Located on the Main Line, the unincorporated community of Ardmore, Pennsylvania is home to about 13,000 residents. Only minutes west of Philadelphia, Ardmore sits primarily within Lower Merion Township, with some outlying areas found in Haverford Township in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.
Paying homage to its agrarian roots, Ardmore has preserved many rolling acres of park land, as well as a variety of historical sites. Many of these sites offer visitors a peaceful and inviting change of scenery. Much of the historic architecture in Ardmore remains in tact: Tudor, Victorian and Colonial homes can be found alongside contemporary-style homes and condos.
Ardmore first came into existence as such in 1873, with the advent of the Main Line railroad in the area. Railroad officials suggested that the town, originally named “Athensville” by classicist and physician Dr. James Anderson in 1811, be renamed. The Pennsylvania Railroad renamed the town Ardmore in 1873, per the suggestion of the Reverend George Anderson, pastor of the Lower Merion Baptist Church. The name “Ardmore” comes from the Gaelic, and describes the town’s hills. Many of the recent immigrants to Ardmore at the time were from Ireland, making this name more applicable.
The community of Ardmore is home to about 13,000 residents. It sits primarily in Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County, with parts lying in Delaware County and Haverford Township. The architecture is a blend of historic styles (Tudor, Victorian, and Colonial) along side newer contemporary homes. Ardmore is a mix of suburban convenience and historic charm. The historic downtown area features many antique shops, restaurants and boutiques and is a popular weekend destination for both residents and visitors. Nearby you will find Suburban Square, America’s second oldest shopping center. This center, which has been expanded over the years, offers a diverse blend of local shops and national retailers. With over 264,000 square feet, its blend of shopping, restaurants and outdoor summer concert and event space is a town center where local residents meet and play. The newly expanded Farmers Market is a year round venue and “foodies” delight. Fresh produce, meats and other products are brought here by Lancaster County Farmers. The market includes a multitude of other vendors offering an array of international specialties, cheeses, baked goods, fresh flowers and much more. Ardmore is home to two major township parks with tennis courts, playing fields and playgrounds.
Bala Cynwyd (pronounced “kinwid” or “kinwood”), Pennsylvania is a village in Lower Merion Township. One of the “Main Line” villages in southeastern Pennsylvania, Bala Cynwyd can be found immediately of the west of Philadelphia. Though originally two towns, Bala and Cynwyd, today Bala Cynwyd is referred to jointly, mainly because the US Post office established a joint office for the town. Since that time, the name “Bala Cynwyd” became popular. Both Bala and Cynwyd are still served by separate stations on SEPTA’s R6 Regional Rail line.
One of the most notable features of Bala Cynwyd is the Bala Cynwyd Shopping Center. The shopping center is located on City Avenue or “ City Line Avenue” as it’s called by the locals, as the street forms the border with Philadelphia. The major stores at the shopping center include Lord & Taylor, Acme Markets and LA Fitness, with Saks Fifth Avenue. Montgomery Avenue is another popular shopping area.
Bala Cynwyd is also home to some local Philadelphia television stations such as WCAU and WPVI.
Bala Cynwyd residents are active in their community. Established in 1906, The Neighborhood Club of Bala Cynwyd works to preserve the residential character of the neighborhood and promote civic welfare and community spirit. The Neighborhood Club sponsors the annual Independence Day celebration on July 4th. The fun-filled parade featuring children riding decorated bicycles, clowns, floats and fire trucks begins in front of the Union Fire Association and ends at the Bala Cynwyd Playground.
The Bala Cynwyd area was originally settled by Quaker Welsh colonists in 1682. This same group of colonists settled much of the Lower Merion area at this time. Early settlers farmed the rolling land, creating for themselves a pastoral paradise built upon a foundation of hard-work and civic-mindedness—community values that persist to this day. The name Bala Cynwyd comes from the name of a Welsh town, Bala and another village named Cynwyd. Originally, however, the town was named Merionville with its post office in Academyville. It was the building of the Pennsylvania Main Line that prompted the selection of a name that highlighted the heritage of the original settlers of the area. The president of the Pennsylvania Railroad from 1880 to 1897, George Roberts, also a descendant of the Merionville patriarch John Roberts, allowed his wife to choose the new station names. Mrs. Roberts chose Bala, for the ancestral land in Wales, Cynwyd, and Barmouth because of their Welsh origins. Though both Bala and Cynwyd were separate stations, their proximity to each other prompted the eventual development of the name, “Bala Cynwyd” to describe the area that was once called Merionville.
Translated from the Welch phrase for “High Hill”, the community of Bryn Mawr lies just nine miles west of the city of Philadelphia and is home to approximately 9000 residents. Like Ardmore, Bryn Mawr serves the residents of Delaware and Montgomery Counties and three different townships; Lower Merion, Radnor and Haverford. Bryn Mawr is most famously known for being the home of the nationally recognized Bryn Mawr College but there are many other factors why residents love Bryn Mawr. Premier private schools, fine dining, specialty shopping and elegant homes are just some of the outstanding qualities that draw people to the area.
Bryn Mawr is a very convenient and desirable place to live. Surrounded by eighty acres that comprise Bryn Mawr College, the community is home to The Baldwin School for Girls and The Shipley School. Bryn Mawr Hospital is a large, prestigious presence on the southern part of the town and is part of the Jefferson Medical System. The town area is bustling with national retailers such as Walgreens, Staples, Borders Books and smaller boutiques and charming antiques shops. The Bryn Mawr Film Institute is a non profit, community owned theater and a wonderful added attraction.
Established in 1704 by tobacco farmer Rowland Ellis, Bryn Mawr was first named for the summer residence that he built in the area. In 1869 when The Pennsylvania Railroad was seeking to expand, it bought land in this same area. This land was called Humphreysville, taking its name from the current landowners. When the railroad built roads and communities, they changed the name back to Bryn Mawr. Gradually the summer residences became permanent residences and the town grew quickly. By 1881, the community was thriving and had grown by over 300 houses with 2000 residents. Today Bryn Mawr is thriving with an easy commute to Center City by train or car and just a short drive to the historic Valley Forge park and nearby King of Prussia Mall.
Gladwyne is a quaint suburban community of just under 5000 residents. It is the only Main Line community that does not follow the path of the main line of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Gladwyne has the 14th highest per capita income in the country for its area and population size. It is home to Philadelphia Country Club and the Gladwyne Civic Club. The village of Gladwyne also features a library, several schools, a large park with tennis courts, playgrounds and ball fields, and of course a gourmet market (The Delaware Market) and supermarket. There are a few retail shops and the venerable Gladwyne Pharmacy. It has been able to maintain it’s village quality because it is not “on the beaten track” of the other Main Line Towns.
Gladwyne is the gateway to Center City Philadelphia as the entrance to the expressway is labeled Gladwyne and near the town.
Formerly known as “Merion Square,” Gladwyne was settled by Welsh Quakers in the 1682 but by 1891, the community was given its current name. The change was made to more resemble their stylish Welsh dubbed neighboring townships, though the name “Gladwyne” does not have any real meaning in Welsh. After the Civil War was over, many Pennsylvanians and other Americans began to discover the beauty and tranquility of this small community. Many proceeded to build their summer homes throughout Gladwyne, thus beginning its legacy of upscale living and enjoyment.
With a name taken from a city in the United Kingdom, Haverford Pennsylvania is known as one of Delaware County’s most wealthy communities. Just 10 miles outside of Philadelphia, Haverford is an ideal suburb located partially in Haverford Township but primarily in Lower Merion Township; with access available by road or the SEPTAR5 commuter rail line and the Norristown High Speed Line. Haverford is most famous for being the home of Haverford College and the nation’s oldest country club, the Merion Cricket Club.
Closely bordering the Philadelphia, Merion is a small but historic community located within the Lower Merion Township. Merion is so quaint and small in fact, the three oldest streets in Lower Merion form its boundaries: Old Lancaster Road, City Line Avenue, and Lancaster Avenue. It is mostly residential with large and small turn of the century stone colonials. Merion is home to several township parks and both public and private schools including Friends Central and Waldron-Merion Mercy Academy.
One of Merion’s finest achievement has been the Merion Friends Meetinghouse, which was erected in 1695 at the corner of Montgomery Avenue and Meetinghouse Lane. In 1982 the Merion Friends celebrated their three hundredth anniversary of the founding meeting with the three hundredth birthday of the Meetinghouse building to come shortly afterwards. Merion is extremely proud of the Merion Friends and honored that they have continued to uphold a fine standard on community excellence for all these years.
Located on the Main Line, Narberth is a borough in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. About 4,000 people call Narberth, an enclave totally surrounded by Lower Merion Township, home. No major thoroughfares run through Narberth, though Montgomery Avenue runs along the borough’s northern border.
Only 0.5 square miles in size, Narberth is considered a walking town, with shopping and recreational opportunities, school and the library a short walk from many homes. Narberth is cut in half by the SEPTA railway tracks, creating a North Side and South Side of town. Haverford, Forrest and Essex Avenues comprise Narberth’s small business district with a variety of shops, all of which are convenient to public transportation.
Narberth supports its own Police Department, volunteer Fire Department, Highway Department, Community Library and recreational facilities. Additionally, Narberth works with Lower Merion Township to provide the best possible community services for both communities.
Local Events and Attractions
From summer concerts and festivals, to quiet afternoon teas, Narberth has an amazing variety of events for such a small area. Click here to check out the full Narberth event calendar
Narberth is also home to its own community theatre group. The Narberth Community Theatre is a not-for-profit theater group that involves actors, musicians and backstage personnel of all ages. The group puts on a variety of productions each year.
Attractions in Narberth range from historic buildings to prestigious educational facilities. Below is a partial list of points of interest in Narberth:
The Rees-Price House
Located on Montgomery Avenue, this house was once the house occupied by the founder of Narberth. The small stone structure, located on Montgomery Avenue, is currently occupied by the Hamper Shop of Lankenau Hospital.
The Merion Friends Meeting House
This is one of the oldest continually used Quaker Meeting places of Worship. Recently listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, William Penn worshipped at the Merion Friends Meeting House.
The Bert Bell Historic Marker
Bert Bell is the founder of the National Football League and was aided in starting the league by many local residents. The Pennsylvania Museum Commission installed the marker in 1998 to honor Mr. Bell and his family.
The Barnes Foundation
See a world-renowned collection French Impressionist art. A recent world tour of the valuable art collection allowed the main building on N. Latches Lane in Merion to undergo extensive renovations to better preserve and exhibit the art.
St. Charles Borromeo Seminary
This historic seminary is located on East Wynnewood Avenue, at its intersection with City Avenue, and is also bordered by Lancaster Avenue. The Pope’s visit in 1995 is commemorated by a cross erected at Lancaster Avenue and City Avenue.
Nestled within the townships of Lower Merion and Radnor, the town takes its name from the famous university established there in 1843, Villanova College, now known as Villanova University. Villanova is a coveted area of grand properties with many parcels of land restricted to 2 acres or more. It was originally farm land that was developed into lots for summer residents. It is still mostly residential but easily accessible by vehicular traffic through Route 30 (Lancaster Pike) which follows the path of the Pennsylvania Railroad and Rt 476 which is the gateway to the Schuylkill Expressway (Rt76) and I95. It also has a train station for easy commute to Philadelphia by both train and car.
Wynnewood, Pennsylvania is a suburban community found just outside of Philadelphia on the Main Line. Located in Lower Merion Township, Wynnewood’s history dates back to 1691, when the area was named for William Penn’s physician, Dr. Thomas Wynne. Wynne was also the first Speaker of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Over the years, Wynnewood has grown into a sizeable suburb of about 12,000 residents.
Unlike much of the Philadelphia area, Wynnewood has retained its small-town character through the years. The community is primarily residential, with pockets of shopping and commercial activity in some sections. The Wynnewood Shopping Center is the area’s primary shopping center.
Because Wynnewood and the surrounding areas are so intertwined, Wynnewood residents often enjoy shopping, other parks and recreational opportunities and amenities in nearby communities. The communities of Wynnewood and Ardmore both participate in the ArdWood Civic Association, managing South Ardmore Park that is spread over both communities. Residents enjoy shopping in other communities on the Main Line such as Ardmore or Narberth.
Wynnewood is also home to some notable institutions such as Lankenau Hospital, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Palmer Theological Seminary, and Friends’ Central School.