Released: August 9, 2023
Delaware County Council Vice Chair Elaine Paul Schaefer, Delaware County Councilwoman Christine Reuther, and Delaware County Planning Department Director Gina Burritt were honored to join Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon, members of the Friends of 1724 Chester Courthouse including historian Carol Fireng, and various elected officials at the 1724 Chester Courthouse to announce that the County has been awarded a National Park Service grant in the amount of $522,872 for rehabilitation of the historic structure.
Located less than a block from the current Chester City Hall, the 1724 Chester Courthouse is the oldest continuously occupied building in public use in the country and has served as the County Courthouse for Delaware County and Chester County, as well as the City Hall for Chester City. The two-and-a-half story Georgian Colonial-style building has long served as a point of pride for Chester, where early American concepts of justice, equity, and freedom were created.
“This work will preserve the historical and architectural significance of this nationally important building in time for upcoming milestones including the 300th Anniversary of the Courthouse next year and America's 250th Birthday Celebration in 2026,” said Delaware County Council Vice Chair Elaine Paul Schaeffer. “After the rehabilitation, the Courthouse will be open as a historic site and museum for visitors and we are thrilled that future generations will be able to visit this incredible piece of history we have here in Delco!”
In 2021, Delaware County leased the property from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to take a more active role in the preservation of the structure and began the process of obtaining grants.
“The 1724 Chester Courthouse is truly a highlight of the rich history in Delaware County and it is important to Council that we work to preserve it and have the opportunity to restore it and create a historical attraction for our community,” said Delaware County Councilwoman Christine Reuther.
Funding for the National Park Service grant was made available through the Historic Preservation Fund’s Semiquincentennial Grant Program, created by Congress in 2020 to support a wide variety of historic preservation projects to help preserve the nation’s cultural resources.
“The spirit of Delaware County is reflected in its historic cultural gems like the 1724 Chester Courthouse,” said Congresswoman Scanlon. “Thanks to this new funding from the National Park Service’s Semiquincentennial Grant Program, our community has the exciting opportunity to put the courthouse back together in a way that keeps the building in public use and ensures future generations of Pennsylvanians can reap the cultural, educational, civic, and economic benefits.”
The 1724 Chester Courthouse is one of 20 projects across the country that is a recipient of this year’s round of funding.
Grant funds will be used for the restoration of the exterior stonework, second floor windows, and interior second floor walls and floors, updates to existing building systems and bathrooms, and the installation of a kitchenette. Following renovations, the building will be fully open to the public, with the Courthouse to open as a historic site and museum for visitors.
Delaware County Council thanks the Delaware County Planning Department, the Department of Human Services, the Public Works Department, and the Delaware County Commerce Center for their role in securing this critical grant.
Delaware County Council also commends the National Park Service and the Friends of the 1724 Chester Courthouse who will be working with the County on programming and fundraising for the Courthouse. The Friends of the Courthouse include the Delaware County Planning Department, the Chester Historical Preservation Committee, the Bar Association, the Delaware County Heritage Commission, the Delaware County Historical Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, Chester City and Chester Upland School District officials and interested residents.