Havertown as we know it today did not exist.
Back then, the U.S. Post Office Department simply took the words “Haverford Township” and crunched them together into “Havertown.”
“They thought they were making an improvement, because before then everyone in the Llanerch service delivery area technically had an Upper Darby post office address,” says Richard Kerr, a member of the Haverford Township Historical Society Board of Directors. But in that they created “a brand new word that has confused people ever since.”
The neighborhoods that people used to say they lived in (Chatham Park, Llanerch, Brookline, Coopertown, and on and on) live on in the names of civic organizations, schools and in daily use. But they don’t live on in mailing addresses. And neither does Upper Darby within Haverford Township.
Before “suburbanization” swept in, our areas were made up of farms and little settlements where the general stores would become post offices. As development increased the post office had to start defining territories and some of the some names stuck, Kerr said. Now, “government lines and post office lines seem to have no correlation,” he said. “Most people don’t give it much thought.”
So what about the ‘Haverford’ in Lower Merion Township?
Kerr explains: That too is just a post office name, renamed from “Haverford College” in 1892. Actually, the first post office called “Haverford” was in the center of Haverford Township from 1830 until 1882, when it was renamed “Manoa,” so technically Haverford Township also has first claim to the “Haverford” post office name. If you look carefully at the signs entering that area of Lower Merion Township (on Railroad Avenue alongside Haverford College, for example), you will see that they say “Village of Haverford College” and not just “Haverford.”