Originally called Milltown, Downingtown is situated along Brandywine Creek on the border between the wild frontier and developed territory. During the American Revolution, Milltown became known as Downing's Town, where food and provisions were stored in Downing's Town for the troops. After the war, Downing's Town was renamed Downingtown. Stage coach service ran from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia through Downingtown, bringing prosperity and expansion. Stage lines became railroad lines bringing further growth to the community. Industrial and manufacturing businesses thrived because of Downingtown's central location and access to the railroad. The borough was incorporated in 1859.
Today, Downingtown is full of recreational amenities for its residents and visitors. Downingtown features five city parks with playgrounds, athletics fields, ball courts, open areas, trails, ponds, and picnic areas. Each park is open to the public, with some that share special historical honors or purposes. Marinelli Park, for instance, honors Dominic and James Marinelli, brothers who died in World War II. Kerr Park features a Veterans Memorial and an All-Abilities playground, while The Ponds has four lakes and trails. Lion's Trail connects to the Robert G. Struble Hiking and Biking Trail, operated by Chester County, which heads north along a former railroad bed to Marsh Creek State Park, and multi-use Brandywine Trail connects Johnsontown Park to Kerr Park.
Downingtown Golf Club, a semi-private golf course, is an exciting parkland tract that is open to the public. Residents can also check out Springton Manor Farm, a demonstration farm set on 300 acres that is the site of the Sheep and Wool Festival and the Autumn Harvest Festival.
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