Pennsylvania’s communities are filled with special and meaningful historic places and spaces that add value to our lives and offer comfort and stability during these challenging times. Now more than ever, it is important to stay connected to our communities.

Today’s Spotlight: Malcolm Johnstone

The next entry in PA SHPO’s #FavoritePAPlaces campaign is Malcolm Johnstone, Executive Director of West Chester’s Business Improvement District (BID) talking about why Marshall Square Park in West Chester, Chester County is one of his favorite Pennsylvania places.

Marshall Square Park

Marshall Square Park, located in the West Chester (Boundary Increase) National Register Historic District (Key #120415), was dedicated in 1848 as West Chester’s first public square. Modeled after Philadelphia’s Washington Square Park, this quiet corner of the borough started as a small arboretum with exotic trees and plants and a basin for West Chester’s water supply.

The park is named for Humphry Marshall (1722-1801), an 18th century American botanist and cousin of John Bartram, from nearby Marshallton. Beginning in the late 19th century, a “Swiss Cottage” was installed as a concession stand and storage shed, the Soldiers’ Monument to honor the Civil War’s 97th Regiment replaced the water basin, and a large fountain (recently reinstalled) was installed near the center of the park.

An active Friends group helps maintain and promote Marshall Square Park as an amenity for local residents and visitors. One of the more recent projects, referenced in Malcolm Johnstone’s write-up is the “Friends” carving by local artist, Marty Long.

Share your #FavoritePAPlace

What older and historic places in your community are you looking forward to connecting with again?  Share your answer with us in the comments or email us at

Use the hashtags #FavoritePAPlace and/or #PreservationHappensHere and your entry just might be featured, too!