chester (a county seat) was nearly 90 percent Quaker.

The book also documents the Civil Rights era: Bayard Rustin,famous as the chief tactician of nonviolent action and the organizer of the March of 1963, was born and raised in the East End. 

Although the book is designed as a walking tour, with numbered sites in an area of West Chester called the “East End,” the book will be of interest to anyone interested in 19th century industries and the lives of free black residents (and former slaves) in the years before or after the Civil War.

The industries documented in the book – and shown in the images here – include a mushroom cannery known as Edward Jacobs Co. (later Grocery Store Products) and the Hoopes Bros.& Darlington Wheel Works, in operation from 1866 to 1973.

B&B Mushroom Factory

The book also documents the Civil Rights era: Bayard Rustin, famous as the chief tactician of nonviolent action and the organizer of the March of 1963, was born and raised in the East End.

To read an excerpt from the walking tour, click here.

2 thoughts on “Walking the East End, Part One”

  1. My father worked for GSP after returning from military service in 1945.
    He started in the mushroom houses and became a truck driver and union leader. Dad reared a family of four children and drove nice cars. A fond memory for me was the farm we had for several summers in a field adjacent to the mushroom houses. We grew a lot of food, but mostly it was a family adventure, we worked and learned together. Major male-bonding occurred as my dad, my brother and I walked home along the railroad tracks. I learned how smart and caring my father was. He was strong, athletic, handsome and a hard worker.
    I’ll always appreciate GSP for providing that farming opportunity for its employees.
    It was a valuable growth experience in many ways.

    1. Thanks so much for your comments. Sorry for the delay in commenting. I was hoping to include more about GSP when I write a third walking tour book on West Chester’s industry.

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