Philadelphia, The Main Line, and The Pennsylvania Railroad

The properties that this site analyzes lie in the Rosemont section of Radnor, PA, in close proximity to Bryn Mawr, PA. These towns, suburbs of Philadelphia, lie roughly ten miles to the west of the city. The four houses involved in this site's research were built between 1870 and 1890, which was an early era of real estate development on the Main Line. Such development links directly with the growth of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Founded in 1846, the Pennsylvania Railroad Company (PRC) constructed a "main line" that extended from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh in order to keep economic pace with New York City and the Eerie Canal (Langdon 327-328). The PRC saw immediate success. Not long after establishing the "main line" to Pittsburgh, the PRC sought to develop their open, unused lands around the "main line" to the west of the city. Starting with hotels and using the area as a Summer resort, wealthy individuals from Philadelphia, especially those associated with the PRC, began moving to what is now known as the "Main Line" (Langdon 328). Chetwynd, Castlefinn, Glenbrook, and Wentworth all arose during this era. The maps below help to establish the Main Line's geographical relation to Philadelphia and the location of these houses (which are in Radnor) along the Main Line.

[Philadelphia and Main Line]Map 1: Philadelphia and the Main Line

For a general idea of where each house once stood:

Chetwynd: between East Lancaster Ave. and Conestoga Rd.

Castlefinn: between Castlefinn Ln. and Vauclain Rd.

Glenbrook: between Vauclain Rd. and Glenbrook Ave.

Wentworth: between Robinhood Rd. and Dreer Ln.

[Main Line]Map 2: Rosemont and Radnor along the Main Line



Langdon, George. Evolution of a Transportational Route as the Core of a Suburban Region. The Scientific Monthly, v. 76, no. 6, June 1953, pp. 325-334.

Map 1 taken from:

Map 2 taken from:


Last revised on 16 December 2005, MG Feedback