Sadsburyville Is in the Midst of a Bucolic Boom

Chester County's tiny Sadsburyville is growing (mostly) on its own terms.

Five miles west of Coatesville, at the corner of what’s now Old Wilmington Road and Lincoln Highway (Route 30), the Sadsburyville Hotel dates to 1799. A 19th-century expansion was planned with the arrival of rail service, but troubles laying the track swung the Harrisburg Line south, sending travelers to the Stottsville Inn on Route 372 in Pomeroy. As a result, progress in Sadsburyville stalled, and the hotel went through a series of owners.

When Harry Lymberis bought the rundown hotel in 1973, the only thing it had going for it was its cocktail lounge. Emigrating from Greece to Coatesville in 1967, Lymberis had created a unique sauce that put the hot dogs made by his former employer, Midway Grill, on the map. Once he bought the hotel, Lymberis starting selling hot dogs out of the bar. “It was quiet all week, but it was booming on Friday nights,” says his son, John.

In the 50 years since Lymberis and his wife, Athena, opened Harry’s Hotdogs, they’ve added three dining rooms and a lounge to the original bar, and the building is now the focal point of a burgeoning burg. The population of six-square-mile Sadsbury Township saw just single-digit increases for 40 years until 2000, when it jumped to 2,582. It’s now at an estimated 4,125.

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Hundreds of new single-family homes, townhouses and luxury apartments have blanketed what was once rolling farmland. Two business parks have emerged, creating jobs and increasing demand for restaurants, daycare and other services. Perhaps the most telling sign of growth: Two traffic lights have gone up along the Sadsbury segment of Route 30, the nation’s third longest highway, running from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh.

John Lymberis with his father’s famous hot dogs.
John Lymberis with his father’s famous hot dogs.

“Our concern the whole time has been, ‘How do we do this and make it nice?’” says John, whose entrepreneurial spirit was sparked by a childhood working alongside his parents.

A Coatesville Area Senior High School graduate, John came away from his time at Temple University with a degree in architecture. Now 55, he was 25 years old and living near Harrisburg when he got the fateful call from his mother in 1994. Somebody had told Athena about a new public sewer system coming to Sadsburyville that could cost residents $8,000 per tap. “She told me, ‘I don’t know what that is, but you have to come here and figure it out,’” John recalls. “I told [then township supervisor] Doug Durat that nobody was going to go for those costs.”

“Our concern the whole time has been, ‘how do we do this and make it nice?’”
—John Lymberis

John knew a little something about business, and he obviously had a grasp of architecture. His senior thesis on adaptive reuse included a master plan for developing the fields around Sadsburyville to make everything pedestrian-friendly. After his help with a 1992 renovation of Harry’s and the convenience store across the street, customer traffic tripled. “But I knew nothing about sewers,” he admits.

But that didn’t faze Durat, who suggested they run the lines themselves. A $2.2 million plan was put together, and John became the first president of the Sadsbury Sewer Corporation. In the end, tie-in costs for residents were reduced to $2,200. “And I got to learn civil engineering really fast,” John says.

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After the completion of the public sewer, the hills that once kept the rail line away became Quarry Ridge, a development of 156 single-family homes. Then came the 400-unit Sadsbury Park, which was recognized by the Delaware Valley Smart Growth Alliance in 2005. Hindered by recession and pandemic delays, the walkable village was finally completed in 2023, a year after Lafayette Square’s 125 luxury apartments debuted. Another 84 apartments can be found at Sadsbury Square.

Originally from the United Kingdom, Simon Jessey moved into the first house in Sadsbury Park in January 2012. His wife loves living in the country, but she didn’t want to be far from her job in Malvern. Almost from the beginning, Jessey attended township meetings. “It’s fascinating to see how the sausage is made, as it were,” he says.

Jessey went on to chair the township’s parks and recreation department, then became part of its planning commission in 2019, working on a strategy for the shopping corridors under development as Sadsbury Commons. “I’m interested in seeing the township fulfill its potential,” he says. “There’s a lot going on. It’s a chance to make a mark.”

Sadsbury Square
Sadsbury Square

For its part, PennDOT has reconfigured traffic through the township and will adapt current bypass exits. “This prompted us to reconfigure our zoning,” says Jessey. “We want the infrastructure in place to support new businesses near the commons.”

A resident for 20 years, Victoria Horan was a township supervisor from 2008 to 2014, helping to hold things together in Sadsburyville during the 2008 recession. She’s now documenting the township’s history. The village of Sadsburyville was established in 1729 with a land grant from William Penn, and Horan is particularly fascinated by the area’s ties to the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. “I want to give newcomers a sense of place,” she says. 

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And rest assured more newcomers are on their way.

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