Chester County History Center Adds New Heritage Task Force: ‘Every Corner of This County Has a Story to Tell’

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nonprofit history preservation
Image via Chester County History Center.
Conor Hepp.

The Chester County History Center has formed a new Heritage Task Force to extend its mission of interpreting the region’s history.

The Heritage Task Force will lead ongoing efforts to strengthen a county-wide network of historic places that collectively preserve and share the extraordinary history of Chester County. The Heritage Task Force will also serve as a partner to the Chester County Planning Commission and the Chester County Historic Preservation Network.

Conor Hepp, president of the Chester County History Center, noted how the Heritage Task Force will bring to life the many stories of our rich past.

“It will encourage all residents to discover and take pride in how much history is preserved throughout the county and continues to shape who we are today,” said Hepp.

The formation of the Heritage Task Force grew out of a growing need to identify and support the financial and interpretive needs of the nonprofit, history-based organizations that provide residents and tourists with tangible and authentic connections to the county’s past. Preserving historic resources and landscapes is a key goal of Landscapes3, the visionary document that projects the county’s future.

In February 2020, nearly 100 people gathered at the Marshalton Inn to consider the needs of the county’s historic places. The enthusiasm and commitment to the process was sidelined by the arrival of COVID just a few weeks later. Nonetheless, a core group continued to meet and develop strategies for moving forward.

The Heritage Task Force took on the mission of serving as the “connective tissue” among the Chester County History Center, the Chester County Planning Commission, and the Chester County Historic Preservation Network — all of which are committed to the common goals of preserving, interpreting, marketing, and connecting the county’s history-based sites.

“Every corner of this county has a story to tell,” said Beverly Sheppard, Chair of the Heritage Task Force. “Stories can be found along trails and pathways, in the changing landscape, the numerous homes that date to our earliest days and contrast with our newest developments. This region has an exceptional number of early structures, including homes and barns, mills, churches and meetinghouses, and even simple crossroads. We are fortunate that so much has been preserved, but now it is essential that these touchstones to the past remain stable, accessible, and meaningful for the stories they tell.”

The work of the Heritage Task Force will also be critical in preparing the county for the nation’s 250th anniversary in 2026. Planners envision the county becoming a major tourist destination, inviting travelers to experience many of the places that were essential to the nation’s founding and its continuing spirit of democracy.

Learn more about the Chester County History Center.

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