About Rose Valley
Rose Valley Borough
Rose Valley was included in land grants by William Penn in 1681 to three Vernon brothers – Thomas, Robert and Randal – while they were still in England. They all arrived here the following year. Robert’s grant was confirmed by patent in 1684, Thomas’s in 1702 and Randal’s in 1711. The three brothers’ lands were contiguous, and each had considerable frontage on the east side of Ridley Creek. Randal Vernon built his home on what is now Rabbit Run, and that home still stands. The part of Rose Valley we know as Todmorden was also part of Randal Vernon’s grant, but it was not until 1831 when Samuel Bancroft bought the farm and mill on that site that the house was called Todmorden – a name which is said to mean “Death of the Fox” or “End of the Hunt.” Robert Vernon’s home may have been the three-story stone house on Old Mill Lane, now known as the Bishop White House, getting that name from William White who sent his family here from Philadelphia during an epidemic of yellow fever in 1793.
The power of Ridley Creek was harnessed in 1789 when Nicholas Stimmel built his snuff mill where the Old Mill now stands. After snuff went out of fashion, the mill was used to grind bark to make fever medicine and then converted to a paper mill. The mill stood unused and deserted for a decade until Antrim Osborne bought it in 1861 to manufacture woolens. To provide housing for his many workers, Osborne built twelve six-room houses, six in a continuous row on the east side of Rose Valley Road, and three double houses across the street. The houses were completed in 1870 and they still stand. At the peak of his wool business, in 1879, Osborne bought Hutton’s mill, now Hedgerow Theatre. Osborne died in 1890.
The era that makes Rose Valley unique among the Philadelphia suburbs is that of the Arts and Crafts movement. Generally defined as the English revival of decorative arts, it was one aspect of a many-sided reaction against the Industrial Revolution and the diminished role of the craftsman in the production of goods. The principal leader of the reaction was William Morris whose ideas crossed the Atlantic and made their appeal to those interested in social and philosophical concepts. One of those interested was William Lightfoot Price, a successful Philadelphia architect and a man in love with people and ideas.
In 1901, Will Price bought eighty acres in the name of the Rose Valley Association from the bankrupt estate of Antrim Osborne. With the financial backing of a group of wealthy liberal Philadelphians interested in social reform, Price set about creating the Arts and Crafts movement’s vision of “the art that is life.” The Rose Valley Association was to be an association of shops whose purpose was the manufacture of handcrafted items. The Association would rent space to these shops and work that met the standards of the Association would be stamped with the Rose Valley seal, a wild rose superimposed by a ‘V’ and circled by a buckled belt to symbolize fellowship. On the social side, true to his democratic philosophy, Price envisioned a community where “the tiniest cottages may be built side by side with a more spacious neighbor.”
From the beginning, the Association was plagued by financial problems, and it must be said that although many beautiful items were crafted here in those early years, the commercial aspect of the Arts and Crafts experiment was not a success. In the first five years, only three shops had been established, and of these, only the furniture shop had any real organization. By the end of the decade, the Rose Valley Association had been forced to sell most of its assets to pay its debts.
Although the commercial side of the experiment was not a success, the social and artistic sides were. From its beginning Rose Valley was attractive to people who saw an opportunity to use their creative talents in their living environment. The Rose Valley Folk, initially organized to deal with the practical problems of self-government, became more a social organization. The Folk organized all sorts of community events – picnics, swimming and canoeing parties, baseball games. At night the Guild Hall was kept in perpetual use with concerts, plays and dances. The community threw itself into these productions, writing the plays, designing sets, making costumes, printing programs and acting.
Today, the memories of the Arts and Crafts movement abound in the Borough. Many descendants of the original artists and artisans still live here, and the distinctive architectural style of William Price can be seen in many of the homes.
In 1923, in order to control their own destiny as a local community, the 250 residents of Rose Valley petitioned the Court of Quarter Sessions to establish a Borough. The petition was approved on December 23, 1923. It created a separate municipality of 410 acres of which 363 had been in Nether Providence and 47 across the creek in Middletown Township.
On July 19, 2010, the U. S. Department of the Interior placed a large portion of the Borough on the National Register of Historic Places. The Rose Valley Historic District consists of 123 resources (105 buildings, 7 sites, 10 structures and 1 object (the Minquas Path Historic Marker on Rose Valley Road). More details about the historic district can be obtained at the Borough Office.
A more detailed history of Rose Valley Borough can be found in the two volumes of A History of Rose Valley, available for purchase at the Borough office.
Introduction to the Arts and Crafts centennial exhibition catalogue, E. Morris Potter, November, 2001
A History of Rose Valley, Delaware County, PA, Borough of Rose Valley, 1973
A History of Rose Valley II, Delaware County, PA, Borough of Rose Valley, 1998
Community Arts Center
The Community Arts Center in Wallingford, PA is an extraordinary place. A place full of creativity‚ history‚ inspiration‚ energy‚ celebration‚ ART.
CAC offers countless opportunities to create and enjoy the visual arts. Classes for all ages, exhibits in our spacious new gallery, an active outreach program, an artisans gift shop, and frequent fine art and craft sales allow people to come together and bring art and creativity into their lives.
The Arts Center home is one of Delaware County most historic and architecturally interesting properties, a 122-year-old estate on four landscaped acres adjacent to I-476.
The arts are essential to human development and the well being of society. The Community Arts Center is dedicated to providing a nurturing environment for artists at all levels of their creative journey, encouraging participation in the arts through advocacy, education and outreach, and serving as a vital creative resource for the community.
The Community Arts Center was founded in 1948 by a group of local artists. Throughout its long and successful history the Arts Center has continually pursued excellence in all areas of its programming, expanding course offering and other programs to meet the needs of its community.
“Long live the Abbey Theatre of Dublin! Long live the Art Theatre of Moscow! And long live the Hedgerow Theatre of Moylan, in the State of Pennsylvania!” – Sean O’Casey
America’s Repertory Theatre
Hedgerow is inextricably entwined with the legacy of the Rose Valley Arts and Craft Movement. A movement that defines itself by independent thinkers resisting the wave of industrialization rushing over society. Founding Artistic Director, Jasper Deeter, recognized in this movement a kindred spirit after visiting his sister and watching her perform at what was Guild Hall. He saw here was the place to create an independent theater and transformed Guild Hall into Hedgerow Theatre.
In this act, he foreshadowed the regional not-for-profit theatre movement, and pushed for a racially integrated company of artists both near and far crafting an identity for Hedgerow as a beacon for artists throughout the country.
Beginning in 1923, Hedgerow launched the first resident repertory theatre that, over its 94 years, has become a magnet for many national theatre personalities, from Richard Basehart to Edward Albee; from Ann Harding to Susan Glaspell; to—more recently—Keanu Reeves and Austin Pendleton.
Visionary actor/director Jasper founded Hedgerow in 1923 as a haven for cutting edge artists of the early 20th century, and the theatre quickly gained a national and international reputation as a proving ground for era defining artists such as Eugene O’Neill, Henrik Ibsen, George Bernard Shaw, Theodore Dreiser, and Wharton Esherick.
Throughout the years, Hedgerow has only had the option to grow. Expanding from its grist mill beginnings, cosmetically transformed by Will Price and spiritually by Jasper Deeter, Hedgerow obtained the Farmhouse Studio through the kindness of former Hedgerow company member Ann Harding. Then, tragically in 1985, our poor theater was burned down only to rise from the ashes through the kindness of its former members in 1990. This theatre’s vibrancy has only increased in recent years thanks to the generosity of the Wyncote Foundation. With their help, the lobby experience is transformed to welcome those who believe in the magic of Hedgerow.
In that swath of time, Hedgerow expanded its initiatives as well. In 1958, Rose Schulman with Jasper Deeter founded the Hedgerow Theater School of Expression training generations of theatre artists. As Penelope Reed joined the legacy of Hedgerow, she opens a children’s theater and expands the educational programming to include children.
Penelope Reed’s contact with the theater pulled Hedgerow back into its rightful place as a defining feature of the Greater Philadelphia artistic landscape and cemented its role in training the next generation of theatre artists by installing a Fellowship program that continues to produce talented arts leaders that have grown the Philadelphia arts scene. At the 2001 National Theatre Communications Group conference held in Philadelphia, Hedgerow was lauded as the “Mother of all Philadelphia theatres”. Note was made of several theaters that were spawned by Hedgerow; examples include People’s Light and Theatre Company, Freedom Theatre and Curio Theatre Company.
In 2016, Hedgerow theatre changes hand with Penelope Reed stepping down and Jared Reed taking up the reins. Through his leadership, the theater is due to be a great success. Jared majored in Drama at Julliard, and worked consistently in New York and in the Regional Theatres, but he continued to return to Hedgerow again and again. “Although I had a career in New York after graduating,” he says, “that didn’t fulfill me as much as being part of a company. I moved back to this area and started Curio Theatre Company in West Philadelphia with Paul Kuhn and his wife Gay Carducci, both former Hedgerovians. And now I am back home at Hedgerow again.”
As he says about the company, “It helps enormously to have some very seasoned staff members, as well as energetic young company members – the latter of whom all have to pitch in,” Reed says. “You will see residents of the Hedgerow House not only on stage, but also manning phones, painting sets, putting up posters, entertaining children at community fairs, coordinating social media, and assisting with all special events. Being part of a residential repertory theatre involves far more of yourself — your whole life is wrapped up artistically and practically making theatre work on every level.”
The independent craftsmanship birthed from Jasper Deeter’s decision to start a theater in a place of makers has truly found its apogee in Hedgerow Theater. This legacy is one we continue to nurture, at the core of which is you.
In 1904, architect Will Price converted an existing circa-1790 stone barn into studios for the artists Charles H. and Alice Barber Stephens. Appended to this, he designed a rambling fieldstone-and-stucco house, including a 3-story octagonal stair tower that joined the wings and served all five levels.
Price, a founder of Rose Valley, attempted to create a community of artists and artisans working side by side under the principles of the Arts and Crafts Movement. These included truth in the use of materials, traditional craftsmanship using simple forms, and often medieval, romantic or folk styles of decoration.
Price described the house:
“The old barn standing near the road was converted into first and second floor studios, the old timber roof being rebuilt for the upper studio, and large windows and fireplaces being built into the old walls. The house rambles off from the fireplace and off the studios and is connected to them by an octagonal stair hall. It is built in part of fieldstone so like that in the old barn that it is almost impossible to tell old work from new. The upper part is of warm gray plaster, and the roof of red tile. All of the detail is as simple and direct as possible, and the interior is finished in cypress stained to soft browns and grays and guilty of no finish other than wax or oil.”
The Old Mill
Rose Valley Area Special Features
The School In Rose Valley
Founded in 1929, The School in Rose Valley stands apart as a profoundly unique educational institution. Born out of the Rose Valley arts and crafts community, the School echoes traditions of creativity, integrity, and strong family involvement. We are a community of educators, who are passionate, knowledgeable, and caring, and who love to learn as much as SRV’s students. Our commitment to progressive education means that learning is experiential, emergent, and collaborative. SRV’s beautiful, wooded nine-acre campus provides a rich backdrop for exploration, and students learn by interacting with the natural world, building on their own knowledge and affinities, and working with their peers toward a common goal. The School’s talented teachers attend to students’ physical, emotional, social, and cognitive development with great care; and our low teacher-to-student ratio allows for the strong personal bonds that are essential to learning.
What really makes SRV such a unique and special place though is its students. All one has to do is to watch a group of children completely engrossed in the discovery of a salamander down by Ridley Creek, immersed in their character during a rehearsal of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, or lost in the turning of a bowl on the lathe in the woodshop to see that the learning that takes place here is rich, meaningful, and foundational. SRV students are independent learners who are capable of thinking critically and innovatively, and solving problems. They celebrate difference and respect one another. At SRV, play is vital to a child’s social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development; and play is something that sets us apart from other schools. When I see the root systems of the dawn redwood outside my window transformed into a collection of fairy dwellings or hear joyous laughter coming from the sports field, I am reminded that SRV is not only a school that prepares students for their futures but it is a place where childhood is sacred and celebrated.
I welcome you to visit our campus, experience our unique approach to education, and see the joy of learning that exists within each of our students. I would be delighted and proud to show you around and hope that you will choose this exceptional school for your family.
– Rod Stanton, Head of School
Septa Line – Moylan-Rose Valley Station
4 Manchester Road
Media, PA 19063
Tel: (610) 566-8436
This station is served by:
Media/Elwyn Line Regional Rail
Regional Rail Zone 3
Ticket Office hours:
5:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. | Monday through Friday
Closed | Saturday
Closed | Sunday
Dining Under The Stars in Media
Great Shopping, Fine Dining, Live Entertainment
Here you’ll find an artful blend of new and traditional, eclectic and sophisticated, international and plain old down-home goodness. Steeped in the history of Delaware County, Media has become the life and heart of the region drawing expanded growth from its unique mixture of authentic and contemporary attitudes.
Our diverse retail center filled with fine dining from across the globe makes Media the perfect place to experience shopping the way it was meant to be. From street festivals to live music to performance theater to poetry readings, State Street is a constant entertainment venue for young and old. Walk the length of town in an evening, chat with new friends, and leave your cares behind.
The Borough of Media
Media Borough is the County Seat of Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Located 12 miles (19 km) west of Philadelphia, Media was incorporated in 1850 when the court records were moved from Chester. From that point on, Media has been developed as a planned community with an infrastructure to support growth and commerce for years to come. Its active shopping districts, quiet residential streets, numerous civic and religious institutions, and convenient transportation facilities are all within easy walking distance of each other.
Greater Media Area
The Media Area is a geographical area surrounding and containing the Media Borough in Delaware County. While the town of Media is rather small in comparison to its surrounding area, many residents consider Media their home due to this town-center feeling.
As the largest and most active town within a 5 mile radius, Media draws more than one-quarter million people from its surrounding townships. With weekday activity at the County Court House, Media brings in over 300,000 visitors and employees during normal business hours.
Media’s strength has always come from the diversity and inclusiveness of its populace. Residents proudly call Media “Everybody’s Hometown.” This is much more than a slogan – it describes a very real state of mind. From all walks of life, religion, race, ethnic background, Media is inclusively open for everyone to call home.
Rooted in the Quaker tradition, area residents live by their actions and acknowledge each other with respect and kindness. A smile, a “Hello” on the street, a helping hand, a real community spirit is found in Media every day.
A Walking Community
Convenience brings visitors and residents downtown to shop and eat. Availability of public transportation allows people to take the train to work, catch the trolley for a quick ride, or pick up that last minute ingredient for dinner. Measuring only 0.8 square miles, Media’s proximity to everything makes it the ideal town for families and thriving businesses alike. Walk to several parks, area schools and playgrounds, houses of worship, community centers, and entertainment venues along State Street and you’re there in minutes.