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Coatesville, Pennsylvania

City of Coatesville
Main Office of Lukens Steel
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Chester
Elevation 331 ft (100.9 m)
Area 1.9 sq mi (4.9 km2)
 - land 1.9 sq mi (5 km2)
 - water 0.0 sq mi (0 km2), 0%
Population 13,100 (2010)
Density 6,894.7 / sq mi (2,662.1 / km2)
Incorporated 1915
Timezone EST (UTC-5)
 - summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Postal code 19320
Area code 610
Location of Coatesville in Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the United States

Coatesville is a city in Chester County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 13,100 at the 2010 census. Coatesville is approximately 39 miles west of Philadelphia.

Coatesville grew up around the Lukens Steel Company. Lukens was bought by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in 1997. In 2002, Bethlehem was bought by the then Ohio-based International Steel Group (ISG). Later, Mittal Steel bought ISG and then merged with Arcelor Steel to form the ArcelorMittal company.


  • History 1
    • Beginnings 1.1
    • 19th century 1.2
    • 20th century 1.3
    • 21st century 1.4
  • Geography 2
    • Climate 2.1
  • Demographics 3
  • Transportation 4
  • Notable people 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7



The first known settlement in the area which would be known as Coatesville was a Native American village built along the West Branch of the Brandywine River. This settlement was a post for fur trading with the earliest American settlers. The Brandywine River features prominently in the history of Coatesville.

William Fleming, originally from Scotland, is one of the earliest landowners on record. He built a log cabin in the area of Harmony Street and 5th Avenue and owned about 207 acres (0.84 km2) of land bordering the Brandywine River.[1]

Moses Coates, a prosperous farmer and the namesake of Coatesville, bought the Fleming house from Fleming's son in 1787. Moses Coates' son-in-law, Jesse Kersey, came up with a plan to develop the area by selling frontage on the recently completed Lancaster Turnpike which crossed through their land. The Lancaster Turnpike was the first toll road in the U.S., authorized in 1792 and completed in 1795. There was a tollgate located within the present day Coatesville city limits.[2] Coatesville became a popular stopping point since it was located roughly halfway between Philadelphia and Lancaster on the Turnpike.

Another of the earliest settlers in the Coatesville region was Pierre Bizallion. He was a French fur trader who settled in the area in the early 18th century, and was said to have been an interpreter between William Penn and the Native Americans.[3] The Veterans Administration Hospital now sits on a piece of the roughly 500 acres (2.0 km2) of land that was once owned by Bizallion.

19th century

Before Coatesville became the only city in Chester County, it was a town called Bridge-Town, because of the two bridges that were used to cross the Brandywine River. A village named "Midway", named after its station owned by the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad midway between Philadelphia and Lancaster, was also formed in 1834[2] on the western bank of the Brandywine. The village of Midway and the village of Bridge-Town merged to become the borough of Coatesville in 1867. Coatesville citizens voted to become a city in 1915.

Coatesville was able to capitalize on the natural energy available due to the Brandywine River running through the area. Jesse Kersey, Moses Coates' son-in-law, partnered with the ironmaster Isaac Pennock and purchased over 110 acres (0.45 km2) of Moses Coates' farm along both sides of the Brandywine River in 1810. The resulting company was named the Brandywine Iron Works and Nail Factory, the forerunner of Lukens Steel. Charles Lukens, MD, married Isaac Pennock's daughter Rebecca in 1813. Following her husband's death in 1825, Rebecca Lukens took over the operations of the mill, purchasing it from her mother and seeing it through turmoil and market panic into a prosperous mill. Rebecca was one of the first female operators of a major corporation in America.[4]

20th century

As Lukens Steel grew so did Coatesville, eventually becoming known as the "Pittsburgh of the East."[1] By the beginning of the 20th century the population had grown to 6,000. Along with the growth, the school system expanded as well as the religious community. In 1932 Coatesville was the home to 22 churches and one of Chester County's few synagogues, Beth Israel Congregation. Lukens Steel was the largest employer in Chester County in the 1960s, with over 10,000 workers. After World War II the steel industry began a long decline and Lukens Steel was eventually sold again and again, forcing workplace reductions to 5,000 and eventually to 2,000.[1]

In 1911, the lynching in Coatesville of Zachariah Walker, a black man who allegedly killed a white mill policeman Edgar Rice, prompted the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to investigate and called for an end to lynching nationwide. Walker was dragged from a hospital, still chained to his bedstead, and burned to death in front of hundreds of Coatesville citizens in a field south of the city. When Walker staggered from the pyre, a mass of flames, with rakes and pitchforks the citizens of Coatesville shoved him back in. The lynching was the last in Pennsylvania and is said to have left a permanent stain on the city's image.[1]

21st century

Episcopal Church of the Trinity, 323 East Lincoln Highway

Coatesville recently began an ambitious redevelopment project which include tearing down abandoned and dangerous public housing, building new single family and townhouse developments, a regional recreation center, and most recently, mixed use projects that would include retail, office, and condominium housing, as well as the renovation of the local Amtrak station which has fallen into disrepair. A new Marriott hotel built along Route 82 on the outskirts of Coatesville opened May 2012.[5]

The redevelopment plans have not been without controversy,[6] including a five-year eminent domain dispute with a local landowner in neighboring Valley Township. It has been resolved without the need to seize the property, but it caused the ouster of four incumbent city councilpersons in the November 2005 general elections. The four new councilpersons, two of whom are ordained Pentecostal and Methodist ministers, caused further controversy with the firing of the city solicitor, the resignation of the city manager (who negotiated with the Valley Township landowner), and the departure of the assistant manager, police chief, and city treasurer.

A series of arsons took place in the city from 2007 to early 2009.[7] A December 2008 fire at a Strode Avenue home resulted in the death of 83-year-old World War II Holocaust survivor Irene Kempest. Another fire the following month on the 300 block of Fleetwood Street burned 17 row houses, causing $2 million in damage and leaving dozens homeless. By March 2009, police had arrested six suspects in the fires. On June 8, 2010 one man, pleading no-contest due to mental illness, was sentenced to a 60-year prison sentence for five of the fires, one of which resulted in Kempest's death.[8] Another, who plead guilty to the Fleetwood Street fire and eight others, received a sentence of 12.5 to 25 years with order to pay $2.5 million in restitution.[9] Twenty of the nearly 70 fires over the two-year span remain unsolved.[8]

In 1969 Lukens Steel forged steel beams for the World Trade Center in New York City.[10] Some of these beams, known as "trees", remained standing after the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks. Ten of the "trees" that remained were transported back to Coatesville on April 15, 2010, and are slated to be a part of the proposed National Iron and Steel Heritage Museum.[10]

The Coatesville Historic District, Clement Atkinson Memorial Hospital, High Bridge, Abram Huston House and Carriage House, Lukens Historic District, Lukens Main Office Building, National Bank of Coatesville Building, and Terracina are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[11]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.9 square miles (4.9 km2), of which 0.53% is water.


Coatesville, Pennsylvania's weather changes. One day there is mild weather, and the next day there is calm weather. You never know in South Eastern Pennsylvania! Look at the bottom numbers for weather in Fahrenheit. In Celsius, look at the top numbers. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Coatesville has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[12]

Climate data for Coatesville, Pennsylvania
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 11
Average low °C (°F) 9
Average precipitation mm (inches) 91
Source: Weatherbase [13]


The 2010 United States Census[16] stated there were 13,100 people, 4,498 households, and 2,889 families residing in the city, with a population density of 6,894.7 people per square mile (2,673.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 38.0% White, 46.4% African American, 0.5% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 8.9% from other races, and 5.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 23.0% of the population.

There were 4,498 households out of which 36.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 28.3% were married couples living together, 27.7% had a female householder with no spouse present, 8.2% had a male householder with no spouse present, and 35.8% were non-families. 42.4% of all households had individuals under 18 living in them and 19.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.86 and the average family size was 3.46.

In the city the population was spread out with 30.4% under the age of 18. The median age was 31 years. The population was 50.6% female and 49.4% male.

Coatesville had 4,998 housing units, of which 90.2% were occupied. Of the occupied housing units, 37.5% were owner-occupied.

In 2000, the median income for a household in the city was $29,912, and the median income for a family was $36,375. Males had a median income of $31,782 versus $24,774 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,079. About 18.3% of families and 22.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.9% of those under age 18 and 15.9% of those age 65 or over.


The main east-west road serving Coatesville is US 30, which bypasses the city to the north on a freeway and provides access to Lancaster to the west and Philadelphia to the east. US 30 Business runs east-west through the heart of the city on Lincoln Highway. PA 82 is the main north-south road in Coatesville, running along Strode Avenue, Lincoln Highway, and North 1st Avenue, and heading north to Elverson and south to Kennett Square. PA 340 passes to the north of the city while PA 372 begins at PA 82 in Coatesville and heads west on Valley Road to Parkesburg and Atglen.[17]

A general aviation airport, Chester County G. O. Carlson Airport, which allows private and corporate aircraft to easily access the town, is located about 3 miles (4.8 km) west in neighboring Valley Township. The nearest airport with commercial air service is the Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia.

Coatesville is served by the Coatesville Amtrak Station, which serves Keystone Service trains along the Keystone Corridor.[18] Until 1997, the station also served SEPTA's R5 regional rail line from Philadelphia.

Two bus services serve Coatesville. The Transportation Management Association of Chester County's Coatesville Link serves multiple points of interest between Coatesville and Parkesburg while Krapf's Transit's Route A connects Coatesville with Downingtown, Exton, and West Chester.[18]

Notable people


  1. ^ a b c d Mowday, Bruce Edward. Images of America: Coatesville. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2003. pp 7-8. ISBN 0-7385-1198-6.
  2. ^ a b City of Coatesville website
  3. ^ Chester Co PA; Caln; 1881 HISTORY
  4. ^ National Steel Heritage Museum
  5. ^ Smith, Eric S. (May 5, 2012). "Marriott Courtyard opens in Coatesville". Daily Local News (Chester Co., PA). Retrieved 2012-04-12. 
  6. ^ Authority, council seek to close rift -
  7. ^ Thomas, Pierre; Date, Jack; Cook, Theresa (2009-02-19), "2 Arrests in Devastating Pa. House Fires",  
  8. ^ a b Brady Shea, Kathleen (2010-06-08), "Coatesville arsonist sentenced to 60 years",  
  9. ^ Rellahan, Michael P. (September 18, 2010). "Serial arsonist pleads guilty". Daily Local News (Chester Co., PA). Retrieved 2011-09-04. 
  10. ^ a b "World Trade Center Steel Beams Returning Home".  
  11. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  12. ^ Climate Summary for Coatesville, Pennsylvania
  13. ^ "". Weatherbase. 2013.  Retrieved on October 24, 2013.
  14. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  16. ^ U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-9-6.
  17. ^ Chester County, Pennsylvania (Map) (17th ed.). 1"=2000'.  
  18. ^ a b Public Transportation Serving Chester County (PDF) (Map). Transportation Management Association of Chester County. 2012. Retrieved December 22, 2014. 

External links

  • City of Coatesville official website
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