(condensed version taken directly from the original text by Beverly Kirby)
North Star was founded by a group of engineers who worked at the DuPont, Louviers Building, which was located at the current MBNA sight on Rt-72. In February of 1952, interested parties (approximately 20) gathered to pool their resources and purchased a single tract of ground large enough to provide building lots for all of them. The two farms they purchased included two farmhouses and one frame house. They were called Barnstable Farms and North Star. The price… $130,000!! On the advice of the association’s lawyer, a corporation was formed with the aim of purchasing, developing and selling home sites. Provisions for utilities and roads were included. Each member was asked to advance $250 to finance a $5.000 deposit on the property.
This land had been used exclusively for farming and fox hunting, except for land which was located adjacent to Papermill Road. Until the onset of WWI, clay was extracted from that area by the Peach Kaolin Company.
During the Revolutionary War, a group of Americans on their way to the Battle of the Brandywine dug a shallow trench for overnight shelter. These were evident behind the area where Peach Kaolin was located.
The farm and the one-room school house (now the Chinese Community Center) carried the name ‘North Star’ but historians do not know the origins. One theory put forth was that North Star Road is a true, North/South line, pointing directly to the North Star in the heavens. Another theory, based upon the assumption that there was an underground slave railroad in the area during the Civil War, suggests that ‘North Star’ might have been a code word for locating the escape route.
The 20 original men who were involved in the formation of the North Star Corporation drew numbers to determine the sequence of lot choice. All others who purchased lots and became stockholders of the corporation were assigned selection numbers on a first-come, first-served bases. The first 10 residents employed a builder from Drexel Hill, PA to supervise the construction of their homes.
The two farmhouses and the frame house were exclude from the lot selection and restrictions and so were sold separately. The farmhouse, located at the comer of North Star Rd and Neptune were sold in 1952. The frame house and 5 ½ acres at the base of North Star Rd was also sold. The Barnstable farm and 7 acres were sold too.
The first goals of the corporation were to increase the membership to 100. It limited its jurisdiction to approval of house plans before building began and established some long-standing restrictions which have contributed to the value and beauty of North Star: Also, road and street names were chosen to keep with the flavor of the community name.
In the beginning, North Star controlled its own water supply and formed an independent corporation; The North Star Water Co. Inc. It was managed successfully for many years through voluntary efforts of some of the residents.
Through the early years, crops were harvested, livestock grazed, and portions of the land were leased for token sums to surrounding farmers. In late 1953, arrangements were made with the Conrad Corporation to mortgage North Star for $100,000. As part of the mortgage agreement, the corporation gave Conrad an option to buy 154 acres of the west side of North Star Road for $500 an acre. Conrad later purchased this ground. The $100,000 served to pay off the existing mortgage held by the former owner of the North Star land. These funds were also used to improve the roads and the water system.
By December, 1953, 20 homes had been built and were occupied, with five more under construction! 65 lots had been sold. ‘No Hunting’ signs we’re required as well as chains on tires because of mud, especially on Venus Road. Telephone service offered only eight-party lines in the beginning. Some of the early groups that were formed were the Women’s Association, The Bridge Club and the North Star Gardeners. Community spirit emerged from the isolation of this community in the ‘country’.
In 1957, the Board began to look into improving ‘Section B’, which is the Mercury Road area. A preliminary layout was prepared and discussions took place regarding the sale of these lots. A few lots were sold, but, when the cost of building roads and providing utilities were factored in, the board determined that they would have to take a loss. Section ‘B’ was temporarily delayed and the owners of lots in that section were offered others! Later, in 1960, six acres of land were transferred to the residents for the formation of a swim club.
By the end of 1961, 91 homes had been built. Twenty-five acres in Section D (Mars Road area) had been sold to Hollingsworth Construction Company, which built nine homes that year. But, discussions continued regarding Section B. Hollingsworth offered to purchase the acreage, improve it, and contributed toward the building of a water tower to serve the increase demand brought about by the additional homes. The water tower was built inconspicuously behind homes on Mercury Rd.
A skating pond was established in 1964 when the Corporation issued a lease agreement to the North Star Civic Association. It is located near the base of North Star Road.
In 1966, North Star Road needed to be improved and widened, and at the same time, Artesian Water proposed buying the North Star Water Co. for $45,000. With this purchase, fire hydrants were installed throughout North Star. Also, with most of the developing and selling of land in the North Star area complete, it was decided that the corporation should dissolve because it had fulfilled its mission. In March, 1967, the dissolution and complete liquidation of the Corporation took place. The balance of cash on hand was given to’ the 65 stockholders.
In this condensed version of the History of North Star, names of the many residents who helped make North Star what it is today, have not been mentioned. The original history, compiled by Beverly Homing Kirby in 1978, gives many of those ‘founding fathers’ the credit they deserve. In fact, it is through their sound judgement, perseverance, and optimism that North Star became a fulfillment of their dreams.
If you would like to read the original, detailed history, click here.