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Yes You Can Eat Chocolate and Time Travel at the Same Time

It’s delightful to walk around West Chester and look at the wonderful historical buildings. In some sections of town it seems as if nothing has changed. But don’t be deceived, West Chester has and is evolving.

It Was Rumored That the Old Log House Was Haunted...

...but the old couple living there were never bothered by it. The Swedish couple, Olof and Abigail Stromberg spent their lives contentedly in the old weathered frame over log house on South High Street.

When Stromberg’s old house was torn down in 1891, a wonderful article appeared in the Daily Local News on May 18, 1891 giving many details on the history of the house and the shoemaker who lived there.

Southeast Regional National History Day Competition

Saturday, March 21, 2015 - 8:00 am to 7:00 pm

The 26th annual Southeast Regional National History Day competition brings hundred

Junior Division - National History Day Competition

This is the final day of the two day National History Day competition with junior participants (grades 6-8) from schools across Chester and Delaware Counties presenting their research.

Teaching with Primary Resources Workshop

In this one-day workshop, K-12 educators better understand, identify and use primary resources from the digital archives of the Library of Congress in their classrooms. Time is allocated to have teachers identify sources relating to their content areas, practice using various analysis tools and more.

Building Communities through History ~ A State of the Organization Address

Join CCHS President Rob Lukens as he provides an overview of the Chester County Historical Society's current standing and our exciting vision for the future. This half-hour talk will be followed by a Q and A session and social hour. Be the first to receive a copy of CCHS's newly minted 2013 annual report and meet CCHS's new Volunteer President Dr. Jane Brigman.  This free event requires a RSVP by October 10, 2014 to

Volunteers In Action

A team of 10 volunteers worked from July through November 2013 to dress more than 40 mannequins and forms.  CCHS is indebted to them and to the Fashion Archives and Museum of Shippensburg University, who lent many of the mannequins used for the exhibition.

Ready-Made / Handmade

Store bought clothing became the fashion and handmade clothing began to seem outmoded.

Women who could afford high fashion still relied on customized dresses that were one last flourish of over-the-top design and had decorations such as pleats, embroidery and machine-made trim. However, department stores began to replace dressmakers and home sewing for the local middle class with simpler profiles. Undergarments, still worn by women in many layers, became cheaper to buy at stores.

Fashion Plates

Local fashion copied the rapid changes in style.

Dresses evolved from a large, circular skirt to a narrow skirt with a bustle that emphasized the back. With even tighter undergarments, dresses were more complex and remained largely handmade. The tightness also caused health issues that launched a clothing reform movement. Men’s clothing, by contrast, was simple and became the first ready-made clothing available in places like Wanamaker’s, Philadelphia’s first department store.

Before the Civil War

Newly published magazines spread fashion trends widely and Quaker plainness was pronounced.

Godey’s Lady’s Book, first published in Philadelphia in 1830, became an important source for fashionable ideas from Europe, especially for women. Their clothing profiles shifted to billowing sleeves, pleated bodices, and lower, tighter waist bands known as the Romantic Style. For men, decorative and sometimes flashy waistcoats were a personal touch to uniformly simple jackets and breeches.