Bryn Athyn was settled beginning around 1895 when members of the Philadelphia Swedenborgian Church moved to the area. For more than a decade, Philadelphians, including these "New Churchmen" visited Alnwick Grove park to enjoy fishing, boating and even dancing. Alnwick Grove park was near the Bethayres train station on the Philadelphia and Newtown line, makeing the area easily accessible from the city. In the late 1880's, industrialist John Pitcairn began buying land (mostly farmland), eventually accumulating approximately 550 acres. Some of this land he kept for himself and his family, some he sold to other New Churchmen and some he donated to the Academy of the New Church to be used for school buildings.
As more people began to arrive in the area, a Village Association was formed to deal with road, sewer and utility issues. The name Bryn Athyn was chosen - a Welsh term believed to mean "Hill of Cohesion (or Unity)." As the village continued to grow, the village association applied to become a burough to enable them to self-govern. In addition to the usual municipal institutions (fire department, police, etc.) the residents formed many groups and clubs to enrich their cultural lives. Many of these groups still exist today, although some have changed form (boys club became the Boy Scouts, the local theater group became B-Act, etc.) and some have disappeared althogether.
Note written by