Chester City | Olde English District

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Chester City

Chester  (c.1840; 3.2 sq. miles; population: 6,040).

Square in Downtown ChesterThe city abounds with historic and architecturally significant buildings. The city's Historical District encompasses 250 acres and boasts of some 475 properties, including the downtown area, or "Hill District." Chester's distinctive hill features many handsome structures in a number of different architectural styles with their original Victorian-era facades still standing.

The downtown area of this county seat has come through some hardships, including four major fires and a disastrous tornado in 1884. The post World War II economic boom and the growth in suburbia probably had the most negative effect on downtown, though. For about 20 years (from the late 1960s until the 1980s) a number of downtown buildings became vacant and fell into a state of disrepair, due largely to the growth in popularity of air-conditioned malls and other shopping centers.  A significant downtown improvement project was the city-sponsored streetscape project of 1996. As part of this project, utility lines were buried, street and sidewalks were paved, decorative streetlights were added, the traffic pattern was re-routed, and a new park area was completed. This park area is called Monument Square and features a Confederate monument, a Civil War cannon, the Aaron Burr Rock and a 19th century cistern.

HILLarity festivalThe Chester County Historical Museum, and the Transportation Museum are must sees for every visitor. The downtown continues to be a popular spot for community events, such as HILLarity, the Festival on the Hill (held the 3rd Saturday in October each year) and the Hog on the Hill BBQ Cookoff.  The CBS mini-series Chiefs, starring Charlton Heston was filmed in Chester in 1983.

About an hour south of Charlotte, North Carolina via I-77, Chester offers small town living in close proximity to big city life.