Leave a Message

Thank you for your message. We will be in touch with you shortly.

Get to Know Pennsylvania’s Main Line

If you’re new to the Philadelphia area, you may be unfamiliar with the city’s famous Main Line neighborhoods.

The Main Line is a nickname for Philadelphia’s affluent western suburbs along the former main line of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The Main Line extends northwest from Philadelphia’s city limits starting at Overbrook, and rather than a contiguous township or neighborhood, this exclusive strip includes 17 different municipalities in Montgomery, Delaware, and Chester counties that were once connected by the railroad beginning in the mid-1800s. These suburbs were favored by Philadelphia’s richest families who funded fabulous mansions and large country estates, and even today, the Main Line conjures images of old money and classic American architecture. 

Most of these villages and towns were originally laid out along the railroad line, which ran parallel to Lancaster Avenue (also known as Route 30). The current railroad is still used by Amtrak and local commuter trains, but with a slightly altered route from the original Main Line.

Housing on the Main Line remains as popular as ever, especially in the posh suburbs of Bryn Mawr, Radnor, Haverford, and Lower Merion. Conveniently located near Philadelphia and with superb suburban amenities, these Main Line communities are still considered to be among the best places to live in Pennsylvania.


1. Origin of the Main Line

In 1857, the Pennsylvania Railroad Company bought the main train line and expanded it from the original three stops to 17 stops. Generations of Philadelphia residents learned the order of the westbound stops in the original Main Line communities by memorizing a mnemonic, Old Maids Never Wed And Have Babies Period. That stood for Overbrook, Merion, Narberth, Wynnewood, Ardmore, Haverford, Bryn Mawr, and Paoli.


2. “The Philadelphia Story”

The Main Line’s high society was the inspiration for the classic 1940 movie “The Philadelphia Story” that starred Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and James Stewart. Main Line mansions were used for filming and for backdrops, including the Merion Cricket Club. While some believe that “The Philadelphia Story” was filmed at the massive Ardrossan estate in Radnor Township, rumors suggest that director George Cukor felt the estate’s main house was too grand for the American public to believe, so a home in Merion Station was used instead.


3. Bryn Mawr Film Institute

Film buffs living in Bryn Mawr should check out the Bryn Mawr Film Institute, a non-profit, community-supported movie house located in the historic Seville Theater on Lancaster Avenue. The Seville was built in 1926 and a decade-long renovation was completed in 2014. The institute now has more than 9,000 members and the complex features four state-of-the-art theaters as well as classrooms, a community gathering space, and a café. The Bryn Mawr Film Institute is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


4. Geography

Bryn Mawr residents soon learn that many of the communities and towns on the Main Line take up only a few square miles, and some of them straddle county lines. When purchasing Main Line real estate, buyers should keep in mind that the exact location of a property can affect things such as property taxes and school districts. Additionally, many of the mansions built on the Main Line were constructed on the north side of the tracks (or north of Lancaster Avenue).


5. Valley Forge National Park

Valley Forge National Park is just north of the Main Line, about 24 miles outside of Philadelphia. It’s best remembered as the encampment of George Washington and the Continental Army during the terrible winter of 1777 to 1778 and was Washington’s darkest hour during the American Revolutionary War. Hundreds of soldiers died of starvation, cold, and diseases such as flu and typhoid. The National Memorial Arch commemorates the arrival of Washington and his army, as well as their sacrifice. There’s a visitor's center and more than 30 miles of trails available for Main Line residents to conveniently explore, and the park is a beautiful, social space to spend time outdoors.


6. King of Prussia Mall

The King of Prussia Mall is one of the largest shopping malls in the United States and is located just off the Main Line. When it opened in 1963, it was the largest mall in the country, and currently features seven major department stores and a total of more than 450 stores, boutiques, and restaurants. The mall also occupies nearly 3 million square feet of commercial real estate. People who buy Main Line homes for sale should stop in and review what kind of decor is available to spice up their new space. 


7. Ridley Creek State Park

When Bryn Mawr residents need an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, they drive a few miles to Ridley Creek State Park—a 2,606-acre park located between Edgmont, Middletown, and Upper Providence Townships. The park offers a wide range of activities, including fishing, hiking, and biking—and is easily accessible no matter where you buy a home on the Main Line.


Shopping homes for sale on the Main Line?

Of course, there are plenty of other stops along the Main Line worth visiting. If you’re interested in buying a primary residence or investing in real estate along this historic thoroughfare—including Bryn Mawr homes for sale—let the talented agents with The Baer Group put their local knowledge and experience to work for you.



Work With Us

With a unique blend of knowledge, expertise and experience, Daniel Baer Team will guide each Client through every home sale, purchase or lease with confidence.