Bucks County Feature


Bucks County History

Named after England's Buckinghamshire, Bucks County was opened to European settlement by William Penn in 1681 under a land grant from Charles II. The county's most celebrated town, New Hope, was settled in the early 1700s and, together with its neighbor across the river, Lambertville, New Jersey, was called Coryell's Ferry. (One of the original gristmills was the home of the Bucks County Playhouse, until it closed in late 2010.) The town was the Pennsylvania terminal for stagecoach traffic and Delaware River ferry traffic. Barges hauled coal along the 60-mi Delaware Canal until 1931.

Commerce built up New Hope, but art helped sustain it. An art colony took root in the late 19th century, and the area was revitalized beginning in the 1930s by theater and literary folk, such as lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II and playwright George S. Kaufman, and more recently with the arrival of galleries and artists from around the country. Writers James Michener (winner of the Pulitzer Prize) and Pearl Buck (winner of the Pulitzer and Nobel prizes) also left their marks on Bucks County, which the latter called, "a region where the landscapes were varied, where farm and industry lived side by side, where the sea was near at hand, mountains not far away, and city and countryside were not enemies."

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