Cultural Heart Of USA Is Delco — The cultural heart of America in the last century was not New York or LA but little old Delaware County, Pa. which is to Philadelphia almost as Staten Island is to the Bronx.
Feel free to laugh, who after all would call Staten Island a cultural center and the typical resident of Delco is more often perceived as what is described in this link rather than one wearing whatever it isthat happens to be in fashion on Rodeo Drive.
But the facts are what the facts are.
What brings this up is that Forbes Magazine just ranked Swarthmore and Haverford colleges as 7th and 14th best in the nation. U.S. News & World Report has ranked Villanova as the top school for its category. All are in Delaware County. Granted all of them are vastly overrated and if one should want an education that would be actually useful in the real world, Widener — also in Delaware County — would be a much better choice. Recognition is recognition, though, and for BSing and brown-nosing ones way to power, influence and an easy workload a degree from Swarthmore can’t be beat.
None of which, however, has anything to do with the overwhelming effect Delaware County has had on American society since the end of World War II.
Arguably, the most influential American book of the second half of the 20th century — not necessarily a good thing — is Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. Where does it start? In Delaware County. A fictional location, yes, but a fictional location in Delaware County, nonetheless, since Pencey Prep is based on Valley Forge Military Academy in Radnor Township, the expulsion from which was the inspiration for Salinger.
Arguably, the most influential American artist of the second half of the 20th century was Andrew Wyeth. His home was Chadds Ford and much of his paintings were set in the area.
Indisputably, the most influential form of music on the entire world of the second half of the 20th century is rock and roll. Credit for starting it most often goes to Bill Haley & His Comets, who were from and worked from Chester.
The county has made a bit of a mark in music, actually. One of the two best female blues singers of the last century, Ethel Waters, was born in Chester. The other, Bessie Smith, is buried in Sharon Hill. Jim Croce and Todd Rundgren both come from Upper Darby, while Tom Keifer, leader of hair band Cinderella, and the late Robert Hazard came from Springfield.
So, Delaware Countians as you sip your Wawa frozen cappuccinos ponder the influence you’ve had on the world at large.