The Fascinating History of Bucks County: From William Penn to the Present

Founded in 1682 by William Penn, Bucks County has a long and illustrious history. Penn named the county after Buckinghamshire, his family's home in England. Pennsbury Manor, Penn's 17th-century colonial summer home, has been reconstructed on the original estate and is open year-round for group visits. The Durham Iron Company was established here in 1727, making iron extraction and production the county's first major industry.

The first permanent settlement in what is now Bucks County was likely built in the 1660s, near the present-day city of Bristol. In 1679, a group of Quakers from western New Jersey established the first town, called Crewcorne, in the Delaware Falls. Crewcorne was destined to become the county's first seat, from 1682 to 1705, but the town has since vanished from the landscape. As one of the three original Pennsylvania counties created shortly after William Penn arrived in his fledgling colony in 1682, Bucks County has a heritage that dates back to the beginning of the Commonwealth.

The settlers quickly transformed Bucks County, which went from being the farthest place from European civilization in the Delaware Valley to a bustling, populated community that discovered that land was abundant and fertile, perfect for agriculture. Bucks County has earned a reputation as a haven for playwrights, actors, composers, and artists, and the Bucks County Playhouse opened its doors on July 1, 1939. In the late 19th century, Bucks County's main industry was still mainly agricultural; however, the area known as Bristol began to thrive with textile and iron factories. There, the Bucks County Playhouse and other facilities have turned the area into a major tourist destination. Located between New York and Philadelphia, Bucks County played an important role in the American Revolution. It preserves large amounts of historical material about Bucks County, including newspapers, county archives, manuscripts, maps, and other sources.

Its highlight was the Battle of Crooked Billet in May 1778, which actually began in Hatboro, Montgomery County but in which the American militia was forced to retreat down Old York Road to Bucks County. Some are beginning to refer to Bucks County as the “Belt of Genius” - a place where New Yorkers tired of big city life escape to find peaceful landscapes at an affordable price. Gently rolling hills, deep well-drained soils and moderate weather combine to make Bucks County one of the top wine regions on the East Coast. The Logan Inn in New Hope is the oldest continuously operating inn in Bucks County and the fifth oldest in the United States. In Upper Bucks it takes over manufacture of cigars making Bucks County third largest producer of “stogies” in Pennsylvania.

The first land purchase from Indians made in July 1682 before owner himself arrived in Pennsylvania took place in Bucks County. The suburban paradise came to Bucks County in 1951 with birth of second “Levittown” (company founded by William Levitt; first was built on Long Island) in lower Bucks County. Bucks County is a place with a rich history that dates back centuries. From William Penn's arrival to its role during the American Revolution to its modern-day status as a tourist destination and wine region - there is much to explore about this fascinating county. With its rolling hills and deep soils providing an ideal environment for agriculture and its proximity to both New York City and Philadelphia making it an attractive destination for those seeking respite from city life - it's no wonder why so many have chosen to call this place home.

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