After months of renovations, historic building in Longwood Gardens’ shadow has reopened
By Kathleen Brady Shea, Managing Editor, The Times
No wonder local tourism officials are excited: new digs on the grounds of Longwood Gardens in a building steeped in Chester County history.
The Longwood Progressive Meeting, built in 1855, was the venue for Quakers active in the Underground Railroad and other social causes of the day. In 1989, the Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau began using the building as a tourist information center. Now, after several months of historic preservation and renovations, the bureau’s administrative staff has relocated there from West Chester.
“We are so pleased to have our staff and Tourism Information Center in this historic building on the grounds of regional treasure, Longwood Gardens,” said Blair Mahoney, the bureau’s executive director. “The economy of scale in combining our administrative offices and Visitors Center made financial sense. The added value was the continuing preservation of this incredible building.”
Located near the gates of Longwood Gardens on Greenwood Road in Kennett Square, the Brandywine Valley Tourism Information Center occupies the front of the former meetinghouse and features a storyboard outlining the building’s rich heritage. Over the years, renowned leaders of the abolitionist movement spoke at Longwood Progressive Meeting, including Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass.
Today, tourists as well are area residents are welcomed daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to receive brochures, menus, maps and tips from a staff well-versed in local attractions. Information is also available online at BrandywineValley.com.
“We welcome all guests, locals and visitors, to help make the most of their experience in the beautiful Brandywine Valley,” said Mahoney.
Founded in 1963, the Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau is an independent nonprofit that serves as the official tourism promotion agency for Chester County, working on behalf of its membership to market Chester County and the Brandywine Valley to individual travelers, motor coach and group tour operators, meeting planners and travel writers.