Preservation Brief No. 5: Historic Resources and Opportunities

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HISTORIC DISTRICTS

The 7 districts below are reviewed by the Historical Architectural Review Board (HARB).

Local districts:

  • Ardmore Commercial Center
  • Merion Friends Meeting/General Wayne Inn
  • Haverford Station
  • English Village

Local and National Register districts:

  • Gladwyne/Merion Square (added 1980, ID 80003577)
  • Harriton (added 1985, ID 85003472)
  • Mill Creek (added 1980, ID 80003575) 

The 3 districts and all historic properties listed below are reviewed by the Historical Commission.

National Register Districts:

  • Bryn Mawr College (added 1979, ID 79002299)
  • Mill Creek Boundary Increase (added 1996, ID 96000965)
  • West Laurel Hill Cemetery (added 1992, ID 9200091)

National Register, Individual Properties

  • Bryn Mawr Hotel (Baldwin School) (ID 79002300)
  • General Wayne Inn (ID 76000165)
  • Harriton Farm
  • Harriton House (ID 73001643)
  • Idlewild Farm (ID 84003505)
  • Joseph Sinnott Mansion, Rosemont College (ID 80003582)
  • Lower Merion Academy--Cynwyd Elementary School--Bala Cynwyd Junior High School Complex (ID 02001429)
  • Whitehall Apartments (ID 83004238) 

National Register Landmarks

  • M. Carey Thomas Library, Bryn Mawr College (ID 91002052)
  • Merion Cricket Club (ID 87000759)
  • Merion Friends Meeting (ID 98001194)
  • Woodmont (The Peace Mission) (ID 98001192)

HISTORIC DISTRICT INVENTORY

Begun in 1985, with updates in 1988, 1991 and ongoing, the Township's list identifies over 1,000 significant historic properties.

HISTORIC RESOURCE SURVEY

Completed in 1991, this state-funded survey identified more than 80 potential historic districts in Lower Merion township.

HISTORICAL ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD

Created in 1980. Nine Lower Merion citizens, appointed by the Board of Commissioners to the HARB, review applications for visible exterior alterations, new construction, demolition and signage on properties within the local historic districts.

HISTORICAL COMMISSION

Created in 2000. Seven Lower Merion citizens, appointed by the Board of Commissioners, review applications for exterior alterations, new construction and demolition for properties on the Historic Resource Inventory except those in local districts. They also consider additions, re-classifications and removals from the Inventory.

LOCAL MEMBERSHIP ORGANIZATIONS

Residents interested in local history, preservation and land conservation can join several organizations that sponsor events, publish newsletters, engage in preservation projects and more.

Examples:

  • Civic associations in the Township
  • The Harriton Association
  • Lower Merion Conservancy
  • The Lower Merion Historical Society

LOCAL PUBLICATIONS

The area weekly newspapers Main Line Life and Main Line Times publish local history sections. The magazine Main Line Today and others often publish local history articles.

FORMAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS

Pennsylvania mandates that fourth grade classes learn local history. The Lower Merion School District provides innovative programs for these students in cooperation with other organizations in the Township: bus tours, intergenerational programs, mill walks, nature and ecology training. Additionally, high school students may volunteer at a preservation organization to fulfill required history or service projects.

For further information:
Building & Planning Department
610-645-6200


OWNERS OF LISTED HISTORIC PROPERTIES

Lower Merion's historic preservation ordinances are designed to assist property owners retain the historic fabric and appearance of their resources visible from a public right of way.

Please be aware that, if your property is in an area designated as a Local Historic District then:

  • exterior alterations
  • new construction
  • demolition
  • signage

must be reviewed by the Historical Architectural Review Board (HARB) for a Certificate of Appropriateness (CofA) before work can proceed. Download a PDF application for a CofA.

If your property is listed only in a National Register Historic District or on the Historic Resource Inventory as Class I or Class II property, but not in a Local Historic District then:

  • exterior alterations
  • new construction
  • demolition

must be reviewed by the Historical Commission before work can begin.

Reviews take place at monthly meetings:

  • the HARB meets on the first Tuesday at 8:30 AM.
  • the Historical Commission meets on the fourth Thursday at 4 PM.