A crossroads since the 1700s, the Bucks County seat still draws travelers from all over.
Doylestown Borough and Doylestown Township get their names from William Doyle, an Irish immigrant who built a tavern in 1745 where the road from Swede’s Ford to Coryell’s Ferry crossed the one from Philadelphia to Easton. Much has changed since then — Swede’s Ford is now Norristown, and Coryell’s Ferry is New Hope — but the tavern building abides at State and Main streets. However, the strongest drink you can get there now is a Starbucks coffee.
Bucks County’s heart
Around Doyle’s tavern is a charming downtown district thanks to local merchants who banded together to save it from “urban renewal” in the 1960s. You can see art films at the County Theater (20 East State Street), dine at restaurants such as 86 West (86 West State Street), and shop at boutiques like Lilies of the Field (1 South Main Street).
An original vision
Doylestown was the home of Henry Mercer, an archaeologist who sought to preserve America’s craft heritage. A collector of artifacts, he was also noted for the ceramics produced at his Moravian Pottery and Tile Works. In addition to the Tileworks, now a working history museum (130 East Swamp Road), both his home (Fonthill Castle, 525 East Court Street) and the hall he built to showcase his collections (Mercer Museum, 84 South Pine Street) are open to the public.
Borough or township?
“If you’re eyeing a historic single home in ‘The Boro,’ be prepared for price tags ranging from $800,000 to well over $2 million,” says agent Carle Robbins of Addison Wolfe Real Estate. “You can also find townhomes, twins, and the rare single home priced between $400,000 and $600,000. Doylestown Township generally offers lower property prices.”
What You Can Buy in Doylestown For …
130 East Court Street. This handsome home, built in 1867, retains its classic style but has been remade for the way we live now and features a mahogany elevator. 4 BR, 3/1 BA, 3,908 sq. ft. Lisa Povlow, Keller Williams Doylestown, 215-370-0525.
82 Brinker Drive. This young colonial in the township has a large everyday living suite and recently updated just about everything. 4 BR, 2/1 BA, 2,864 sq. ft. Chris Griswold, eXp Realty, 267-261-1711.
190 South Shady Retreat Road. This contemporary rancher has a peninsula gas fireplace in its living and dining rooms and a woodburning stone one in the family room. 3 BR, 2/1 BA, 2,250 sq. ft. Melanie Senft, Coldwell Banker Hearthside, 215-630-9200.
Published as “Living in Doylestown” in the November 2023 issue of Philadelphia Magazine.