Chester Springs

West Pikeland Twp, Chester County, PA

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Chester Springs (formerly — and sometimes currently — known as Yellow Springs) was first noted by Welsh Quaker settlers who found the mineral springs along the Pickering Creek. In 1750, Robert Pritchard opened an inn and the area subsequently became a famous health resort; it was used to house and minister to injured soldiers during the American Revolution. The Yellow Springs post office was opened in 1823 (Anthony Olwine postmaster). Several years afterward the name was changed to Chester Springs due to a conflict with a Huntingdon County location also named Yellow Springs.

The Yellow Springs Spa (aka Good News Buildings and/or the Old Art School) was listed the National Register of Historic Places in 1970. Text, below, is adapted from a copy of the original nomination document.

Yellow Springs, National Register of Historic Places


The primary significance of the complex is that this property for over 100 years was at the center of life in the emerging nation, the United States of America. It was a well-known spa from the early 18th century until the Revolution, and people came to the "promiscuous resort" not only from Philadelphia but also from "the West Indies and other foreign parts."

In the reorganization of the Medical Department, legislated by Congress on April 7, 1777, Dr. William Shippen, Jr., the new Director General and "others" (Dr. John Cochran and possibly including Dr. Benjamin Rush, Physician General) selected Yellow Springs for the construction of the only hospital built especially for the soldiers of the Continental Army. Dr. James Craik, Washington's personal physician, became Assistant Director general for the Middle Department (all territory between the Hudson and Potomac Rivers) and the Yellow Springs Hospital was the center of administration for this Department. It was also the receiving hospital for patients previously housed in Bethlehem, Lancaster, Lititz, and Mannheim. Sebastian Schreiber was the architect of the building. Correspondence of this period shows that men such as Dr. Jonathan Potts, Dr. Bodo Otto, Dr. Craik, and Reverend James Sproat were all involved in running the hospital, as was General Washington whose visit to the sick is described in one of Craik's letters.

During the war years and until the hospital was closed in 1781, several thousand men occupied beds in "Ye Different Hospitals with the vicinity of the Yellow Springs," and several accounts relate that many of the dead were buried in the meadow in front of Washington Hall and at a site south of Pickering Creek.

The early 19th century saw again the prosperity of the Yellow Springs as a Health Resort, and quantities of newspaper advertisements attest to the increase in facilities necessitated by the large number of guests. Important people traditionally believed to have been visitors were DeWitt Clinton, Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, and other statesmen who gathered here for political meetings or rejuvenation after campaigns.

Nearby Neighborhoods

Street Names
Kimberton Road • Pike Springs Road • Route 113 • Yellow Springs Road

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