Kennett Square is a borough in Chester County, Pennsylvania, United States. It is known as the Mushroom Capital of the World because mushroom farming in the region produces over a million pounds of mushrooms a year. To celebrate its heritage, Kennett Square has an annual Mushroom Festival. Its population was 5,273 at the 2000 census.
The area to become known as Kennett Square was originally inhabited by the Lenape
Native Americans. The town was first called "Kennet" after a village
in Wiltshire, England
, the homeland of one of Kennett Square's founders, Francis Smith. The town was a major point on Baron Wilhelm von Knyphausen
and General Sir William Howell
's march to the Battle of Brandywine
during the American Revolution
. In 1853, a group of citizens asked for Kennett Square to be incorporated, and by 1855 it held elections. Many of its prominent citizens helped slaves escape on the Underground Railroad
Kennett Square's William Swayne is credited with introducing mushroom growing to the area. He grew carnations, a popular local commodity around 1885, and wanted to make use of the wasted space under the elevated beds. He imported spawn from Europe and started experimenting with mushroom cultivation.
On April 1 1993, more than 140 workers at Kaolin Mushroom Farms stopped working. Known as the Kaolin Strike, this became one of the most notorious events in the mushroom industry. The workers complained of low wages and mistreatment. Before this, Kaolin had a good reputation as offering high salaries to its employees but was instantly vilified. After 30 days of protests and demonstrations the employees returned to work, although it wasn't until 1999 that negotiations had been resolved.
Kennett Square is the subject and setting of 19th century American author Bayard Taylor's novel, The Story Of Kennett.
Kennett Square is located at (39.844104, -75.710654).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 1.1 square miles (2.9 km²), all of it land.
As of the census
of 2000, there were 5,273 people, 1,868 households, and 1,242 families residing in the borough. The population density
was 4,679.2 people per square mile (1,801.7/km²). There were 1,967 housing units at an average density of 1,745.5/sq mi (672.1/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 73.58% White
, 10.26% African American
, 0.09% Native American
, 1.63% Asian
, 12.48% from other races
, and 1.95% from two or more races. Hispanic
of any race were 27.88% of the population.
There were 1,868 households out of which 30.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.2% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.5% were non-families. 28.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.77 and the average family size was 3.39.
In the borough the population was spread out with 24.8% under the age of 18, 10.2% from 18 to 24, 31.0% from 25 to 44, 20.1% from 45 to 64, and 13.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 98.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.8 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $46,523, and the median income for a family was $54,948. Males had a median income of $35,978 versus $27,246 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $22,292. About 7.5% of families and 9.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.9% of those under age 18 and 10.4% of those age 65 or over.
The borough is governed by the Council-Manager form of government. There are seven Council Members and a mayor who are elected by the citizens. The Borough Manager is an employee of the Borough, hired by the Council. The present acting Borough Manager is Al Willard.
The Kennett Mushroom Festival is held annually in early September. The festival has been highlighted on Food TV. In early October Kennett Square hosts a microbrew festival. The event draws over 40 breweries and often is sold out. Kennett Square celebrates Cinco de Mayo, which is organized by Casa Guanajuato, and other local companies. April 2008 was the start for the first annual springfestinthepark, held at the beautiful (over 100 acre) Anson B Nixon park. In May,the famous Kennett Run occurs that ends at the Park pavilion. These are but a few of the events for families and visitors throughout the year.
Kennett Square schools are all part of the Kennett Consolidated School District. This grouping of districts was the first consolidation of schools in the history of Pennsylvania (website
). Students enrolled in grades K through 5 attend elementary school at one of three schools, chosen by the location of the student's household: Greenwood Elementary (website
), New Garden Elementary (website
), or Mary D. Lang Elementary (website
). For grades 6 through 8, all students attend Kennett Middle School (website
). For grades 9 through 12, students then attend Kennett High School
Kennett Square has 3 newspapers, The Chester County Press (website
), the Kennett Paper, and the Daily Local. There is also a magazine, Kennett Square Today (website
) that covers the area.
Points of Interest