Before Coatesville became a city, the only one in Chester County, it was called Bridge-Town, following the two bridges crossing the Brandywine River. A village named “Midway”, named as a result of its station owned by the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad midway between Philadelphia and Lancaster, was formed in 1834 on the western bank of the Brandywine. The village of Midway and the village of Bridge-Town merged in 1867 to become the borough of Coatesville. Coatesville citizens voted to become a city in 1915.
Coatesville exploited the natural energy of the Brandywine River. Jesse Kersey, Moses Coates’ son-in-law, partnered with the ironmaster Isaac Pennock and purchased over 110 acres (0. 45 km2) of Moses Coates’ farm along both sides of the Brandywine River in 1810. They formed the Brandywine Iron Works and Nail Factory, the forerunner of Lukens Steel. Charles Lukens, MD, married Isaac Pennock’s daughter Rebecca in 1813. Following her husband’s death in 1825, Rebecca Lukens took over the operations of the mill, purchasing it from her mother.
She directed operations through an amount of turmoil and market panic, developing it into a prosperous mill. Rebecca Lukens was one of the first women to work a major corporation in the United States.