The History Of The Main Line
The Philadelphia “Main Line” is a collection of towns in suburban Philadelphia, PA named after the Main Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad (currently known as SEPTA´s Paoli/Thorndale Regional Rail Line). The Main Line suburbs, some of the wealthiest in the US, are situated west of the city. The stops along the line are remembered by the mnemonic device “Old Maids Never Wed and Have Babies: Overbrook, Merion, Narberth, Wynnewood, Ardmore, Haverford and Bryn Mawr. They continue: Rosemont, Villanova, Radnor, St Davids, Wayne, Strafford, Devon, Berwyn, Daylesford, Paoli, and Malvern. There is great debate about how far west (Exton?) the Main Line extends as it seems everyone wants to live there.
The Main Line was once home to the Lenni Lenape Indians. It was settled by Europeans in the 1600’s, when William Penn sold land to a group of Welsh Quakers for ten cents an acre. The Main Line Railroad was constructed during the nineteenth century, and traveled through the area from Philadelphia to Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. The railroad is still in service. At the time, the Railroad owned much of the land surrounding the tracks, and encouraged the development of this picturesque environment. The city of Philadelphia´s elite were enchanted with the area, and many had one house in the city and another, larger “country home” on the Main Line.
Today the Main Line contains some of the wealthiest suburbs in the United States. The principal townships are Lower Merion Township, Haverford Township, Radnor Township, Tredyffrin Township, Easttown Township, Willistown Township, East Whiteland Township, and Charlestown Township. The area features diverse topography, steep cliffs along the Schuylkill River, dense woods, rolling hills, and open meadows. The architecture is world famous.
According to Fortune Magazine, “Radnor and the clutch of small towns around it offer families a top-rated school system and acres of green space, including walking trails…world-class arts, culture, and dining—all just 15 miles west of Philadelphia.”