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A Brief History of Gladwyne, PA

The following snippet on the neighborhood's history has been brought to you by the personal injury attorneys in Gladwyne, PA, at Justice Guardians.


The community of Gladwyne is located within Lower Merion Township in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Some of the neighboring communities include Bryn Mawr, Conshohocken, Manayunk, Narberth, and Ardmore. The Schuylkill River flows along the northern and eastern borders. The town is home to many parks, including Rolling Hill Park, Kenealy Nature Park, and Gladwyne Park.


Until 1891, the greater area was known as Merion Square and was settled by Welsh Quakers as early as 1682. Due to the many other Merions in the area, the name was changed, some of these included:

  • Merion
  • Lower Merion Township
  • Upper Merion Township

At one point, twenty-four mills were operating along Mill Creek. They remained in operation until the beginning of the twentieth century.

Many affluent Philadelphians had their summer homes in the area following the end of the American Civil War and after the construction of the Pennsylvania Railroad's Main Line from Center City. The Schuylkill Expressway, also known as I-76, was completed in the 1960s along with the development of King of Prussia. These inclusions increased the town's appeal, as it was halfway between King of Prussia and Center City. It was also was the town situated closest to the Expressway.

The first elementary school was constructed in 1958, providing education to the new residents. The Gladwyne Free Library was remodeled and expanded as well. Most of the village remained the same, allowing the neighborhood to retain its historical character but with the amenities of a centrally located supermarket, a pharmacy, a tavern, and many restaurants. Today the town is home to the following:

  • four churches and a synagogue
  • a library
  • two schools
  • the Gladwyne fire company
  • the Gladwyne Civic Association
  • the Stony Lane Swim Club

Historical Landmarks

The neighborhood is home to many historical landmarks along with its historic district. The district has 57 buildings that contribute and is known as Merion Square. Many of the structures were once farm worker or mill worker homes. The Guard House Inn and the Gladwyne Library are some of the most known.

Some of the other places of interest throughout the town include:

  • 1690 House - located at the crossing of Mill Creek Road at Old Gulph Road
  • Bridlewild Trail - a 22-mile trail that cuts through the historical farms
  • Rolling Hill Park - a 102-acre park that includes many of the mill ruins 
  • Woodmont - a historic mansion that once belonged to Alan Wood, Jr.
  • Saunders Woods - a historic farm with a colonial house


The neighborhood had 4,050 residents, 1,476 households, and 1,057 families in 2000. Within the population was the following races:

  • 97.22% White
  • 2.34% Asian
  • 0.77% African American
  • 0.32% from other races
  • 0.69% from two or more races
  • 1.09% Hispanic or Latino

Follow along to learn more: All About West Spring Mills, PA 

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100 Presidential Blvd #104
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
(610) 424-2007

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David Petrone
Date Published: November 11, 2021
David Petrone is a personal injury attorney at Justice Guardians.
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