Exton, PA through the ages from above

I was digging around on West Chester Jim‘s history site recently and stumbled on a link for the Pennsylvania Geological Survey’s site for historical aerial photography of Pennsylvania.

In 1937, this is what the crossroads in Exton looked like:

Aerial Photo of Exton, PA (Chester County) in 1937

Aerial Photo of Exton, PA (Chester County) in 1937

Mostly farm fields and woods. Here’s the same photo zoomed in on the crossroads of Routes 100 and 30 (the Lincoln Highway).

Exton, PA Crossroads in 1937

Exton, PA Crossroads in 1937

Next I overlayed the same shot with a shot from 1971.

Exton, PA 1971

Exton, PA 1971

The Exton Square Mall had not yet been developed but the Exton Drive-In is there (can you find it?). Plenty of housing and commercial development are starting to show their marks on the West Whiteland landscape.

Exton, PA Crossroads 1971 - Routes 100 & 30

Exton, PA Crossroads 1971 - Routes 100 & 30

The photo below is a shot of The Guernsey Cow around 1974 or 75 after The Exton Square Mall was put in and the K-Mart and Exton Cinema were under construction. My grandfather had this in his office and my older brother has it on display in his home now.

The Guernsey Cow and Exton, PA Crossroads circa 1974

The Guernsey Cow and Exton, PA Crossroads circa 1974

A close-up below shows The Cow property, Sleepy Hollow Hall (aka The Massey House) and The Guernsey Cow sign across Lancaster Highway.

The Guernsey Cow Property circa 1974

The Guernsey Cow Property circa 1974

And another overlay below using Google Maps shows the level of development in the crossroads today 30 years later.

Exton, PA circa 2007

Exton, PA circa 2007

The Guernsey Cow property below as it is today as the DNBFirst bank.

The Guernsey Cow/ DNBFirst Bank circa 2007

The Guernsey Cow/ DNBFirst Bank circa 2007

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7 thoughts on “Exton, PA through the ages from above

  1. I grew up going to the Cow for ice cream all the time. I remember Willie who made it to the 4th grade with my father and then Larry Polite hired him as a handy man some years later. He always had a great smile and quite a bike that he rode up and down Lincoln Hwy. Does anyone remember what the residential neighborhood at Shoen Road between the Sand Mine and Whitford Road was called in the 50s? I knew a lot of people who lived there and went to Exton School with them. My sister, Barbara McIlvaine Smith, now the PA Legislature from Dist. 156 in West Chester, were arguing..she thinking it didn’t have a name and I remembering it did. Thanks.

  2. Rob McIlvaine – I think I remember you – your family lived out on Rt 30 just west of Exton,if I remember. I went to the Exton (Elementary) School from 1959 through 1965, then North Jr High then Henderson – you may have gone through the Downingtown system, as I believe the dividing line was just a few miles west of the crossroads. I remember running around the Sand Mine with my buddies, Steve Ashbridge, Ted Rogers, and some other kids. There weren’t too many of us. Are you thinking of Buena Vista as the development along Schoen Road?
    My dad built our house from land he brought from my grandfather, along the ridge on Route 100. We lived up on top of the hill, next to the Church Farm property.Out my bedroom window I could see all across the valley, from Immaculata at the east, to where Whitford Road cut through it behind the dairy farms. Behind us were the woods for about a mile, then some fields along where Ship Road came down to Rt 100, across from “Marchwood”. We lived on the hill above what is now Wicks Ski Shop, it used to be a State Police barracks for a few years, and before that, the Lindekes lived there – I knew Jeff Lindeke when we were in Elementary and Jr High.
    I remember Willie very well – we used to see him all the time riding his bike along 30 and also 100 – remember Max’s Farm Market?
    I remember ‘the Cow’ very well – we got ice cream and caramels from there all the time. I even remember throwing up there one time when I pigged out on a bunch of shrimp at my friend Steve’s house and then had a bunch of ice cream. They didn’t mix well. 🙂
    My website has some pictures of the area – http://www.jmhare.com/total_recoil/gallery.htm
    Exton sure has changed – I hadn’t been there for about 15 or so years, but in 2006 I had some work done by an artist north of Eagle, and we made a few trips through the old township. My parents house and all are totally gone, replaced by a condo/townhouse development, and the Church Farm pasture is now just houses….

  3. Thanks James for the information. My sister wrote to say, “you win…” haha….well, I wasn’t after a win, just a piece of my brain’s contents back from days of old, and thanks your your kind words of remembrance, I have it back.

  4. Where does the Exton Diner figure into these shots? I know it was at the intersection of 30 and 100, but where is it in these photos? Any info on when it was built (I’d guess 50’s) and when it was demolished? Thank you!

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