History of Our Community
Early History of Our Community
The property on which our community sits was once known as “Whitford Farm”. Situated on a 23+ acre tract was an original stone house and a stone/frame stable. The house, called “Woodledge”, and the stable were built in 1935. Woodledge was noted as West Whiteland’s most carefully crafted example of the Colonial Revival style of architecture, with great attention given to “painstaking craftsmanship and attention to detail.”
This custom home was built by West Chester architect Ralph P. Minich who was born in Florida and graduated from Drexel Institute in Philadelphia. Minich also studied at University of Pennsylvania and Colombia University. Other buildings in West Chester also credited to Minich include the Slach Auto Building, Thomas B. Smith House, John Thorpe residence and the Baptist Church and parsonage.
The original owner of “Woodledge” was Parkton L. Plank, a prominent industrialist in Downingtown, who commissioned the house. Born in Lancaster County, Plank established Downingtown Iron Works, a company that employed 285 people in the fabrication of steel plate and production of pressure tanks and rendering equipment. Plank’s success led him to long involvement in local civic groups such as Downingtown Businessmen’s Club, Rotary Club and West Whiteland School Board. Plank retired in 1952 and died at Woodledge in 1960.
Names in Our Community
Woodledge Lane is named after the original stone farmhouse, ‘Woodledge’, located at 525 West Lincoln Highway, which was built in 1935 and is still located within our community. On July 28, 1988, this house, built in the Colonial Revival style, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Downing Court probably takes its name from the “Hunt Downing House” which is located at 600 West Lincoln Highway. This old block constructed house is hidden behind the trees near the Enterprise Car Rental on the left side of Rt. 30 going west. Hunt Downing House, also known as Arrandale, was built about 1810, with a kitchen wing, and a library addition built in 1946. The house is designed in the late Federal style and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. The building is now listed as a ‘condo’, with a portion selling as recently as June 2012.
'Hunt Downing House'