Tucked into a tiny spot on the border with Delaware, Delaware County was formed in 1789 when it was carved out of the much larger Chester County. It’s population is now about 550,000 spread across a rather small (191 square miles) area. Media, Pa., is the county seat and accordingly, it is home to the county courthouse and the legal and municipal offices that support county government. The county’s growth has been fueled in large part by its proximity to both Philadelphia and Wilmington, Del.
Because of the county’s long history, there are wonderful examples of historical architecture, mostly residential and built of stone. Such areas as Chadds Ford and its Brandywine River Museum of Art and Newtown Square with its hunt clubs and stone farmhouses are examples of why people love living in Delaware County. Of note, two parts of the county are considered part of Philadelphia’s Main Line. They are Haverford and Radnor townships.
There is one state park in Delaware County. The 2,606-acre Ridley Creek State Park was formed from a private estate and as such still has a formal garden designed by the Olmsted brothers, sons of pre-eminent landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. The mansion on the property is now the park office. There are five miles of paved trails for walking, biking and running plus the creek for fishing. Another feature in the park is a historical stone house known as the Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation. Visitors can learn about daily life during the late 1700s.
Delaware County also is home to the largest freshwater tidal wetland in Pennsylvania. The John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge is a 1,200-acre area with marshland, ponds and the Darby Creek. Located in Tinicum Township (not to be confused with Bucks County’s Tinicum Township), this refuge is home to dozens of species of birds, amphibians, reptiles and other wildlife. Most people know the area from signage along I-95 on their way to the Philadelphia International Airport, but the refuge has 10 miles of trails for birdwatchers and other nature lovers to explore.