Fights for Control, Snobby Residents Helped to Create Some of Delco’s Strange Borders

Image via Michaelle Bond, Philadelphia Inquirer.

Fights for control and snobby residents are two of the reasons Delaware County has a number of municipalities with oddly shaped borders, writes Michaelle Bond for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Upper Darby Township is the best example of this, with East Lansdowne created after Upper Darby Township separated from Darby Township in the late 17th century. Lansdowne, Clifton Heights, Aldan Borough, and Millbourne Borough were also once a part of Upper Darby. (Strangely, East Lansdowne is entirely surrounded by Upper Darby Township but is about 500 feet from Lansdowne.)

Today, the township has more than 82,000 residents and offers assistance, when it can, to the smaller communities that were once part of it.

“We try to act as the big brother,” said Upper Darby Mayor Thomas Micozzie.

In the 19th century, Springfield Township encompassed both Swarthmore and Morton before residents decided to break away and take only the parts they wanted. This left a piece of the township at the opposite end of Swarthmore made up of around 50 houses and a string of local businesses.

Swarthmore “did not want that section over there, because it was a quarry and it was farms,” said Barbara Burke, vice president of the Springfield Historical Society.

Read more about how local municipalities’ borders took shape in the Philadelphia Inquirer by clicking here.

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