Four hundred forty seven feet above sea level, Doylestown’s courthouse, church spires and the roof peaks of the Mercer Museum can be seen for miles around. As the county seat of Bucks County, it is appropriate that the town is situated near the geographic center of Bucks County. In fact being centrally located and on a crossroads was a major argument for moving the county seat from Newtown to the small village in 1813.
The town, situated at the crossing of the road to Swede’s Ford and Coryell’s Ferry and the road from Easton to Philadelphia, which later became Route 202 and Route 611, grew around a crossroads tavern in the 18th century. This tavern was first know as Doyle’s tavern and later the Fountain House Hotel. Today this building, which sported a French or Mansard roof since the 1880s, houses a Starbucks coffeehouse.
Historically, Doylestown is located at the hub of early settlement areas of Pennsylvania's primary cultural groups: the English Quakers, the Scotch-Irish, the Pennsylvania Germans and to a lesser extent, the Welsh Baptists. Doylestown's architecture draws on the influences of all these groups and while representing a prosperous community, its buildings still hold an air of conservatism generated, in part, from the these people.
Purchasing land in the 1730s Edward Doyle and his sons William and Clement moved here from along the Delaware River and by 1775 William Doyle obtained his first tavern license for a site on West Court Street, then New Britain Township. Within a decade he relocated his tavern “one block” closer to the crossroads in what was then Warwick Township. The surrounding land was farmland, dotted with farmhouses and barns. Research shows that there were at least ten farmsteads within the present borough boundaries.
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