Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania

Last updated
Bala Cynwyd
Lower Merion Academy PA.jpg
USA Pennsylvania location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Bala Cynwyd
Location of Bala Cynwyd
Usa edcp location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Bala Cynwyd
Bala Cynwyd (the United States)
Coordinates: 40°00′27″N75°14′03″W / 40.00750°N 75.23417°W / 40.00750; -75.23417 Coordinates: 40°00′27″N75°14′03″W / 40.00750°N 75.23417°W / 40.00750; -75.23417
CountryUnited States
County Montgomery
Township Lower Merion
302 ft (92 m)
Time zone UTC-5 (EST)
  Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
Zip Code
Area codes 610, 484

Bala Cynwyd ( /ˈbæləˈkɪnwʊd/ BAL-ə-KIN-wuud) [1] is a community in Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania, US. It is located on the Main Line in southeastern Pennsylvania, bordering the western edge of Philadelphia at US Route 1 (City Avenue). It was originally two separate towns, Bala and Cynwyd, but is commonly treated as a single community. This came about when a single US Post Office served both towns (the "Bala Cynwyd" Branch) using ZIP code 19004. The community was long known as hyphenated Bala-Cynwyd. Bala and Cynwyd are currently served by separate stations on SEPTA's Cynwyd Line of Regional Rail.



Bala Cynwyd lies in the Welsh Tract of Pennsylvania and was settled in the 1680s by Welsh Quakers, who named it after the town of Bala and the village of Cynwyd in Wales. A mixed residential community made up predominantly of single-family detached homes, it extends west of the Philadelphia city limits represented by City Avenue from Old Lancaster Road at 54th Street west to Meeting House Lane and then along Manayunk and Conshohocken State Roads north to Mary Watersford Road, then east along Belmont Avenue back to City. This large residential district contains some of Lower Merion's oldest and finest stone mansions, built mainly from 1880 through the 1920s and located in the sycamore-lined district between Montgomery Avenue and Levering Mill Road, as well as split level tract houses built east of Manayunk Road just after World War II.


The oldest commercial district and the original center of Bala Cynwyd straddles the bridge over the old Pennsylvania Railroad tracks, originally belonging to the Columbia Railroad and now part of the SEPTA Cynwyd Line, along Montgomery Avenue at Bala Avenue. This district, long on the National Register of Historic Places, was settled shortly after William Penn's landing in Pennsylvania in 1682 and contains the village's oldest commercial buildings, some dating to the earliest years of the 19th century. [2] Bala Avenue itself is an extension of this original town center and comprises a specialized commercial district of its own more than a century old; it has long been known for its children's clothing stores, women's dress and consignment shops, the Bala Theater and a number of small restaurants. The remainder of Bala Cynwyd's original commercial district extends south along Montgomery Avenue as part of the Bala Cynwyd-Merion Commercial District and is coextensive with the commercial center of Merion, with its popular delicatessens and restaurants. [3]

Bala Cynwyd has long been home to most of the broadcasting outlets in the Philadelphia region. In 1952, CBS television station WCAU-TV built its headquarters at the corner of City Avenue and Monument Road. Now an NBC owned-and-operated station, the station was located there until 2018, when the studios moved to the Comcast Technology Center in Center City Philadelphia, though some operations remain at the former studios. A decade later, ABC affiliate WFIL-TV moved to a new studio directly across the street from WCAU on City Avenue, just inside the Philadelphia city limits. The station, now ABC O&O WPVI-TV, is still based there today. Bala Cynwyd is also home to Beasley Broadcast Group's WBEN-FM, WMGK, WMMR and WPEN. iHeartMedia's WDAS-FM, WDAS-AM, WUSL, WRFF, WISX, and WIOQ radio stations are located on Presidential Boulevard; independently owned WBEB is located on City Avenue. CBS's WGMP (now WPHT) left Bala Cynwyd to move to Philadelphia when NBC and CBS swapped stations in 1995, as did WTEL (formerly WIP) and WIP-FM (formerly WYSP). As of 2016, after some moves in and out of Philadelphia, CBS stations WXTU, WOGL, and WTDY are located in Bala. Bala Cynwyd is also the corporate home of Entercom Communications Corporation, which is poised to be the second largest owner of radio stations in the United States, following its announcement of a merger with CBS Radio February 2, 2017.

The Bala Cynwyd Shopping Center, completed in 1957, lies a half mile to the south of the village center, bordering Philadelphia on City Avenue. Its major outlets are Acme Markets, Olive Garden, US Mailroom and LA Fitness; Saks Fifth Avenue is located a block to the East.

On August 2, 2020, it was announced that Lord & Taylor would close their Bala Cynwyd location as the department store chain went out of businesses. [4]

The village is home to houses of worship of many religions. The oldest of these is Saint John's Episcopal Church on Levering Mill Road, founded in 1863. Saint Matthias Catholic Church is also found one block south of Montgomery on Bryn Mawr Avenue. Bala Cynwyd has also drawn a number of Modern Orthodox and Conservative Jews who live within walking distance of Lower Merion Synagogue and Congregation Adath Israel on Old Lancaster Road where Bala Cynwyd meets Merion. Churches of other denominations are located in nearby Narberth, Wynnewood, Merion, and Wynnefield/Overbrook.

The Neighborhood Club of Bala Cynwyd, established in 1906, works to preserve the residential character of the neighborhood and promote civic welfare and community spirit. It sponsors an annual Independence Day celebration on July 4 which begins in front of the Union Fire Association on Montgomery Avenue and ends at the Bala Cynwyd Playground. The parade features neighborhood children riding decorated bicycles, marchers in costumes, clowns, floats, fire trucks, police, and public officials.[ citation needed ]

The Lower Merion Historical Society recently relocated its headquarters from Ashbridge House in Rosemont to the ancient Cynwyd Academy building, adjacent to Bala Cynwyd Middle School on Bryn Mawr Avenue in Cynwyd.

Among the claimants for First Boy Scout Troop in the United States is Troop 1 in Bala Cynwyd.

From 1946 to 1960, the National Football League had its headquarters located in Bala Cynwyd. [5] [6]

The Lower Merion Academy-Cynwyd Elementary School-Bala Cynwyd Junior High School Complex and West Laurel Hill Cemetery are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. [7]


Bala Cynwyd is served by the Lower Merion School District with its headquarters in Ardmore. Public school children of area residents attend the Cynwyd Elementary School on Levering Mill Road, Belmont Hills Elementary School on Madison Avenue, Bala Cynwyd Middle School on North Bryn Mawr Avenue, and Lower Merion High School in Ardmore.

Another school in Bala Cynwyd is Kohelet Yeshiva High School on Old Lancaster Road. Located on Montgomery Avenue at Bryn Mawr Avenue is Kosloff Torah Academy, an Orthodox Jewish, private all-girls high school serving the local and general Philadelphia region. The private, Catholic Merion Mercy and Waldron Mercy Academies are only a quarter mile up Montgomery Avenue in Merion. The bilingual French International School of Philadelphia, on North Highland Avenue, teaches approximately 320 children from pre-kindergarten (K3) to eighth grade in French and English. [8]


Bala Cynwyd Library Bala Cynwyd Library.jpg
Bala Cynwyd Library

The Bala Cynwyd Public Library, part of the six-branch Lower Merion Library System, occupies a modern facility on Old Lancaster Road. It is home to more than 221,000 items and features up-to-date computer facilities and a dedicated children's library on the second floor. The system as a whole, with its central library located at Bryn Mawr's Ludington Memorial Library on South Bryn Mawr Avenue, is home to more than 1.4 million items and stands in the 99th percentile nationwide for annual resident visits and volumes per resident capita.

Notable people

Places of interest

Related Research Articles

Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania Census-designated place in Pennsylvania, United States

Bryn Mawr is a census-designated place (CDP), located across 3 townships: Radnor Township and Haverford Township, Delaware County, and Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, just west of Philadelphia along Lancaster Avenue (US-30).

Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania Township in Pennsylvania, United States of America

Lower Merion Township is a township in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania and part of the Philadelphia Main Line. As of the 2016 U.S. Census, the township had a total population of 58,288. Lower Merion has the 5th highest per-capita income and the 12th highest median household income in the country with a population of 50,000 or more.

Narberth, Pennsylvania Borough in Pennsylvania, United States

Narberth is a borough in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, United States. It is one of many neighborhoods on the historic Pennsylvania Main Line. The population was 4,282 at the 2010 census.

Ardmore, Pennsylvania Census-designated place in Pennsylvania, United States

Ardmore is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Delaware and Montgomery counties in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. The population was 12,455 at the 2010 census. Ardmore is a suburb on the west side of Philadelphia, within Lower Merion Township in Montgomery County and Haverford Township in Delaware County. Originally named "Athensville" in 1853, the community and its railroad station were renamed "Ardmore" in 1873 by the Pennsylvania Railroad, on whose Main Line, west out of Philadelphia, Ardmore sits at Milepost 8.5.

Merion Station, Pennsylvania Unincorporated community in Pennsylvania, United States

Merion Station is an unincorporated community in Pennsylvania, United States, bordering Philadelphia to the city's west. It is one of the communities that make up the Philadelphia Main Line, and is part of the municipality of Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County. Merion Station is known for its grand mansions and for the wealth of its residents.

Philadelphia Main Line Collection of suburban communities in Pennsylvania, United States

The Philadelphia Main Line, known simply as the Main Line, is an informally delineated historical and social region of suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Lying along the former Pennsylvania Railroad's once prestigious Main Line, it runs northwest from Center City Philadelphia parallel to Lancaster Avenue.

Haverford, Pennsylvania Place in Pennsylvania, United States

Haverford is an affluent, unincorporated community located in both Haverford Township in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, US, and Lower Merion Township in Montgomery County, about 3 miles (4.8 km) west of Philadelphia. The Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) opened Haverford Station in 1880 on their Main Line west out of Broad Street Station in Philadelphia. Haverford sits at milepost 9.17.

Radnor, Pennsylvania Locality on the Philadelphia Main Line

Radnor is a community located approximately 13 miles west of Philadelphia, in the Main Line suburbs. It straddles Montgomery and Delaware Counties, Pennsylvania. The community was named after Radnor, in Wales.

Wynnewood, Pennsylvania Place in Pennsylvania, United States

Wynnewood is a suburban unincorporated community, west of Philadelphia, that straddles Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County and Haverford Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, United States. It was named in 1691 for Dr. Thomas Wynne, William Penn's physician and the first Speaker of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Lower Merion Township is the fifth-most-affluent jurisdiction in the United States. Wynnewood is one of many neighborhoods on the historic Pennsylvania Main Line, and is the home of institutions such as Lankenau Hospital, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Palmer Theological Seminary, and Friends' Central School.

Villanova, Pennsylvania Place in Pennsylvania, United States

Villanova is a suburb of Philadelphia. It straddles Lower Merion Township in Montgomery County and Radnor Township in Delaware County. It is located at the center of the Philadelphia Main Line, a series of highly affluent Philadelphia suburbs located along the original east–west railroad tracks of the Pennsylvania Railroad. It is served by the SEPTA Paoli/Thorndale Line regional rail train and Norristown High Speed Line.

Penn Valley, Pennsylvania Unincorporated community in Pennsylvania, United States

Penn Valley is an unincorporated community located within Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania. Penn Valley residents share a zip code with Merion, Narberth, or Wynnewood because the town does not have its own post office. However, Penn Valley is a distinct community whose civic association demarcates the town's boundaries with iconic signs featuring William Penn and a farmhouse in blue or red on white, dating from the town's incorporation in 1930.

Located in Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania, Belmont Hills is a suburb of Philadelphia. Belmont Hills is a neighborhood within the village of Bala Cynwyd. It is a distinct community with its own public elementary school, public pool, fire department and public library. Belmont Hills is known for its hilly terrain. Belmont means "Beautiful Mountain" so its literal name is "Beautiful Mountain Hills".

Pennsylvania Route 23 is an 81.14-mile-long (130.58 km) state highway in southeastern Pennsylvania. The route begins at PA 441 in Marietta and heads east to U.S. Route 1 at City Avenue on the border of Lower Merion Township and Philadelphia. PA 23 begins at Marietta in Lancaster County and continues east to Lancaster, where it passes through the city on a one-way pair and intersects US 222 and US 30. East of Lancaster, the route passes through agricultural areas in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, serving Leola, New Holland, and Blue Ball, where it crosses US 322. PA 23 passes through the southern tip of Berks County and serves Morgantown, where a ramp provides access to Interstate 176 (I-176). The route runs through northern Chester County and serves Elverson, Bucktown, Phoenixville, and Valley Forge. PA 23 continues into Montgomery County and intersects US 422 in King of Prussia and US 202 in Bridgeport. The route follows the Schuylkill River to West Conshohocken, where it has access to I-76 and I-476, before it continues southeast through Lower Merion Township to US 1.

Wilson Brothers & Company American architectural firm

Wilson Brothers & Company was a prominent Victorian-era architecture and engineering firm established in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that was especially noted for its structural expertise. The brothers designed or contributed engineering work to hundreds of bridges, railroad stations and industrial buildings, including the principal buildings at the 1876 Centennial Exposition. They also designed churches, hospitals, schools, hotels and private residences. Among their surviving major works are the Pennsylvania Railroad, Connecting Railway Bridge over the Schuylkill River (1866–67), the main building of Drexel University (1888–91), and the train shed of Reading Terminal (1891–93), all in Philadelphia.

Mill Creek (Lower Merion, Pennsylvania)

Mill Creek is a 6.6-mile-long (10.6 km) tributary of the Schuylkill River in Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, United States.

George Brooke Roberts

George Brooke Roberts was a civil engineer and the fifth president of the Pennsylvania Railroad (1880–96).

Belmont Village, Philadelphia Neighborhood of Philadelphia in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States

Belmont Village is a middle class neighborhood located in the West Philadelphia section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

French International School of Philadelphia

The French International School of Philadelphia is a French international school in Bala Cynwyd, Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania within the Delaware Valley. As of 1993 it is the only full French bilingual educational program in Pennsylvania. It serves grades PreK-8.

Allen Evans

Allen Evans was an American architect and partner in the Philadelphia firm of Furness & Evans. His best known work may be the Merion Cricket Club.


  1. Not * [ˈbala ˈkənwɨd] like its Welsh namesakes.
  2. Bean, Theodore W. (1884). Montgomery County: The First Two Hundred Years. Philadelphia: Everts and Peck.
  3. Jones, Dick (2001). The First Three Hundred: The Amazing and Rich History of Lower Merion. Ardmore: The Lower Merion Historical Society.
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-10-12. Retrieved 2012-01-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-10-12. Retrieved 2012-01-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  8. "Our Students Archived 2014-05-14 at the Wayback Machine ." French International School of Philadelphia. Retrieved on May 14, 2014.
  9. Mother And Wife Sustain His `Odyssey' - philly-archives. (2011-10-09). Retrieved on 2016-08-15.
  10. Bob Garfield, "The Paleozoic Internet" Archived 2011-06-13 at the Wayback Machine , On the Media , June 10, 2011.