Today we dedicate our Daily Countdown list to our beloved Borough of Swarthmore. Those of us who live here, we are fully aware of the myriad of reasons to fall in love with Swarthmore over and over again. But let’s face it, our little village is a hidden gem, home to only about 4500 permanent residents.
Swarthmore was originally named Westdale in honor of noted painter, Benjamin West, who was one of the early residents of the town. The name was changed to Swarthmore after the establishment of Swarthmore College. That’s all well and good, but WHY do we love Swarthmore so much? Here’s my TOP TEN list:
10. Pronouncing “Swarthmore” takes skill and practice. Yes, it’s true…we are sometimes called SwaRthmoreans and other times SwAHthmoreans but those of us in the know, also know how to pronounce the name of our town correctly
9. We are the home of Swarthmore College. Our fair village gets its name from the College that was established here. Swarthmore College was one of the earliest coeducational colleges in the United States. Founded in 1864 by a group of prominent Quakers committed to the abolitionist and women’s rights movements, it continues today to foster a community concerned with doing social good.
8. The Sons of Benjamin West call Swarthmore home. If you’re a football fan…er, I should say fútbol …you’ve likely heard of the Sons of Ben – the supporters group known for beating their drums and DOOP DOOPing for the love of the Union. Well, The Sons of Benjamin West are the local, family-friendly version known for singing themselves hoarse and DOOP DOOPing alongside their kids for the love of the Union.
7. The SwUKEstra. Our local ukuele orchestra. It’s a band. With ukuleles. Only ukuleles. And guys named Steve. And oh yeah, it’s lead by our mayor, The Honorable Tim Kearney. And they rock.
6. Scott Arboretum. The college’s arboretum was established in 1929 in honor of Arthur Hoyt Scott. With over 350 acres of walking trails, native landscapes and beautifully cultivated flowering gardens, it freely offers the public a bucolic place to escape and return to nature. However, the best thing about the arboretum is that the founder’s mission to “make it possible for a beginner in gardening to visit Swarthmore and see plants suitable for his own conditions, rather than to see merely a beautiful picture” makes it functional as well as beautiful.
5. Independently owned businesses make up the business district. The tree-lined streets make it easy to walk into the downtown area, where nearly all of the shops are independently owned and operated, mostly by Swarthmore residents. This leads to a strong connection with our business leaders, who are our friends and neighbors. That interconnectedness strengthens the spirit of community.
4. WSSD is a Top School District. Wallingford-Swarthmore School District consistently ranks in the Top Ten school districts in Pennsylvania. Recently, U.S. News and World Report ranked Strath Haven High School #9 in Pennsylvania, a wonderful achievement for our students and educators.
3. The Swarthmore Food Co-op. As the third oldest food cooperative in the country, the Swarthmore Food Co-op, or the Co-op as it’s known around town, has an impressive history. What’s also impressive about this gem of a grocery store, where anyone can shop, is it’s unwavering commitment to supplying the surrounding community with locally sourced, sustainability produced food at affordable prices. Oh, and you can pick up a coke and chips to go with your gourmet sandwich. What’s not to love?
2. Swarthmore Topped Philly Mag’s list in 2010. In 2010 Philadelphia Magazine named Swarthmore as the Number 1 Awesome Neighborhood to call home. They based this on awesome schools, sustained real estate values, and our charming downtown business district. But we already knew that, didn’t we?
And the Number 1 Reason to LOVE Swarthmore….. The Swarthmore Farmers Market – I mean really, did you think?!?
Here’s to the best kept secret in Delaware County. Come visit, we’d love to show you around.