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History

History

There are currently 293 blog entries related to this category.

  With only a week until the "Unofficial" Start to Summer hopefully you've got your plans in order! If not...here's a full list of everything happening from Philly to the Shore!   Celebrating Memorial Day in Philadelphia:  Fireworks, Pop-Up Beer Gardens & more...Philly has a jam pack weekend of activities for everyone this Memorial Day! Beginning this time next week, the Blue Cross Blue Shield RiverRink will open for the summer. The RiverRink is home to an outdoor roller rink, carnival rides & a mini-golf course. There's enough to keep the kids busy while you enjoy a nice cold one while relaxing in the outdoor lawn chairs! If you're more into the adults-only scene, Penn's Landing is offering, for the first time, Waterfront Day. Beginning on…
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Wayne HotelThere's loads of history in the Main Line's suburban communities, but Wayne is the only suburb that is itself a historic landmark: its core residential and business districts are all National Register Historic Districts, and the Wayne Hotel, above, is a National Historic Landmark.

The first development to take place in what is now Wayne was "Louella," a subdivision begun in the mid-19th century by a banker named J. Henry Askin. Intended as a community of homes for the well-to-do, Askin got no further than building his own home and a few others before he ran into financial difficulties.

In 1880, banker Anthony J. Drexel and newspaper publisher George Childs together purchased Askin's 293-acre tract plus several adjacent parcels and began construction

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Radnor High School in 1893. The original building in Wayne no longer exists; the current high school in Radnor is larger and has more and better facilities.

Radnor Township is as old as Pennsylvania itself: it was settled in 1681 by Welsh Quakers, who Pennsylvania's founder, William Penn, granted a large tract of land where they could worship freely and ultimately govern themselves. Their goal of a separate county never materialized, and their numbers shrank over the decades after they established themselves in the "Welsh Tract," but their legacy lives on in the Welsh names of several Main Line communities, including Radnor, and six of the eleven townships that lie in the Welsh Tract  - Radnor, Haverford, Upper and Lower Merion, Willistown, Tredyffrin,

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St. Thomas of Villanova ChurchAs Villanova the community takes its name from Villanova University, it should come as no surprise that the community's most prominent landmark is St. Thomas of Villanova Church on the Villanova campus.

Villanova's history is tied up with the history of the university that gives the community its name, but the origins of Radnor Township, within which Villanova University lies, stretch back to the founding of Pennsylvania in 1682.

Radnor, whose first European settlers hailed from Radnorshire in Wales, is part of the "Welsh Tract" (aka the "Welsh Barony") that William Penn granted to Welsh Quakers seeking to exercise their religion freely. For its first 150 years of existence, the area around present-day Villanova was divided into large farmsteads and

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Joseph Sinnott Mansion, "Rathalla," the Joseph Sinnott Mansion, today houses Rosemont College.

Rosemont, like the rest of the Welsh Barony, received its first English (or rather Welsh) settlers in 1682-83, and a bit of the community's 18th-century history survives. But its most distinctive landmarks, including one of the Main Line's few distinctively working-class neighborhoods, are products of the 19th century.

Let's start with that working-class community, whitch we've mentioned in earlier posts in this series. Garrett Hill's first European settlers arrived there in 1682 as they did in the rest of the Welsh Tract, but for most of its early history it was known as James Hill, after those first settlers (David James and his family), then as Methodist Hill, after the

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Bryn Mawr gets its name from this 1704 farmhouse built by Welsh Quaker Richard Ellis. We now know it as Harriton, the name its next owner gave it.

Bryn Mawr, nee Humphreysville, has a pretty impressive past and an equally rich present, thanks to some of the institutions and landmarks located within it.

The community takes its present-day name from the farm Quaker Rowland Ellis built on 800 acres of land purchased from William Penn in 1683. The name means "great hill" in Welsh. The two-story stone farmhouse, which still stands today, was purchased along with most of the land by Maryland tobacco planter Richard Harrison in 1718; Harrison renamed the farm "Harriton," the name bestowed on the Lower Merion School District's second high school, which is

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Merion Friends MeetingThe Merion Friends Meeting, built in 1695, is a National Historic Landmark and the second-oldest Friends meeting house in the country.

While Merion Station may be an early-20th-century model suburb, it has a history that stretches back further than that.

All the way back to the Welsh Quakers who settled the general area not long after William Penn first set foot in what became Pennsylvania in 1682.

Some of those Quakers built a meeting house in what is now Merion Station in 1695. Located on one of the main roads that connected Philadelphia with the Welsh Quaker farms in the hinterlands, the Merion Friends Meeting (615 Montgomery Avenue, at Meeting House Lane) is a National Historic Landmark and the second-oldest Friends meeting house in the

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1690 HouseWhile it's actually a few years older, the 1690 House in Gladwyne is the oldest survivng structure in Lower Merion Township.

You might not guess this from looking at many of the homes in Gladwyne today, but the community started out as a mill village in the 17th century. Gladwyne sits astride Mill Creek, the largest stream flowing through Lower Merion Township, as it passes over several falls on its way to the Schuylkill River. The community of Merion Square grew up around one of those mills, and while the mill itself has vanished, many of the historic structures remain, and they make up the core of the Mill Creek Historic District, which stretches along Old Gulph Road where it meets Mill Creek Road.

The oldest of the structures in this

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Lower Merion AcademyThe Lower Merion Academy in Bala Cynwyd was the first public school in Montgomery County. Still owned by the Lower Merion School District and situated between Cynwyd Elementary and Bala Cynwyd Middle schools, the building now serves as the home of the Lower Merion Historical Society.

The first inhabitants of today's Bala Cynwyd were members of the Unami tribe of the Lenape people, a loose confederation of tribes under the Algonquin nation. The Unami—the "people from down river"—established a village named Netopcum on the banks of the Ganonoshwanna, now the Schuylkill, near where present-day City Avenue crosses it.

Not long after William Penn established his colony of Pennsylvania on Lenape land in 1682, Welsh Quakers seeking to practice their

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View of Center City skyline from East Girard Avenue in Fishtown. Photo by M. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia.Fishtown offers residents and visitors more than just a pretty view of Center City. It's a proud neighborhood, rich in history, that's gotten a new lease on life thanks to new arrivals who have discovered its strong bones and many charms. But how did Fishtown become Fishtown? Read on. Photo by M. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia.

Longtime Fishtowners point with pride to the neighborhood's intimate character and industrial heritage. All that has been joined more recently by an influx of new residents with an entrepreneurial spirit and a broader outlook on the world. The new arrivals have made Fishtown a happening place, but we'll bet they have very little idea of all the things that have happened here already.

Longtime Fishtowners can probably rattle

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