Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania

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Borough of Bryn Athyn
Home Rule Municipality
Glencairn Museum.jpg
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Montgomery
Elevation 292 ft (89 m)
Coordinates Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
Area 1.9 sq mi (4.9 km2)
 - land 1.9 sq mi (5 km2)
 - water 0.0 sq mi (0 km2), 0%
Population 1,375 (2010)
Density 706.5 / sq mi (272.8 / km2)
Incorporated 1916
Government Council-manager
Mayor Kenneth Schauder
Timezone EST (UTC-5)
 - summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 19009
Area code 215 and 267
Location of Bryn Athyn in Montgomery County
Location of Bryn Athyn in Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the United States

Bryn Athyn is a home rule municipality in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, United States. 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.[1]


Bryn Athyn (Welsh for "very tenacious hill"[citation needed]) is located at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found. (40.139539, -75.067169).[2][citation needed]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 1.9 square miles (4.9 km2), none of which is covered with water.[citation needed]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1920 392
1930 766 95.4%
1940 800 4.4%
1950 913 14.1%
1960 1,057 15.8%
1970 970 −8.2%
1980 947 −2.4%
1990 1,081 14.1%
2000 1,351 25.0%
2010 1,375 1.8%
Est. 2014 1,396 [3] 1.5%
Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democratic
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

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[5] of 2000, there were 1,351 individuals, 377 households, and 292 families residing in the borough. The population density was 706.5 people per square mile (273.1/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

Bryn Athyn has a city manager form of government with a mayor (Kenneth Schauder) and borough council. The borough is part of the Thirteenth Congressional District (represented by Rep. Brendan Boyle), the 152nd State House District (represented by Rep. Tom Murt) and the 12th State Senate District (represented by Sen. Stewart Greenleaf).

Points of interest

Bryn Athyn Historic District

Bryn Athyn is home to the Bryn Athyn Historic District, a National Historic Landmark District. The Historic district includes four historic buildings:

1. Cairnwood Estate was built as a family home for the industrialist John Pitcairn[7] 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.

2. 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.[8]

3. 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.

4. 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

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). The New Church bases its doctrine on the Bible as illuminated by the writings of this Swedish theologian and scientist of the eighteenth century. Emanuel Swedenborg wrote such books as Principles of Chemistry, The Principia, The Economy of the Animate Kingdom and Arcana Coelestia.[9]

Passenger trains

SEPTA service

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 2009, 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.[10]

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.[11]

1921 wreck

In Bryn Athyn's railroad history, a devastating accident took place 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, due in part to the fact that the wooden cars had burned so quickly and the inability of rescue workers to access the trains, given that they were wedged between the rock walls of the 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.

Public education

The Bryn Athyn borough is within the Bryn Athyn School District, which does not operate any public schools. 90% of school age children attend private schools within the district and the remainder attend schools in neighboring districts.


  1. "commerce: Fact Sheets - Bryn Athyn Borough". Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. 2006-12-20. Retrieved 2007-09-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Census of Population and Housing". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 11 December 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions Datasets: Subcounty Resident Population Estimates: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 11 December 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "John Pitcairn", The New York Times, p. 17, 23 Jul 1916<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Jaffe, Dennis T.; Jungé, Dirk; Paul, Joseph (2004), "Reinventing a family dynasty" (PDF), : Family Business Magazine (Winter)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Nearby Community of Bryn Athyn," Rydal-Meadowbrook Civic Association
  11. Clark, Dan (June 6, 2014). "Montgomery County Commissioners Break Ground on Pennypack Trail Extension over SEPTA Newtown railroad line". The Times Herald.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links