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Preserving the Past, Serving the Community

June 5, 2012

By Erin Sylvester ’13

If you drive down Providence Avenue in Chester, you can’t help but notice the stately Colonial Georgian building that sits on the northeast corner of East 21st Street. This classic stone structure built in the late 1800s now houses the College Access Center of Delaware County, but it wasn’t always that way.

The home was in the family of Robert Wetherill, a Chester banker and industrialist who served in official capacity for a number of local organizations. After partnering with his brother Richard in 1872 to form Robert Wetherill and Company, a successful foundry and engine building facility, he gained global recognition for his company’s achievements in the iron and steel industries.

In 2009, the Wetherills’ house was transformed into the College Access Center as the first initiative of the Chester Higher Education Council—a nonprofit organization established by the presidents of Cheyney University, Delaware County Community College, Neumann University, Penn State Brandywine, Swarthmore College, and Widener University. “Widener was very fortunate to have such a beautiful, historic building on campus and to be able to renovate that building for a purpose that serves the people of Chester and Delaware County,” Widener President James T. Harris III said.

In recognition of the restoration of the house, The Delaware County Heritage Commission honored the Chester Higher Education Council in May with the 16th annual Leedom D. Morrison Heritage Award. This is the second time that Widener has received this  award, the first time in 2010 for the digital archiving of the George Raymond Papers. That project also recently won an award from the Chester chapter of the NAACP.

For more information, see the press release.

Erin Sylvester is a senior from Brunswick, Maine, majoring in English.

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