The P.E. Sharpless Creamery & Philadelphia Cream Cheese

The most popular butter in the 1880s (according to articles and advertisements in the Atlantic City Gazette-Review, the Daily Republican, Evening Star, the Philadelphia Times, Newport Daily News, the Evening Journal, Press of Atlantic City, etc.) was “Sharpless Gilt-Edge Butter” or “Sharpless Philadelphia Butter”(Philadelphia was added to the name in 1890). It came from a creamery in the vicinity of Philadelphia, and its reputation greatly preceded itself. According to the Philadelphia Times in 1888, Sharpless gilt-edge butter was “the most delicious addition to the feast of good things” and consumers would “never put tongue to anything so toothsome.” The butter was so popular, it was reportedly used at the White House, according to the Lancaster Examiner in 1902, where they write: “The Sharpless butter is In great demand in Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, and Washington. Butter used at the White House is made by Sharpless.” The Sharpless Creamery grew through the 1890s under the ownership of Pennock Edward Sharpless, a native Pennsylvanian and son of a prominent local dairy farmer, William Sharpless. He moved his creamery to Ward Village, Concord Township, PA in 1893, where he produced many dairy products from butter, pimento cheese, and most importantly — cream cheese! The creamery burned down in June 1900 due to an arson attack, but was immediately rebuilt. In 1904, Sharpless Creamery was fully incorporated as a domestic business corporation (#326461) and mass producing dairy products for sale all around the mid-Atlantic region. In 1910, the New York Produce Review and American Creamery notes that “John B. Fassler, head cheesemaker of the P.E. Sharpless Company plant at Ward, Delaware County reports daily receipts of 16,000 lbs. milk. Of this over half is made up into Neufchatel and Philadelphia cream cheese, the remaining goes into condensed milk.” Sharpless used the moniker “Philadelphia cream cheese” on his tinfoil packaged cream cheese cakes, and examples of advertisements can been seen in every major newspaper at the time in this region (Atlantic City Gazette-Review, Daily Republican, Evening Star, The Philadelphia Times, Newport Daily News, The Evening Journal, Press of Atlantic City, Delaware County Daily Times, Lancaster New Era, Denton Journal, Asbury Park Press, The Washington Post, Harrisburg Telegraph, The Virginian-Pilot, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Reading Times, etc.). The Sharpless Creamery also turned to the fluid milk business in 1922, when they consolidated with the Breyer Ice Cream Company to create the Breyer-Sharpless Milk Association. The Ice Cream Review of 1922 notes that “The Breyer Company confined itself to the manufacture of ice cream previous to the consolidation, while the Sharpless firm have long been known as manufacturers of fancy print butter and package cheese, as well as condensed and evaporated milk.” So basically, the Sharpless Creamery had the Philadelphia dairy market cornered! The reality of the cream cheese boom at the turn of the 20th century was that there were only 5 major creameries making and selling cream cheese: Phenix Company and F.X. Baumert Company in New York, Kraft Company and Blue Label Cream Cheese Company in Chicago, and the P.E. Sharpless Creamery in the Philadelphia area, according to the 1954 court case Kraft Foods Co. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue. It goes on to state that “no other concerns, with the possible exception of one or two small ones, made and sold cream cheese commercially in the United States at that time.” Out of the 5 companies, the P.E. Sharpless Creamery was the only geographically authentic Philadelphia cream cheese company! The Sharpless Company went on to obtain three U.S. patents on their process of making soft cheese (patent # 1,258,438) and packaging (patent # 1,399,270 and 1,466,380) beginning in 1918, 1921, and 1923. Two patents in 1937 covering the manufacture of cream cheese (patent #2,098,764 and 2,098,765) were given to Pennock Edwards Sharpless’ son, Caspar Sharpless, who became the general manager of the still-operating Sharpless plant in Ward Village after the sale to Kraft Company. In 1924, Kraft Company purchased the P.E. Sharpless Creamery and all assets, including their patents. Kraft continued using the Sharpless name on their dairy products (likely for name recognition), until 1941 when Kraft trademarked the “Philadelphia Brand” moniker (trademark registration #0392212). Kraft also purchased the Phenix Cheese Company (formerly the Williamstown Lawrence Company) in 1928, the New York State company that is credited with inventing cream cheese and trademarking “Philadelphia cream cheese” before any other company. Of course, Kraft Company is the business that makes and sells Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese today, thus the P.E. Sharpless Creamery is an important story in the evolution of Kraft’s Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese.. The P.E. Sharpless Creamery is no longer standing, but two historic resources — The P.E. Sharpless House (#108) and the L.E. Buckley House (#107) — remain in connection to the creamery. Read more about the P.E. Sharpless company here.


Ward Village is one of several historic villages (or neighborhoods) within Concord Township. Geographically, it covers the Concord Creek Bridge (also known as Ward Run) at Concord Road, near the intersection of Station and Concord Roads. Ward extends to the intersection of Concord and Smithbridge Roads to the South-East, and to the intersection of Concord and Spring Valley Roads to the North-West. Ward Village rose to prominence in the late 19th century as an industrial center of Concord Township, featuring some of the earliest Pennsylvania mushroom farms, a mill complex at Station Road that included the Alexander Scott & Son saw and grist mills, the Richards & Schrader lumber yard and feed store, the John Hart blacksmith shop, the Barclay Thomas wheelwright shop, telegraph office, Ward Post Office, general grocery and drygoods store, and a branch of the PE Sharpless Company’s creameries. The development of the Pennsylvania, Baltimore, and Washington Railroad in the late 19th century brought a train station to Ward known as Concord Station, which transported goods in and out of Concord Township to surrounding towns in Pennsylvania and neighboring states beginning in the 1870s and continuing into the early 1970s. The railroad station in Ward was key in the transportation of fertilizer for the local mushroom farms, as well as the dairy products produced at the creamery. The creamery was known as the Sharpless Creamery, and manufactured Philadelphia Cream Cheese and butter, among various other dairy products, beginning in the late 19th century. The Sharpless Creamery was one of only 5 commercial creameries in the United States at this time to manufacture cream cheese, and it was purchased by the Kraft Company in 1924 for the purposes of owning the trademark on the Sharpless cream cheese production and acquiring their vast distribution networks. The area Is characterized by historic buildings erected from c.1690s-1900s, and features Folk Victorian homes, Colonial Farmhouses, Victorian-era industrial buildings, and a creek that runs through the village known as Ward Creek or Concord Creek. Some of the first Episcopal church services were also held out of the John Hannum home until St. John’s Episcopal Church was built in 1844. During the development of Ward Village’s commercial boom, many homeowners in Ward were also Ward business owners and employees or PB&W railroad employees. Pennock E. Sharpless, owner of the Sharpless Creamery, built a large Victorian mansion in 1890 across Concord Road from his creamery. Lewis E. Buckley, general store owner and Ward post master in the 1880s, built a Folk Victorian house in 1886 across Concord Road from the mill complex. John Hart, a Ward blacksmith, built his Victorian home in the 1890s as well. Ward Village is also home to the Thomas Marshall House, also known as “Handwrought,” which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its significant example of 19th century architecture. Ward Village is a prime example of how villages within Concord Township were centered around mills and other major nodes of industry. Today, Ward Village is composed of both private residences and commercial and retail businesses. Il Granaio, the beloved Italian restaurant housed in the former Richards & Schrader feed store, has been adaptively re-used. The Thomas Speakman house is currently used for the commercial office space of Zizza Highway Services. The train station no longer exists, but there are remains of train tracks in the vicinity. Approx. 14 Remaining Historic Inventory Resources Ward, 1924 St. John’s Church P.E. Sharpless Company creamery in Ward, c. 1910s Concord Road and downtown Ward, 1940s Concordville Train Station in Ward


Concordville is one of the first established historic villages in Concord Township. Geographically, it consists of the intersection of Baltimore Pike and Concord Road, which were both laid out by William Penn’s surveyors. The original path of Baltimore Pike lay roughly along the driveway that separates today’s Concord Friends Meetinghouse from the ‘Grange’ building (today’s Senior Center). The buildings on Concord Road at the intersection of Thornton Road and the Concord Friends Meeting constitute the Concordville National Register Historic District. Modern Concordville is larger, including houses and businesses along Route One, and extending further down Concord Road. Many of these buildings qualify for inclusion on the National Register. The oldest buildings in Concordville represent colonial architecture and play a vital role in communicating the historical significance of the village. Many of them are included in the National Register Historic District of Concordville, and several of them are stand-alone National Register buildings. The Concord Friends Meeting House was built in 1728, and is a prime example of colonial Quaker architecture, as well as an important role in the religious background of Concordville. The Concord Friends Meeting is one of the oldest Quaker meetings in the country, and is still an active meeting today. The Orthodox Friends Meeting house was established next door in 1837. The Nicholas Newlin House (and the Sam Trimble-Norris Scott House are both other examples of colonial-period architecture in the village, and represent important historic figures in the township. While the historic district of Concordville contains buildings dating back to colonial times, the village at large developed rapidly around the mid to late 1800s, when tradesmen and business owners moved to homes along Baltimore Pike and Concord Road and opened various businesses and institutions from general stores, an inn, schools, and trades businesses. The portion of the village along Baltimore Pike represents various homes with Victorian architecture, and housed prominent members of Concord Township society. The Robert A. Hance House represents Victorian architecture, and was home to the son of Samuel Hance, the founder of the Brandywine Camp Meeting and president of the Board of School Directors Robert Hance himself was a church sexton, and important member of Concordville society. The Lewis P. Green House is another example of a modest Victorian home along Baltimore Pike, and was home to one of the first Concord Township Supervisors. Several other Victorian houses along Baltimore Pike were home to skilled laborers. The Joseph Wells House was home to Mr. Wells, a prominent carpenter and builder who employed many men from the township. The E.W. Green House was home to another local carpenter, while the Jesse Kersey Jester House was home to a well-known stonemason, and his father in law, Henry Boozer, who was a local shoemaker. The Isaac Cornogg House is an example of an upper middle class Victorian home, and housed one of the most influential families in Concordville. The Cornoggs were blacksmiths, grocery store owners, postmasters, and Concord Township supervisors. Other important historical buildings stood as stores, an inn, and schools. The Isaac Cornogg General Store was built in the 1870s, and served as both a bustling grocery and dry goods store as well as the Concordville Post Office. The Joseph Derry House was a private home and ice cream shop in the village. Two schools were built in Concordville: one public and one private. The #1 School was built along Baltimore Pike, while the Maplewood Institute was a private boys school that enrolled many children from prominent upper-middle class Concordville families. Later, this property was used for a Catholic orphanage and school known as Dante’s Orphanage beginning in the 1920s and operating until the late 1960s. The Concordville Inn was developed out of a 1794 home during the 1820s, and served as both a hotel and tavern within the village. Today, Concordville is a mix of residential, commercial, and municipal buildings. Baltimore Pike is a major road with heavy traffic, and many of the buildings along the Pike are a commercial. The Concord Road portion of Concordville represents more residential buildings. Looking down Concord Road from Route 1 — St. John’s Chapel; photo c. 1910-1912 Route 1 south through Concordville, 1940 Concordville Fire Department, 1928. Canby Darlington and Pete Robinson, founders of Concordville Fire Co. Concordville Post Office, 1944


Markham Village is located in the valley of the West Branch of Chester Creek where Cheney Road intersects Baltimore Pike. The village consists of the Newlin Mill Historic District. Markham Village, named for the first governor of the colony of Pennsylvania, holds some of the oldest and historically significant buildings in Concord Township. Its historic buildings span from the 1680s to 1850s, and represent a mix of Colonial-era houses and tenant houses, a Colonial-era grist mill, American Revolution-era farmhouses, and Georgian-style houses. Markham Village initially developed around the milling industry starting with the Newlin Grist Mill in the early 1700s. The grist mill was the prime economic industry in the village other than other smaller mills and land farming. The grist mill operated from 1704 to 1941, and is currently used today as a museum and historical park. Other mills, such as smaller saw and paper mills, were built along Chester Creek and on surrounding properties. Markham’s residential homes were constructed mainly around the booming mill industry in the area, and represent colonial-era architecture and stone masonry. The earliest homes at the end of the 1600s and early 1700s were built in support of the saw and grist mills developing along Concord Creek. The Thomas King – Thomas West House is one such early stone house built by an original township land-owner, Thomas King, in 1684, and was built near his saw mill on the creek. The Nicholas Newlin – Casper Sharpless House is another example of an early stone residential house, this time built in support of the Newlin Grist Mill complex. This building became home to two owners of the Newlin Grist Mill: Nicholas Newlin and Casper Sharpless, the latter quiring the mill in 1835 as well as becoming one of the school directors for the Concord public school system. The William Trimble House is another example of mill-centric living. William Trimble owned a saw mill along the Chester Creek in the 1750s, after which his grandson, also named William Trimble, opened a paper mill on the property from 1797 to 1817. William Trimble purchased the Newlin Grist Mill property In 1817. The Joseph Trimble – Jesse Palmer House, also known as “Scotland Farm,” is an example of a Georgian mansion that incorporated an earlier stone house into its construction. The mansion was home to prominent upper class citizens, and at one point to Alexander Scott in 1856, founder of the successful Scott Lumber Yard in neighboring Ward Village. While many residential houses in Markham were home to mill and business owners, many historical properties here were tenant homes, indicative of the booming mill economy and home to the employees and laborers that worked here. The Polecat Road House and Thomas Newlin – Leedom Tenant House are two such structures that represent the living quarters of working class families and individuals within the mill industry. As the village grew into the 19th century, it became home to the Markham Station stop on the Octoraro Branch of Baltimore Central Railroad in the 1870s, one of three stops in Concord Township. The only fatal railroad accident in Concord Township occurred at Markham Station in 1899, when three men were killed by a runaway train. The Markham Post Office was established in 1892 with Joseph B. Smith as the first postmaster, and operated until 1943. Today, Markham Village encompasses the Newlin Grist Mill historic district, while many new build subdivisions surround the historic properties. Newlin Grist Mill and Markham Train Station Nicholas Newlin Mill Polecat Road House