Log House Has Witnessed Three Centuries of Downingtown

The Downingtown Log House has seen a lot of life — and a lot of progress in the borough — from its beginnings in the early 1700s to today. (Image via Chester County Planning Committee)

It was a popular spot back in the early 1700s, and it’s still a popular destination today.

In between, the Downingtown Log House has seen more than 300 years of local life and enduring traditions.

The persistent efforts of Downingtown’s founding families and local leaders have preserved the Log House as a hub for future generations to learn about the past, appreciate those who made the borough what it is today, and cherish the jolly old man who brings hope for tomorrow, according to a Chester County Press report by Natalie Smith.

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The Log House began as a neighbor to Thomas Moore’s Brandywine Creek grist mill, grew as the last stop on the Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike, and thrived as a tavern, trading post, and maybe even a motel before housing the Downing family and then serving as a rental property.

It was given to the borough in 1940, restored in 1947, and outfitted for the Downingtown Chamber of Commerce from 1950 to 1988, ultimately relocated away from Lancaster Avenue and rededicated in 1990.

And throughout the years, Santa Claus has brought people back to the place that has seen more of Downingtown’s history than anywhere else.

“I give much credit to the longtime and past members of the Downingtown Area Historical Society for raising the funds to have the house restored and moved and put on a basement, raising it above the street level,” said Downingtown Historic Commission Member Ginny Pierce, “as well as the borough and all the private donors who saw fit to donate toward the restoration. Without that project, I do not think the house would be standing today.”

Read more about the Log House, which is open the first Sunday each month between April and November, along with Santa’s visit the first Saturday each December, in the Chester County Press here.

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