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Swarthmore Borough Walking Tour of Swarthmore borough

Click here to begin interactive walking tour or visit the Friends Historical Library to pick up a paper brochure version

The walking tour can be picked up at any point along the way, but two of the best points of origin are the Swarthmore Business District, which has parking and restaurants, and the College Campus, with parking in the Benjamin West lot on Chester Road and snack bars on campus. Also of particular interest is the Scott Arboretum which encompasses the whole of the College campus and the Crum Woods. Walking tours of the Arboretum are available at their Office and in the College Visitor Center in the Benjamin West House.

History in Brief

The Borough of Swarthmore was incorporated on March 6, 1893, set off from a section of Springfield Township. The impetus for its growth from a rural hamlet into a thriving community came from the founding of Swarthmore College in 1864 by a committee of representatives from three Hicksite Quaker Yearly Meetings, Philadelphia, New York and Baltimore. Co-educational from its inception, it lies on over 300 acres of rolling wooded land along Crum Creek. Access to good roads and public transportation encouraged the development of a residential and business community. Swarthmore was developed in sections, beginning with the College and the West Hill Land Company Tract north of the campus. Other late 19th and early 20th century subdivisions soon followed. The College ended its official ties to the Society of Friends soon after the turn of the 20th century, but its Quaker founding and a strong Quaker community continued to influence the Borough in the choice of architectural styles and architects. The result is a "green college town," with a beautiful campus in an arboretum setting and adjacent residential development that reflects a range of architectural styles from 18th century farmhouses, Victorian and early 20th century revival styles, to recent compatible development.