History

History of Penn Wynne

The area currently known as Penn Wynne arose through early twentieth century development of the Greenhill Farms plantation, which was established in the 17th century by the Welsh Quaker Thomas Lloyd.

The Penn Wynne-Overbrook Civic Association was formed in 1928, and succeeded in establishing the Penn Wynne-Overbrook volunteer fire company later that year. Founding of the civic association and fire company were followed in quick succession by creation of the Penn Wynne Library in 1929 and Penn Wynne Elementary School in 1930.

The Penn Wynne Recreational and Fire Company began a Fourth of July Parade in 1943 to express their pride and support for brave neighbors fighting World War II in Europe and Asia. That parade has been held in Penn Wynne every year since. World War II veteran and legendary Lower Merion Music Director Dr. Herman Giersch served as the grand marshall for the 70th anniversary 4th of July Parade & Carnival in 2013.

The post-war era was marked by extensive development, during which time much of the current housing stock was built. The Penn Wynne Civic Association provided a critical voice for residents, convincing developers to build lower density, detached single-family homes rather than the more densely clustered twin homes that characterized construction in the pre-war era. The civic also advocated for representation on the township board of commissioners, and earned recognition as the 14th ward of Lower Merion Township in 1952. This representation was pivotal in subsequent years, providing input on major development projects affecting Penn Wynne residents, including the relocation of Lankenau Hospital from North Philadelphia to its current home on the grounds of the former Overbrook Country Club in 1953 and construction of the Greenhill Apartments in 1962. As part of these development negotiations, PWCA was able to convince Lower Merion Township to purchase the ten-acre parcel that is now Penn Wynne Park.

Increased development led to increased traffic, and the Penn Wynne Civic Association joined with the Federation of Lower Merion Civic Associations in a petition to reduce the speed limits on residential streets in Lower Merion to 25 mph. To help residents lower their homeowners and automobile insurance rates, the Penn Wynne Civic Association began a decade-long effort to change the residential zip code from the City of Philadelphia (19151) to Lower Merion (19096).

In recent years, the Penn Wynne Civic Association has fought to protect the residential character of our neighborhood by opposing construction of a lighted Little League facility at Penn Wyne Park, and by blocking extraordinary access provisions in the Medical Center Zoning ordinance that could have dramatically increased vehicular traffic on residential streets.

As we embark on our 86th year serving the Penn Wynne community, excited to honor our neighborhood’s history and establish new traditions, the Penn Wynne Civic Association remains committed to advocating on behalf of Penn Wynne residents, and organizing events that bring our community together.

We can’t wait to see what the future will bring!

Civic Association History