The Charter House: Where Media Borough Began

Have you ever passed by Plymouth Hall at 20 Veterans Square? Then you have passed the spot where Media was born. Originally a cornfield, it was the place where the first plots that were going to be the new Borough of Media were auctioned off. In 1850 the building that is there today was built and named  The Charter House. The Charter House was Media’s premiere hotel and became a popular destination for summer vacationers. 

The Borough of Media was founded as a dry Borough and the Charter House became a popular place for guests to meet and socialize temperately. People came to Media to  do business at the Courthouse, and to spend their summer vacation at the Charter House. Previously a State St. address (as it was facing State St at the time), The Charter House had a massively beautiful suburban style garden in front of an attached porch. It was a very desirable place for a quiet place out of the city in the summer months. Additionally, it served as a public meeting place for the newly formed Borough Council until the first Borough Hall was built. 

The hotel became past its prime after fifty or sixty years, and had lost its appeal as a hotel after the repeal of prohibition, when Media stopped being a dry Borough. At this time they tried such extreme measures to fill the rooms as parading an elephant with a sheet draped over it saying Charter Hotel. Unfortunately this was ultimately unsuccessful, and in 1950 it was converted from a luxury hotel into luxury apartments by a famous local developer. This was when it became Plymouth Hall. 

Although many hotels do have spooky stories, the Plymouth Apartments are not haunted; except there was an incident with Ronald Reagen and his Secret Service taking legal guns from the residents at the apartments in 1984. This is a story you will have to check out in Matt Lake and Laurie Hull’s book, Media Gothic.

If ever passing by Plymouth Hall, you now know that you will be passing by the true birthplace of everybody’s hometown, Media, PA. 

Credit to the historical information in this piece goes to Matt Lake, co-author with Laurie Hull of Media Gothic . Credit for photography goes to the Media Historic Archives. Matt and Laurie currently run a Media Gothic Walking Tour exploring historic places in Media which inspired the book. Matt Lake is a magazine and book editor with freelance writing bylines in dozens of publications including The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and Popular Science. He is best known for his work on the Weird U.S. book series and locally for co-founding the Media dark history walk. If you would like to purchase tickets for the Media Gothic Walking Tour please click here.