Because of its position on the deep water portion of the Delaware River and its proximity to Philadelphia, Bristol was the first county seat of Bucks County. The democratic urge perhaps stimulated by the bottom-up structure of Quaker meetings soon led to the removal of county government to Newtown in 1726. Nonetheless, Bristol remained the largest community in the county until after the Civil War, with a college (Bristol College by Ithiel Town and A. J. Davis, demolished), mineral spring, and the pleasures of the river creating a mixed working and resort community. In the second half of the nineteenth century, the village made the shift to industry, becoming the site of knitting and weaving mills that attracted a large working class represented by two Roman Catholic churches: St. Mark's Roman Catholic Church (1869) at 1033 Radcliffe Street and the less central St. Thomas Aquinas (1955) by Henry D. Dagit at Bristol Pike and Walnut Street.
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