Media, Pennsylvania

Media, Pennsylvania
Bank building on State Street
Nickname: Everybody's Hometown
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Delaware
Elevation 299 ft (91.1 m)
Coordinates 39°55′08″N 75°23′17″W / 39.91889°N 75.38806°W / 39.91889; -75.38806Coordinates: 39°55′08″N 75°23′17″W / 39.91889°N 75.38806°W / 39.91889; -75.38806
Area 0.8 sq mi (2.1 km2)
 - land 0.8 sq mi (2 km2)
 - water 0.0 sq mi (0 km2)
Population 5,327 (2010)
Density 7,016.3/sq mi (2,709.0/km2)
Incorporated 1850
Mayor Robert A. McMahon
Timezone EST (UTC-5)
 - summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 19063, 19065, 19091
Area code 610 and 484
FIPS code 42-48480
GNIS feature ID 1180858
Location of Media in Delaware County
Location of Media in Pennsylvania
Delaware County Courthouse

The borough of Media is the county seat of Delaware County, Pennsylvania[1] and is located 13 miles (21 km) west of Philadelphia. Media was incorporated in 1850 at the same time that it was named the county seat.[2] The population was 5,327 at the 2010 census,[3] down from 5,533 at the 2000 census. Its school district is the Rose Tree Media School District with Penncrest High School and Springton Lake Middle School. In June 2006, it became the first fair trade town in America.[4]

The history of the area goes back to William Penn, but the area remained predominantly rural until the twentieth century.[5] The Delaware County Institute of Science was founded in Media in 1833, while the Pennsylvania Institute of Technology, a two-year technical college; Williamson College of the Trades , a three-year technical college; and Delaware County Community College, a two-year liberal arts college, are located nearby. Media promotes itself as "Everybody's Hometown".


Land in the area was sold and settled soon after William Penn was named proprietor of the colony of Pennsylvania in 1681 by King Charles II of England. Peter and William Taylor bought the land where Media is now located, directly from Penn.[6] At the time, the land was located in Chester County. Providence Township was organized in 1684, and later divided into Upper Providence and Nether Providence townships by 1690, even though they only had 40 taxable properties at the time.[7][8] The current borough, formed in 1850, sits between the two townships.

In 1683, the Court of Chester County approved the construction of "Providence Great Road" (now Pennsylvania Route 252). The road, which runs north from Chester to within a few blocks of today's downtown, is shown on a 1687 map along with the names of local landowners.[9] It forms the eastern border of the borough.

Thomas Minshall, a Quaker, was an early Media resident, settling just outside the small village then known as "Providence", along the Providence Great Road. The village then included a tailor shop, blacksmith shop, wheelwright shop, barn and other buildings.[10]

Minshall bought 625 acres (253 ha) from William Penn and arrived in 1682. The Providence Friends Meeting was established at his house in February 1688, and a meetinghouse was later built on land he donated for the purpose. The original meetinghouse was built out of logs in 1699 or 1700, and the current building dates to 1814. A house on Minshall's property, built c. 1750, still stands and was given to the citizens of the borough in 1975.[11]

Chester County, Pennsylvania was divided in 1789, the eastern portion becoming Delaware County, Pennsylvania. The area in the center of the new county remained rural through 1850. On March 11, 1850, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by Special Act of Assembly incorporated the Borough of Media, and made the sale of malt and spirituous liquors unlawful within its borders. At the same time, the county seat of Delaware County was moved to Media from Chester. The borough was formed from four farms purchased by the county, totaling only 480 acres (190 ha). The borders of the borough have not changed since that time.[12]

Keystone Marker from the 1920s gives one version of the origin of the town's name

Streets were plotted in a rectangular grid around the location of the new courthouse, lots were sold at public auctions, and the construction of houses began. Sources agree that Minshall Painter, a descendant of Thomas Minshall, suggested the name "Media", but do not agree on the reason. The name most likely comes from the borough's central location in Delaware County.[13]

The John J. Tyler Arboretum occupies part of Thomas Minshall's original 625 acres (253 ha). This farm was used by the Underground Railroad.[14] The land was donated to a public trust in 1944 by an eighth-generation descendant. The arboretum was started as a private collection by brothers Jacob and Minshall Painter. In 1825, they began systematically planting over 1,000 varieties of trees and shrubs. Over 20 of their original trees survive, including a giant sequoia.[15]

Thomas Minshall house

Minshall Painter was also a leader of the Delaware County Institute of Science, which was formed on September 21, 1833, with just four other members: George Miller, John Miller, George Smith, M.D., and John Cassin. The institute was incorporated in 1836. About 1850, Painter gave the institute the land where its building currently stands at 11 Veterans Square, and the building was constructed in 1867.[16]

In the second half of the 19th century, Media was a summer resort for well-to-do Philadelphians. The borough's large vacation hotels included the Idlewild Hotel (1871) on Lincoln Street at Gayley Terrace, Chestnut Grove House or "The Colonial" (1860) on Orange Street, and Brooke Hall on Lemon Street and Washington Avenue (now Baltimore Avenue). The Chestnut Grove was used for a year by nearby Swarthmore College due to a fire on its campus.[17]

The West Chester and Philadelphia Railroad was built through Media on October 19, 1854. Electrified service was opened on December 2, 1928. Up to 50 trains passed through each day. The railroad became part of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad and eventually the Penn Central. SEPTA took over operations in 1983. Woodrow Wilson spoke at the Media Station in 1912 during his first election campaign. Trolley transportation lines spread to and through Media in the 1890s and early 1900s.[18][19]

The Media Theatre for the Performing Arts

The Media Theatre opened as a vaudeville house in 1927.[20] The first 'talkie' film, The Jazz Singer, was shown there. It remained a popular cinema through the 1970s and 1980s. In 1994, the theater underwent a $1 million restoration by Walter Strine Sr. and re-opened as the 'Media Theatre for the Performing Arts'.[21] Shows produced there have included The Full Monty, Carousel and Miss Saigon.

On March 8, 1971, the Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI raided an FBI "resident agency" in Media. They later released thousands of documents to major newspapers around the country. These documents revealed FBI tactics, like the recruitment of Boy Scouts as informants, and confirmed for the first time the existence of COINTELPRO, an FBI program to "expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize" dissident groups in the United States.[22]

In June 2006, Media became the first town in the United States to follow over 300 towns in Europe in attaining fair trade certification. To meet the criteria for certification, Media passed a council resolution in support of fair trade, served fair-trade coffee and tea in local government meetings and offices, ensured that a range of fair-trade products were available in local restaurants and businesses, raised popular support and provided media coverage for the fair-trade campaign, and convened a fair-trade steering committee to ensure continued commitment.[23]

External video
Media, PA - Walking Tour, by Wanda Kaluza
Media, PA CoyopaFilms

Local historic districts

Three locally recognized historic districts were designated by the borough in 1975.[24] These districts are


Risley House
Media Friends Meeting

There are several parks located within the borough of Media and shared with surrounding communities.[34]

Sky line

The sky line of Media is visible best while traveling west on Baltimore Pike from Manchester Avenue. It consists mainly of a condo building on Jefferson Street, the former Nativity BVM Catholic school on Franklin Street, the steeple of Nativity BVM Roman Catholic Church, and the gold-domed steeple of Media Presbyterian Church.

Surrounding area

The borough of Media covers only 0.8 sq mi (2.1 km2) and less than 6,000 residents, but the Media ZIP code 19063 covers 23.08 sq mi (59.8 km2) and a population of 35,704.[36] The term "Media" is often used to include not only the borough of Media, but other municipalities but that share the ZIP code.

According to the United States Postal Service, the following addresses are acceptable for use within the 19063 ZIP code: Elwyn, Garden City, Glen Riddle, and Rose Valley.[37] Other areas at least partially within the zip code include Upper Providence Township; Nether Providence Township, the neighborhoods of South Media, Bowling Green, Pine Ridge and Ridgewood; and most of Middletown Township, including, Bortondale, Riddlewood, and Lima.[38]

Geography and climate

Media, Pennsylvania
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: The Weather Channel[39]

Media is located in central Delaware County at 39°55′8″N 75°23′17″W / 39.91889°N 75.38806°W / 39.91889; -75.38806 (39.918761, -75.388127).[40]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 0.77 square miles (2.0 km2), of which 0.004 square miles (0.01 km2), or 0.42%, is water.[3] Media is situated on high ground (250 to 350 feet (76 to 107 m) above sea level) draining west to Ridley Creek, a south-flowing tributary of the Delaware River.


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 20155,363[41]0.7%

As of the census[43] of 2000, there were 5,533 people, 2,782 households, and 1,112 families residing in the borough. The population density was 7,399.0 people per square mile (2,848.4/km²). There were 2,966 housing units at an average density of 3,966.3 per square mile (1,526.9/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 81.02% White, 14.22% African American, 0.14% Native American, 2.01% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.65% from other races, and 1.93% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.88% of the population.

There were 2,782 households, out of which 14.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 27.2% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 60.0% were non-families. 49.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.85 and the average family size was 2.73.

In the borough the population was spread out, with 13.7% under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 34.3% from 25 to 44, 23.0% from 45 to 64, and 20.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 83.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.9 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $42,703, and the median income for a family was $58,065. Males had a median income of $42,121 versus $31,904 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $28,188. About 6.1% of families and 7.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.7% of those under age 18 and 11.2% of those age 65 or over.

The population in 1900 consisted of 3,075 people, whose numbers grew to 3,562 in 1910, and to 5,351 in 1940.


The borough of Media is run by a mayor and an elected borough council. Their main responsibility is to ensure the safety and livelihood of the residents of Media. Mayor Bob McMahon was first elected in 1992; Brian C. Hall serves as President and Paul Robinson is Media's Vice-President.[45]

Current Borough Council members are Kevin Boyer, Kent Davidson, Sayre Dixon, Amy Johnson and Lisa Johnson.[45]


Media is home to many churches, including Cambell A.M.E, Christ Church (Episcopalian), First Baptist, First United Methodist, Media Presbyterian, Nativity B.V.M. (Roman Catholic), St. George (Greek Orthodox), the Unitarian Universalist Church of Delaware County, and two Quaker meetinghouses, Media Friends Meeting and Providence Friends Meeting.[46] Congregation Beth Israel, a Reconstructionist synagogue formed in 1925, is west of town in Middletown Township and is the oldest Re-constructionist congregation in the Delaware Valley.[47]


Media is connected to Upper Darby Township by the 101 trolley. The trolley terminates just after the Delaware County Courthouse, at a station known as Orange Street. Media also has a stop on the Media/Elwyn Regional Rail Line at the corner of Orange Street and Station Road.

U.S. 1 formerly ran through the borough until the "Media bypass" was completed in 1960.[48] The bypass has an unusual "volleyball" or three-level diamond interchange with Interstate 476. The former Route 1 through the center of Media is known by its older name, Baltimore Avenue, changing to "Baltimore Pike" outside the borough limits.[49]

Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), the 11th busiest airport in the world in 2007, is 11 miles (18 km) driving distance (about 15 minutes) from downtown Media, following Baltimore Pike east, then Interstate 476 south and Interstate 95 northeast.[50][51]

Media train station

Main article: Media (SEPTA station)

Notable People

Ida Saxton McKinley
Graceanna Lewis
Philip Jaisohn


Providence Road (center of map) from Thomas Holme's 1687 map of Pennsylvania. Present day Media is located within the plots marked "P.Taylor" and "W.Taylor."
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  2. Ashmead, Henry Graham (1884). History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: L. H. Everts & Co. Chapters XVI and XLVI. Retrieved 2007-09-30.
  3. 1 2 "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Media borough, Pennsylvania". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  4. First Free Trade Town
  5. "A Brief History of Media: 1900 to 1950". Community. Borough of Media. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  6. Media: A Walking Tour, published by the Borough of Media, 1990
  7. History of Delaware County
  8. Nether Providence Through the Years (Delaware County Historical Society)
  9. The City of Philadelphia Two Miles in Length and One in Breadth (Lower Merion Historical Society)
  10. "History". Media Historical Society. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  11. Minshall House
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  14. Loretta Rodgers, "The Trackless Train: Tracking Delco's Role in the Underground Railroad" (Feb. 27, 1989), Delaware County Daily Times
  15. Tyler Arboretum History
  16. "History". Delaware County Institute of Science. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  17. "1881 Parrish Hall Burns". Swarthmore Sesquicentennial. Swarthmore College. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
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  19. "A Brief History of Media: 1900 to 1950". Media Borough. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  20. The Media Theatre for the Performing Arts - History
  21. "Restoration of an important landmark". Media Borough. 2016.
  22. Medsger, Betty (January 2014). The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover's Secret FBI. Random House. p. 592. ISBN 9780307962966.
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  25. Lefevre, Michel (2007). "Historic District Designation in Pennsylvania" (PDF). Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Harrisburg, PA: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. p. 30. Retrieved July 27, 2016.
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  41. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
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  45. 1 2 Media Borough Council Members
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