The borough of New Hope provides an example of how an old town whose economy was based on industry has morphed into a community that draws its strength from the arts, tourism, and a unique spirit of independence and nonconformity. Today, New Hope has the image of a tourist town with a heritage profound in its roots in theater, art and the antiques trade. It was not always so.
A hundred years ago, New Hope was an industrial town, with mills that employed its few hundred citizens. Around that time, a few artists moved into the neighborhood, attracted by the beauty of the Delaware River valley, the old stone farmhouses, barns and mills. Few of the people who worked in the mills probably noticed. They were busy grinding grain, manufacturing paper, or quarrying stone. The products of their work found their way into the wider world by means of canal boats or the railroad.
Today, the gristmills are ruins or registered historic buildings, the paper mills have been converted into condominiums and shopping areas. The canal is a state park that is ever more difficult to maintain, and the railroad carries mostly excursionists.
New Hope, PA 18938