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The History of Glen Mills, Pennsylvania

sexual assault attorney in glen mills, pennsylvania near recreation center

The sexual assault attorneys in Glen Mills, PA, at Justice Guardians present this article to share some information about the area and its history.

Just 27 miles west of Philadelphia stands Glen Mills, PA. Glen Mills is an unincorporated community in Concord Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, United States. The community is within ZIP Code 19342, and as of September 23, 1997, the quaint community is also a Pennsylvania Historical Marker.


The area surrounding Glen Mills was part of the original land grant given to William Penn in 1681. The name Glen Mills is derived from two paper mills, built in 1835 and 1846,  by the Willcox family. From 1864 - 1878, the two mills supplied the United States government with a unique, patented paper to print government bonds and notes.

While the Glen Mills is no longer standing, the community still hosts popular historic destinations. The first being a grist mill built by Nathaniel Newlin in 1704. The mill is a popular destination for picnickers and historians. Another famous landmark in Glen Mills is The Newlin Mill Complex, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

In 1858, The West Chester and Philadelphia Railroad arrived in Glen Mills and provided train service between Philadelphia and West Chester. By 1880, the Pennsylvania Railroad took over the rail line, and passenger trains were operated by The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA until) 1986. Today, the Westchester Railroad still runs between Glen Mills and Westchester from Friday to Sunday.

One of the most prominent attractions in Glen Mills during the 1960s was a ‘Wild-West’ themed restaurant. The location was turned into a Pulsations nightclub during the 1980s and today is home to a retirement community.

Glen Mills Schools

One of the most significant pieces of history found in Glen Mills is the story of The Glen Mills Schools. The school was a youth detention center for juvenile delinquents between 12-21 years of age located near Glen Mills in Thornbury Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, United States.

The 750 acres campus is situated on an almost 1,800-acre property, located 20 miles west of Philadelphia. The campus hosts the Hayes Recreation Center for athletics with indoor track, tennis and basketball courts, a football field, baseball fields, and an Olympic size indoor swimming pool.

The school, previously known as the Philadelphia House of Refuge, was founded in 1826 and is the oldest surviving school of its type in the United States. In 1892, the school relocated to its current campus in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, and in 1911 changed its name to the present Glen Mills Schools.

The facility provided services to approximately 200 delinquent boys until all residents were ordered removed on March 25, 2019, by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.

Notable Alumni of Glen Mills Schools

  • Ralph Jarvis, gridiron football player
  • Aaric Murray, basketball player
  • Bernard Pierce, NFL player for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens.

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David Petrone
Date Published: May 31, 2021
David Petrone is a personal injury attorney at Justice Guardians.
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