State & Union Streets - northwest corner

Kennett Square Village 1750-1840s

State & Union Streets - northwest corner

Kennett Square, Pennsylvania 19348, United States

Created By: Kennett Heritage Center


Before European settlers came to this region it was populated by the Lenni-Lenape Indians. The name Kennett originates with Francis Smith who came here in 1686. He was a native of Wiltshire, England, in which there is a village called Kennet. In the 17th and 18th centuries Kennett was a small crossroads village where the road from Chester to Nottingham (State Street) intersects the road leading from Lancaster to Wilmington (Union Street).

In 1764, Joseph Musgrave purchased 87.5 acres on the north side of present-day State Street. The next year he petitioned the Court for a license to operate a “public house of Entertainment” in Kennett Square. This was the first time the village was referred to as Kennett Square. In his petition he refers to “a commodious stone house…with stabling, pasturage and meadow for carrying on business in a reputable way.” The license was granted in 1765, and the Public House became known as the Unicorn Inn.

On September 10, 1777, the village was overtaken by 8,000 Crown Forces led by Generals Howe and Cornwallis who made the Unicorn their headquarters. The British soldiers bivouacked along the 1720 road (route 82) overnight while Generals Howe, Cornwallis and Knyphausen finalized marching plans to battle General Washington and the Continental Army at Brandywine Creek the next day. (see historic marker at the Kennett Heritage Center, site 1)

The old Unicorn burned in 1875. The present building was built in 1877 by Theophilus Sickels.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Kennett Square Village 1750-1840s


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