The Battle of Llanerch Crossing
The history of transportation on West Chester Pike dates to the dusty, muddy stage coach days along the western extension of Market Street out of Philadelphia, known as the West Chester Road. The first improvement to this trail was the hemlock plank road of 1848. The wooden road, built by the Philadelphia and West Chester Turnpike Road Company, traveled from West Philadelphia to Newtown Square. Along the route penny-per-mile fees were collected at several toll houses. Fines also were imposed for avoiding the tollgate, speeding, vandalism or lying to the toll collector.
In 1859 the Turnpike Road Company created a franchise company known as the Delaware County Passenger Rail Road with horse-drawn cars running on rails, bringing passengers on Sunday excursions from Philadelphia to Castle Rock, past Newtown Square. It was those open-air carriages which captivated the young John Shimer of
Shimer's new company, The Philadelphia, Castle Rock and West Chester Railway, in partnership with The Delaware County Passenger Rail Road, would eventually grow to become the West Chester Traction Company. The mightiest obstacle for Shimer and his trolley line was the formidable Pennsylvania Railroad, also building a passenger line called the Philadelphia & Delaware County Passenger Railroad, which would cross at Llanerch.
Both rail companies were laying tracks to Newtown Square — Shimer along West Chester Pike and the PRR crossing West Chester Pike at Llanerch. This was a dangerous crossing, due to the blind nature of the angle of the Pennsy trains approaching the pike and the falling grade for trolleys traveling west. During July, 1895, in order to stop the trolley tracks, the PRR parked a locomotive in the direct path of the trolley rail line. The resulting Battle of Llanerch Crossing was fought in a labyrinth of legal contracts, injunctions, and appeals to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and at the junction itself with threats, fists and curses. Eleven railroad employees were arrested but no one was seriously injured. By the end of the summer of 1895, Shimer
For a more detailed chronicle of these events, read The Red Arrow by Ronald DeGraw.
Erected 2007 by the Haverford Township Historical Society and the Citizens of Haverford Township.
Location. 39° 58.167′ N, 75° 17.867′ W. Marker is in Llanerch, Pennsylvania, in Delaware County. Marker is at the intersection of West Chester Pike (Pennsylvania Route 3) and Darby Road, on the right when traveling west on West Chester Pike. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: Llanerch Crossing Park, Havertown PA 19083, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Birth of Llanerch (here, next to this marker); The Llanerch Car Barn (a few steps from this marker); Abraham L. Pennock (approx. 1.4 miles away); Old Haverford Friends Meeting (approx. 1˝ miles away); Thomas Garrett (approx. 1.6 miles away); Dr. George Smith (approx. 1.8 miles away); Lynnewood Park (approx. 1.8 miles away); Collen Brook Farm (approx. 1.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Llanerch.
Also see . . .
1. Haverford Heritage Trail Site 31: Llanerch Junction and Crossing.
2. History of Llanerch. (Submitted on April 14, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Categories. • Politics • Railroads & Streetcars •
Credits. This page was last revised on April 14, 2017. This page originally submitted on April 13, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 174 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on April 14, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. 2. submitted on April 13, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. 3, 4. submitted on April 14, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.