Media was little more than a crossroads village until 1847 when, because of its central location within the county and on the chief road, Baltimore Pike (U.S. 1), it was designated the county seat. Joseph Fox laid out the town in 1847 following the Pennsylvania model of a grid of streets with rear alleys paralleling each block face. It is mainly a Victorian post–Civil War town with a few stone buildings in turn-of-the-twentieth-century styles, fashions that were quickly relinquished for the Colonial Revival that continued even after World War II. Media is now the principal economic center of the county.
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