Chester, city (1990 pop. 41,856), Delaware co., SE Pa., on the Delaware River south of Philadelphia; settled c.1644 by Swedes, inc. as a city 1866. A port, it was also long a shipbuilding center. There are ship transfer facilities and factories making metal, food, and paper products; marine anchors; machinery; communications equipment; and consumer goods. A gambling casino and racetrack also contribute to the city's economy, The Commodore Barry Bridge, with one of the world's longest cantilever main spans, crosses the Delaware to Bridgeport, N.J.
The oldest city in the state, Chester (established as Upland) was the site of William Penn's first landing (1682) in America. Penn renamed the settlement and convened (1682) the first assembly of the colony there. Foundations of the original settlement remain, in Governor Printz Park. Chester is home to Widener Univ. (1821).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.