Gladwyne is one of the most affluent suburban communities in Montgomery County and is located on the Philadelphia Main Line. It was ranked the 7th richest ZIP code in the country in a study by Bloomberg BusinessWeek a few years ago.
There are four churches, a synagogue, a library, two schools, the Gladwyne fire company, the Gladwyne Civic Association, the Stony Lane Swim Club, playgrounds, parks, businesses, and retail shops within the confines of Gladwyne.
The historic Guard House Inn is also located in the small shopping village. Philadelphia Country Club on its periphery.
Because the town was early to preserve space and has received many donations of land, developers have not subdivided the area into more typical suburban developments, so the area retains a mixture of farm, colonial town, and late 19th/early 20th housing uncharacteristic of other Main Line communities.
Gladwyne, known until 1891 as "Merion Square", originally was settled by Welsh Quakers beginning in 1682. It was given its new name to lessen confusion with the many "Merions" in the area, including the town of Merion, Lower Merion Township, and Upper Merion Township, and in imitation of the Welsh names of adjoining towns.
Twenty-four mills operated along Mill Creek through the beginning of the twentieth century. The major road through residential Gladwyne, Mill Creek, runs along the banks of the creek. Following construction of the Pennsylvania Railroad's Main Line west from Center City, wealthy Philadelphians located many of their summer homes here.
The development of the Schuylkill Expressway (I-76) in the 1960s and the subsequent development of King of Prussia as a major business center increased Gladwyne's appeal, as it was the Main Line town situated closest to the Expressway and midway between King of Prussia and Center City Philadelphia.
The Gladwyne Elementary School (part of Lower Merion School District) and Gladwyne Free Library (part of the Lower Merion Library System) are also situated in the shopping area. Gladwyne has retained all of its original historic character and at the same time the residents enjoy the conveniences of modern suburban living, such as a centrally located supermarket with ample parking, pharmacy, tavern, and restaurants.
Many children attend one of the area's many private schools. Lower Merion schools maintain an excellent reputation and its public schools are frequently ranked among the best in the nation, public or private. Most schools have recently been renovated.
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