Jump to content

Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania

Coordinates: 40°08′22″N 75°04′02″W / 40.13944°N 75.06722°W / 40.13944; -75.06722
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Borough of Bryn Athyn
Location of Bryn Athyn in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
Location of Bryn Athyn in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
Bryn Athyn is located in Pennsylvania
Bryn Athyn
Bryn Athyn
Location of Bryn Athyn in Pennsylvania
Bryn Athyn is located in the United States
Bryn Athyn
Bryn Athyn
Bryn Athyn (the United States)
Coordinates: 40°08′22″N 75°04′02″W / 40.13944°N 75.06722°W / 40.13944; -75.06722
CountryUnited States
 • TypeCouncil-manager
 • MayorKenneth Schauder
 • Total1.93 sq mi (5.00 km2)
 • Land1.93 sq mi (5.00 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
292 ft (89 m)
 • Total1,272
 • Density658.73/sq mi (254.32/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP Code
Area code(s)215, 267, and 445
FIPS code42-09696

Bryn Athyn is a home rule municipality in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. It was formerly a borough, and its official name remains "Borough of Bryn Athyn". The population was 1,375 at the 2010 census. It was formed for religious reasons from Moreland Township on February 8, 1916. Bryn Athyn is surrounded by Lower Moreland Township.[3]

"Bryn Athyn" was intended to mean "Hill of Unity" by its founders. "Bryn" is Welsh for "hill"; the source of "athyn" is unclear.[4][5]

Bryn Athyn is located 60.1 miles (96.7 km) southeast of Allentown and 19.9 miles (32.0 km) north of Philadelphia.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 1.9 square miles (4.9 km2), all land.[6]


Historical population

As of the 2010 census, Bryn Athyn was 92.5% White, 2.7% Black or African American, 2.5% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian, and 1.8% were two or more races. 1.2% of the population were of Hispanic or Latino ancestry [1].

As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 1,351 individuals, 377 households, and 292 families residing in the borough. The population density was 706.5 inhabitants per square mile (272.8/km2). There were 381 housing units at an average density of 199.3 per square mile (77.0/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 96.82% White, 1.04% African American, 0.07% Native American, 1.26% Asian, 0.22% from other races, and 0.59% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.67% of the population. 17.9% were of German, 15.5% English, 11.8% American, 6.7% Scottish and 6.6% Swedish ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 377 households, out of which 41.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 71.4% were married couples living together, 4.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.5% were non-families. 19.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.21 and the average family size was 3.76.

In the borough, the population was spread out, with 30.2% under the age of 18, 13.8% from 18 to 24, 22.4% from 25 to 44, 16.7% from 45 to 64, and 17.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 94.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.0 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $68,646, and the median income for a family was $76,214. Males had a median income of $48,958 versus $35,000 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $32,737. About 2.4% of families and 3.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.2% of those under age 18 and 4.9% of those age 65 or over.

Politics and government[edit]

Presidential elections results[9]
Year Republican Democratic
2020 37.5% 300 59.0% 472
2016 37.2% 277 49.1% 365
2012 53.6% 388 41.6% 301
2008 47.5% 353 50.2% 373
2004 59.1% 443 39.0 286
2000 67.5% 442 24.6% 161

Bryn Athyn has a city manager form of government with a mayor (Kenneth Schauder) and borough council. The borough is part of the Fourth Congressional District (represented by Rep. Madeleine Dean), the 152nd State House District (represented by Rep. Nancy Guenst) and the 12th State Senate District (represented by Sen. Maria Collett).

Points of interest[edit]

Bryn Athyn Cathedral
Glencairn Museum

Bryn Athyn Historic District[edit]

The Bryn Athyn Historic District, a National Historic Landmark District, includes four historic buildings:

  • Cairnwood Estate was built as a family home for the industrialist John Pitcairn[10] and his wife Gertrude. The building was designed by renowned architectural firm Carrère and Hastings, and the surrounding grounds were designed by Charles Eliot of the landscape design firm Olmsted, Olmsted and Eliot. The building was eventually donated to the Academy of the New Church, and now serves as a special events facility.
  • Bryn Athyn Cathedral serves as the episcopal seat of the General Church of the New Jerusalem, an international Swedenborgian church. Bryn Athyn Cathedral, built in the early 20th century, is renowned for its stained glass collection and for its unusual architecture, which follows the arts and crafts tradition. Its construction was financed by John Pitcairn, and supervised by his son, Raymond Pitcairn.[11]
  • Glencairn was originally the private residence of millionaire philanthropist Raymond Pitcairn. The castle-like building now serves the Academy of the New Church and Bryn Athyn College as Glencairn Museum, housing a collection of mostly religious artwork and artifacts from around the world and is open to the public.[12]
  • Cairncrest was built as a home for John Pitcairn's son, Harold Pitcairn, an aviation pioneer and developer of the autogyro. The building now serves as the central administrative offices for the General Church of the New Jerusalem.

Academy of the New Church and Bryn Athyn College[edit]

Bryn Athyn is also the site of the General Church affiliated Academy of the New Church, which is the parent organization of the Academy of the New Church Secondary Schools, Bryn Athyn College, a divinity school, and the Swedenborg Library (which was named in honor of Emanuel Swedenborg, whose writings constitute the doctrine of the New Church).[13]


Roads and highways[edit]

PA 232 southbound in Bryn Athyn

As of 2006 there were 7.86 miles (12.65 km) of public roads in Bryn Athyn, of which 0.87 miles (1.40 km) were maintained by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and 6.99 miles (11.25 km) were maintained by the borough.[14]

The only numbered highway serving Bryn Athyn is Pennsylvania Route 232, which follows Huntingdon Pike on a north-south route through the borough. Byberry Road, the only other road of significance, passes along the northern and northeastern edges of the borough.

SEPTA service[edit]

Bryn Athyn had commuter train service until January 14, 1983. Service was suspended due to failing train equipment resulting in a lack of ridership. As of 2017, the train station is used as the Bryn Athyn post office.

Though rail service was initially replaced with a Fox Chase-Newtown shuttle bus, patronage remained light. The replacement bus service was far slower and less convenient than the train service it replaced, resulting in the shuttle bus being very unpopular. The travelling public never saw a bus service as a suitable replacement for a rail service.

In the ensuing years, there has been interest in resuming passenger service by Bucks County officials. Neighboring Montgomery County officials are supportive of re-thinking the rail corridor as well, though the belief within SEPTA management is that the section through Lorimer Park and Walnut Hill Station (the only sparsely populated section along the railway) will never generate enough riders to be feasible.

In September 2009, the Southampton-based Pennsylvania Transit Expansion Coalition (PA-TEC) began discussions with township officials along the railway, as well as SEPTA officials, about the realistic possibility of resuming even minimal passenger service to relieve traffic congestion in the region. Plans call for completing the electrification to Newtown, as originally planned in the late 1970s. Both Bucks and Montgomery County officials, as well as state representatives, have been receptive to PA-TEC's efforts, despite SEPTA's overall reservations. However, SEPTA has also confirmed that they are indeed open to revisiting the line if there is strong political support in both counties.[15][better source needed]

All plans for resuming the train service were dropped in 2014 when Montgomery County officials decided to extend the Pennypack Trail over the derelict rail bed.[16]

SEPTA operates the Route 24 bus, a bus that goes from Frankford Transportation Center in Northeast Philadelphia to Southampton. The Route 24 bus goes along Huntingdon Pike while in Bryn Athyn.[17]

1921 wreck[edit]

On December 5, 1921, two Reading Railroad passenger steam trains collided head-on on a blind curve. The impact sent red-hot coals flying forward from each engine, raining down on the wooden passenger cars of the oncoming train. Twenty-seven people were killed and some 70 injured. Most of those killed had 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 without road access for fire equipment. The incident led to a ban on the use of wooden rail cars in order to prevent future disasters of a similar nature.[18]

Public education[edit]

The Bryn Athyn borough is within the Bryn Athyn School District, which does not operate any public schools. The district website cites the small number of children within the borough enrolled in public schools.[19]

90% of school age children attend private schools within the district and the remainder are homeschooled or attend schools in neighboring districts.[citation needed]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "ArcGIS REST Services Directory". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 12, 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Census Population API". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Oct 12, 2022.
  3. ^ "commerce: Fact Sheets - Bryn Athyn Borough". Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. 2006-12-20. Archived from the original on 2008-07-23. Retrieved 2007-09-27.
  4. ^ Gyllenhaal, Ed and Kirsten. "The Naming of Bryn Athyn (1899)". New Church History Fun Facts. Retrieved 2016-05-22.
  5. ^ "Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru (University of Wales Dictionary)". Retrieved 2016-05-22.
  6. ^ "2016 Gazetteer File". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  7. ^ "Census 2020".
  8. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  9. ^ "Montgomery County Election Results". Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
  10. ^ "John Pitcairn", The New York Times, p. 17, 23 Jul 1916
  11. ^ Jaffe, Dennis T.; Jungé, Dirk; Paul, Joseph (2004), "Reinventing a family dynasty" (PDF), Family Business Magazine (Winter), archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-01-06
  12. ^ Gyllenhaal, Charles Edward (2011). The Bryn Athyn Historic District. Arcadia Pub. ISBN 9780738574325. OCLC 694396712.
  13. ^ "Nearby Community of Bryn Athyn". Rydal-Meadowbrook Civic Association. Archived from the original on 2016-11-12.
  14. ^ "Bryn Athyn Borough map" (PDF). PennDOT. Retrieved March 10, 2023.
  15. ^ r8newtown.com [dead link]
  16. ^ Clark, Dan (June 6, 2014). "Montgomery County Commissioners Break Ground on Pennypack Trail Extension over SEPTA Newtown railroad line". The Times Herald.
  17. ^ "February 27, 2022 24 Southampton and Rockledge to Frankford Transportation Center" (PDF). septa.org. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 31, 2022.
  18. ^ Weckselblatt, Gary (1 December 2013). "Bryn Athyn train crash a 'Titantic' disaster". Bucks County Courier Times. Retrieved 20 November 2020.
  19. ^ Home. Bryn Athyn School District. Retrieved on October 8, 2018.

External links[edit]