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Chester County Press

Kennett Heritage Center to kick off speaker series on April 16

03/21/2023 01:01PM ● By Richard Gaw

Courtesy photo      The Kennett Heritage Center will be presenting “Speaking of History,” a four-part speaker series that will present a diverse series of presentations by local experts. The series will begin on April 16 with a presentation by local historian Donald McKay about the intricate trolley system that once operated in Kennett Square. 

By Richard L. Gaw, Staff Writer

Since it first opened its doors in the heart of Kennett Square Borough in 2020, the Kennett Heritage Center has served as a touchstone for the unique history of the area that it celebrates – through tours, special events and a permanent exhibit at its location at 120 North Union Street.

From April through November, the Center will again acknowledge the rich past of the Kennett area with a four-part series called “Speaking of History,” that will provide those who attend a tapestry of topics.

On April 16, local historian Donald McKay will kick off the series with a presentation that will provide an overview of the intricate trolley system that once traversed through Kennett Square, which served as the junction of two electric trolley routes.

As technology advanced in the 1800s, public transportation out into the rural areas started to expand beyond the steam railroads, and the trolleys provided Kennett Square residents with greater accessibility to nearby towns and cities and parks.

On June 11, walking artist historian Ken Johnston will present “A Pilgrimage to Freedom: Tracing the Footsteps of Harriet Tubman from Maryland to Canada,” that will retrace the steps Johnston took in learning more about Harriet Tubman along the Underground Railroad en route to freedom.

On Sept. 10 – in acknowledgement of the Battle of the Brandywine that took place on Sept. 11, 1777, Wade Catts will present “The Day Before Battle of Brandywine in Kennett,” that will provide an overview of how the British Army occupied Kennett Square during that historic battle.

The speaker series will close on Nov. 12 with a presentation by representatives from Old Stone Cidery in Lewisville, Pa., who will talk about the making of apple cider, managing an apple orchard and how they have helped to revive the craft that was once a staple of rural life in Chester County. 

We wanted to add a program that brought something new to our offerings, different from reading the story boards of the permanent exhibit or walking the streets of Kennett with a history tour,” said Lynn Sinclair, the founder and chairperson of the Kennett Heritage Center. “A lecture series fit the bill. It’s an opportunity for people to sit and listen to a speaker share their knowledge of and enthusiasm for a specific local, historic topic.

“This lecture series also extends our outreach to the organizations each of the speakers represents. We are excited about these new partnerships and what they will bring to the Kennett community.”

All lectures in the “Speaking of History” series will be held at Kennett Friends Meetinghouse, 125 W. Sickle Street, Kennett Square, Pa., and begin at 3 p.m. They will be followed by a Q & A session and light refreshments will be served.

For additional information about the speaker series, contact Lynn Sinclair at 302-559-0923. To learn more about the Kennett Heritage Center, visit

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].