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The Historic District of Bryn Athyn, PA

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The sexual assault lawyers in Bryn Athyn, PA, present a detailed excerpt about the area.

Bryn Athyn is an affluent municipality in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. The area spans 1.93 square miles and is located within ZIP code 19009. The area was formerly a borough and its official name remains "Borough of Bryn Athyn".

The Historic District

The name Bryn Athyn was intended to mean "Hill of Unity", Bryn is Welsch for "Hill". The area was founded as a religious community from Moreland Township on February 8, 1916. The founding members belonged to a Christian denomination known as The New Church, followers of the writings of scientist and theologian Emanuel Swedenborg.

Home to the neighborhood is the Bryn Athyn Historic District, a National Historic Landmark District encompassing an important collection of Arts and Crafts movement.

The Historic District was designated in 2008 and encompasses three residential properties associated with the Pitcairn family. The residential properties host four historic buildings all designed by craftsmen employed by the Pitcairn family. The historic buildings include,

The Cairnwood Estate

  • The Cairnwood Estate is a 26,000 square foot historic home built was built in 1895 as a family home for the industrialist John Pitcairn and his wife Gertrude. The building was designed by the architectural firm Carrère and Hastings. The building was eventually donated to the Academy of the New Church and now serves as a special events facility.

Bryn Athyn Cathedral

  • The Bryn Athyn Cathedral serves as the episcopal seat of the General Church of the New Jerusalem, an international Swedenborgian church. The Cathedral, was constructed from 1913-1919 and completed in 1928 and is known for its unusual architecture, which follows the arts and crafts tradition, and stained glass collection.

Glencairn Museum

  • The Glencairn Museum is a castle-like mansion that was home to the Pitcairn family for more than 40 years. Today, the museum contains a collection of approximately 8,000 artworks, mostly religious in nature, from cultures such as ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, and medieval Europe, as well as Islamic, Asian, and Native American works.


  • Cairncrest was a home built for John Pitcairn's son, Harold Pitcairn, an aviation pioneer and developer of the autogyro. The building now serves as the central administrative office for the General Church of New Jerusalem, an international church based on the Old Testament, New Testament, and theological works of Emanuel Swedenborg.

The Historic 1921 Event

In Bryn Athyn, a tragic accident took place on December 5, 1921. On the Bryn Athyn railroad, two passenger steam trains collided head-on on a blind curve. Upon impact, red-hot coals flew forward from each engine, raining down on the wooden passenger cars of the oncoming train.

In the 1921 Train Wreck, twenty-seven people were killed and 70 were injured. Most of those who were killed burned to death, in part because the wooden cars had burned so quickly and also because of the inability of rescue workers to get access to the trains, which were wedged between the rock walls of a cut-through hilly and wooded terrain.

The 1921 Train Wreck led to a ban on the use of wooden rail cars in order to prevent future disasters.

The area of Bryn Athyn is definitely a must-see for anyone looking to observe stunning architecture and learn about the rich history.

If you enjoyed this article, check out History Within Hartboro, PA

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David Petrone
Date Published: May 28, 2021
David Petrone is a personal injury attorney at Justice Guardians.
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