Franklin Survey Co., Philadelphia, 1948
The maps below exhibit a visual representation of the population and development increase in the Wynnewood township from the turn of the century to the years following the second World War.
All maps courtesy of the Lower Merion Historical Sociery, Bala Cynwyd, PA
J. L. Smith Atlas, Philadelphia, 1900
G. W Bromley & Co., Philadelphia, 1926
The town of Wynnewood is part of the Lower Merion Township which is one of many townships in Montgomery County. It is located northwest of Philadelphia and is one of the closest communites to Center City. Historically, towns in Lower Merion existed as self-sufficient farming communities. Around the early 1880's, development of the townships in Lower Merion began with the construction of homes for the elite and sprawling estates. Wealthy Philadelphians commissioned well know architects to build fashionable summer retreats. Although the Philadelphia railroad first established tracks in Montgomery County in 1834, it wasn't until 1870 that the railroad company began catering to commuters, adding frequent stops along the main line. The convience for commuters enabled the railroad to significantly influence the development of residential suburban communities. The Pennsylvania Railroad implemented a strategy, encouraging business and summer resorts built along the mainline. The townships developed into what are sometimes referred to as "bedroom communities", since the majority of inhabitants lived in Montgomery County but relied on Philadelphia commerce for employment. Many homeowners had one home in the city and another larger "country home" in the suburbs. By the turn of the century, towns along the main line in Montgomery County comprised the most famous suburban area in America. The social standards of these suburban towns attracted the rising middle class of Philadelphia professional males and their families, yet continued to appeal to the elite by reinforcing rigid social stratification. Suburbs along the main line also attracted shopkeepers, artisans, tradesman and a lower class of domestic servantry to support the demands of wealthier inhabitants.
As the twentieth century progressed, Philadelphia main line communities experienced an explosion of building and development as a result of the population boom post WWII. By 1954 Montgomery County was made up of fully developed residential communities with their own commercial segments. Contributing factors to the growth of main line communities after the war included the rise of suburban employment, increased availability of automobiles, as well as liberal mortgage insurance rates, converting average middle class citizens to suburbanites, who could not have afforded to leave the city 30 years prior. Suburban communities northwest of Philadelphia remain a popular place for Americans to live. Presently, Philadelphia Main Line districts are among the weathiest suburban communities in the nation. Wynnewood in particular contributes significantly to the gross income of Montgomery County and continues to be a financially exclusive neighborhood.
Toll, Jean Barth and Michael J. Schwager. Montgomery County; the Second Hundread Years. Montgomery County Federation of Historical Societies. 1983. pages 327, 898-899, 902-903, 1429.
Wynnewood Railroad Station, Wynnewood & Penn Roads, Wynnewood, Montgomery County, PA. (since destroyed HABS Photo: PA-6144, 1933)