Merion Station, Pennsylvania
|Elevation||233 ft (71 m)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (EST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
|Area code(s)||610 and 484|
Merion Station (also known as Merion) is west of Philadelphia, which it borders. It is one of the communities that make up the storied Philadelphia Main Line, and is part of the municipality of Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Merion Station is known for its grand mansions and for the wealth of its residents.
One of the towns that make up the storied Philadelphia Main Line, it is contiguous to the Overbrook and Overbrook Park neighborhoods of City of Philadelphia and is also bordered by Lower Merion Township's unincorporated communities of Wynnewood and Bala Cynwyd, and the borough of Narberth.
Merion Meeting House was built at the present intersection of Montgomery Avenue and Meetinghouse Lane in 1695 by Welsh settlers.
The community was named after Merionethshire, Wales, the native home of a large share of the first settlers. Merion is often referred to as "Merion Station," as this is the place name that the United States Postal Service recommends using in order to distinguish Merion from other areas in Pennsylvania with similar names. However, the historical name of the town, used by historical figures such as Theodore Roosevelt, is Merion.
Merion Civic Association
The Merion Civic Association was organized in 1913 by Edward W. Bok with the motto "To be Nation right and State right, we must first be Community right." The Merion Civic Association made several important improvements to Merion such as paving, better lighting, cast-iron street signs, better fire and police protection, and planned tree-planting. President Theodore Roosevelt wrote an article in 1917 for Bok's magazine entitled "Model Merion."
After World War I, the Merion Civic Association sought to construct a community center in memorial to the 81 men from Merion Station who served in the armed forces during the conflict. Eldridge R. Johnson, the founder and president of the Victor Talking Machine Company, donated his house on Hazelhurst Avenue to this cause. The house was demolished and a new Merion Tribute House was built on its foundation. It was built with careful attention to detail, with Gothic patterns and local stone. The stone was shaped on site and window mullions all hand cut to match. The Tribute House is still used today for meetings of the Merion Civic Association and is supported by renting the space for parties or meetings. Merion also has its own public elementary school—Merion Elementary of the Lower Merion School District on South Bowman Avenue.
The institution for which Merion Station was singularly world-renowned was the Barnes Foundation, an important art collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings amassed by drug entrepreneur Albert C. Barnes that since the 1920s had been housed in a granite mansion with gardens on Latches Lane. The Barnes collection has been moved to a newly designed museum building on Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Center City Philadelphia that includes a replication of Barnes's original gallery in Merion.
In addition to public Merion Elementary, Catholic, all-girls Merion Mercy Academy and its feeder school, Catholic, coeducational Waldron Mercy Academy, and Kohelet Yeshiva High School, formerly Stern Hebrew High School, are located found in Merion Station. Before its campus change to Bryn Mawr, Akiba Hebrew Academy was located in Merion Station as was Episcopal Academy prior to its campus consolidation in Newtown Square.
Merion Botanical Park is located between Merion Road and the railroad tracks and City Line Ave and Civic Center Drive.
Saint Joseph's University straddles City Avenue. It also purchased and repurposed the former Episcopal Academy campus on the Merion Stationside of the Avenue to contain classroom and student activity buildings. The University bought and renovated Merion Gardens Apartments, at the northwest corner of the East Wynnewood Road/City Avenue intersection, for student housing.
The Paoli/Thorndale Line, originally part of the Pennsylvania Railroad, was built through Merion station in the late 19th century. Most SEPTA trains heading east to Philadelphia or west to Thorndale stop at Merion Station, located in the center of Merion Station.
Other public transportation options in Merion Station include the SEPTA Route 44 buses that travels along Old Lancaster Road and Montgomery Avenue between Ardmore and Center City, some of which stop at the Narberth Station; the SEPTA Route 65 bus that traverses the length of City Line Avenue; and the SEPTA Route 105 bus that runs the entire length of the Main Line along Lancaster Avenue (Route 30) and stops at the Wynnewood Shopping Center. All are within walking distance of Merion Station.
Demographics and government
Merion Station is located in zipcode 19066. Lower Merion Township is responsible for all governance.
According to the United States Census, 2000 Merion Station has 5,951 residents, 93.6% of whom are White; 2.1% are Black or African American; 2.7% are Asian; and 1.3% are Hispanic or Latino. 95.1% have a high school diploma or higher and 76.7% have a bachelor's degree or higher. 9.4% were born in a foreign country. 12.3% speak a language other than English at home, and out of that percentage the number that speak Hebrew at home is 10.1%. The median household income in 1999 was $103,229, and 2.7% of individuals were below the poverty line.
Merion Station has a comparatively large Jewish population and serves as home to Adath Israel, a Conservative Jewish congregation. Its Orthodox Jewish population is served by Lower Merion Synagogue on Old Lancaster Road, Aish HaTorah on Montgomery Avenue and the Chabad Center of the Main Line, located in the historic former General Wayne Inn on Montgomery Avenue. Reform Jews in Merion are likely to travel a mile west up Montgomery Avenue to Main Line Reform Temple-Beth Elohim, to Gladwyne's Beth David Congregation, or to Congregation Rodeph Shalom on North Broad Street in Center City.
The main commercial area of Merion Station is located along Montgomery Avenue east and west of its intersection with Old Lancaster Road and extends into neighboring Bala Cynwyd, officially known as the Merion-Cynwyd Commercial District. It includes restaurants, gift shops and other stores, and local landmarks more than a half century old whose reputations extend well beyond Merion Station's limits, notably Hymie's Merion Delicatessen, The Tavern Restaurant, Murray's Delicatessen, Babis's Pharmacy, Bob Wark's Liberty Service Station, Bala Pizza, and the Township Cleaners.
Merion Station is served by Lankenau Medical Center which is part of the larger Main Line Health Systemwhich includes Bryn Mawr Hospital and Paoli Hospital. Lankenau, on Lancaster Avenue (U.S. Route 30) in nearby Wynnewood near the Overbrook border, has traditionally been affiliated with either Jefferson or Hahnemann (now Drexel) colleges of medicine and is always (with Bryn Mawr and Paoli) on the list of the nation's top community hospitals. The Lankenau Hospital campus includes affiliated doctors' office and medical services in Medical Building East, Medical Build West and Saunders House, a rehabilitation facility, is located adjacent to Lankenau Hospital.
The community north of Montgomery Avenue surrounding General Wayne Park is usually referred to as Merion Park and is in the same zipcode as Merion Station. It was built by developer Ralph Madway decades after the closing of the General Wayne Racetrack that once drew thousands of spectators to Merion for horse races on the green now the Park's grounds and bounded by Maplewood and Revere Roads.
- Albert C. Barnes, MD, world-renowned art collector of the 1920s and creator of the Barnes Foundation
- Edward W. Bok, magazine editor and publisher and Curtis Publishing Company executive
- Wendell P. Bowman, Pennsylvania National Guard major general
- Kate DiCamillo, author, spent her early childhood in Merion
- Sophie Drinker, pioneering musicologist
- Ted Eisenberg, Guinness World Record holding breast surgeon and professional knife thrower
- Rob Evans, Christian children's songwriter and performer, best known as The Donut Man
- Paul Makler Jr. (born 1946), Olympic fencer
- Chaim Potok, author of The Chosen and My Name is Asher Lev and other novels, was a long-time Merion resident
- Georg Ludwig von Trapp and his family, depicted in The Sound of Music, settled temporarily in Merion after escaping Europe
Points of interest
- The Arboretum of the Barnes Foundation
- Barnes Foundation
- General Wayne Inn
- Merion Friends Meeting House, oldest in Pennsylvania and second oldest in the United States
- National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- Espenshade, A. Howry (1925). Pennsylvania place names. State College, PA: The Pennsylvania State College. p. 245.[permanent dead link]
- Merion Civic - Frequently Asked Questions
- Bok, Edward. The Americanization of Edward Bok. New York, Scribners, 1923.
- Joel Fram, "Volunteer of the week" The Main Line Times, (Volume 77, No. 28, July 12, 2007 - July 18, 2007) page 2.
- Jones, Dick. The First Three Hundred: The Amazing and Rich History of Lower Merion. Ardmore: Lower Merion Historical Society, 2001.
- Barnes Foundation. Great French Paintings from the Barnes Foundation. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1995.
- Andrew Solomon: Sensation. NYT, May 11, 2003 - review of: Anderson, John. Art Held Hostage: The Battle Over the Barnes Foundation. Boston: W. W. Norton, 2003.
- Agreement Finalized With St. Joseph's University - August 18, 2005
- Potok, Chaim. A Collection of Five Books by Chaim Potok. New York: Fawcett Crest, 2000.
- The von Trapp Story | Trapp Family Lodge