Downingtown is a borough in Chester County, Pennsylvania, 33 miles (53 km) west of Philadelphia. Downingtown was settled by English and European colonists in the early 18th century and has a number of historic buildings and structures. The town was originally named Milltown due to its number of mills along the East Branch Brandywine Creek, the first of which was founded by Daniel Butter. The town is located along the Lincoln Highway (now part of U.S. Route 30) which runs from the East Coast to the West Coast. It was an early westward road in the wagon days as the Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike. The Lincoln Highway was the first paved road to cross the nation from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Construction of the Pennsylvania Turnpike started in the early 1940s and was completed in the early 1950s; it runs north of US 30, bypassing Downingtown.
Downingtown has initiated some widespread and continuing renovation in downtown, particularly to the streetscape; private owners have similarly renovated many commercial buildings. There has also been residential development on recovered industrial lands (brown fields) in the southeastern part of the borough. Downingtown is the location of some large regional and national businesses, including DNB (Downingtown National Bank), First National Bank of Chester County, and Victory Brewing Company. In 1988, a stall in its farmer’s market was the first place where pretzels were sold by the founders of Auntie Anne’s, now a global company with 1,000 stores and $375 million in annual sales.
The median income for a household in the borough was $45,979, and the median income for a family was $53,468. Males had a median income of $38,893 versus $29,284 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $21,634. About 3.0% of families and 4.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.2% of those under age 18 and 5.3% of those age 65 or over.