Philadelphia is 25 miles to the east and Wilmington, Delaware 17 miles to the south. Valley Forge, the Brandywine Battlefield, Longwood Gardens, and other historical attractions are near West Chester.
The West Chester University of Pennsylvania is located here. Greek Revival architecture along High Street earned West Chester the nickname "Athens of the West".
In 1900, 9,524 people lived here; in 1910, 11,767; in 1920, 11,717; and in 1940, 13,289 lived here. In 2000, the US census recorded 17,861 residents.
The area was originally known as Turk's Head - after the Inn of the same name located in what is now the center of the borough.
West Chester has been the seat of government in Chester County since 1786. West Chester was settled in the early 18th century, principally by members of the Society of Friends. In the heart of town is its courthouse, a classical revival building designed in the 1840s by Thomas U. Walter, one of the architects for the Capitol in Washington, DC. West Chester is part of the rapidly growing suburban complex surrounding Philadelphia.