From railroad line to center of progress. If you try to look for the Philadelphia Main Line on a map, chances are you’ll only see a series of Pennsylvania suburbs and a bunch of pinned commercial establishments. That’s because the Main Line isn’t much a geographical area as it is an economic and social one. As one article in the Pennsylvania Center for the Book website put it: “It’s not a place but a lifestyle.”
A total of 17 towns from the counties of Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery comprise the Main Line. These towns are situated along the area where the railroad tracks pass through – the same railroad that brought progress here.
Wealthy Philadelphia families basically established most of the small towns along the original Main Line – the railroad. They built summer homes away from the city and used the railroad as a means to travel. Most of these areas run parallel to Lancaster Avenue, popularly known as Route 30 – the oldest paved road in the country.
Here are some milestones in the Philadelphia Main Line’s history:
1823: The state approved the construction of the first railroad in Pennsylvania, christened as the Philadelphia and Columbia Railway. Construction spanned for nine years.
1857: When the state could no longer absorb the high costs of maintaining the railroad, it was privatized and was renamed the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. From 3 stops, another 14 stops were added to the line.
Late 19th century: The lands along the railroad tracks were converted into sprawling estates of wealthy families who used the Main Line for travel and commerce.
Real estate for sale in the Main Line
Rich in colonial history and considered the bastion of the “old rich,” the Main Line is replete with beautiful suburbs like the Radnor Township, Villanova, Ardmore, Malvern, and Gladwyne. Given the upscale nature of the communities here, expect to find a good number of massive estates among the homes for sale in the Main Line, PA. Some can have as many as 9 bedrooms and 8 bathrooms, with special features like French doors, brick fireplaces, terraced gardens, entertainment rooms, and walk-in closets. Most of the older homes are made from local stone while the more recent ones have brick walls and a more modern selection of sidings. But overall, the colonial style resonates among the awe-inspiring homes here.
Local experts will note that unlike in more recent community settings, housing in the Main Line is not positioned in a grid. Remember that the area was once primarily accessible via horse-drawn carriages and the streets came in later. Navigating the area may be quite a challenge but it is what adds to the Old-World charm of this locale.
With the wonderfully crafted single-family homes and mansions dotting the area, you can also expect commercial real estate to be in demand in the Main Line. In fact, the Main Line provides formidable competition to other upwardly mobile towns in Pennsylvania’s Suburbia.
Living in the Main Line
Food and drinks
The Main Line is also a popular foodie destination. Listed below are some must-visit places for your cravings.
- Teresa’s Next Door
126 North Wayne Avenue, Wayne
Come to this popular gastropub if your kind of hunger craves comfort food in massive proportions and a great selection of brews and spirits to wash it down. This award-winning dining spot serves Belgium’s famous Garre beer all year long. Also, check out their oven-roasted jumbo whole wings.
- The Bercy
7 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore
It doesn’t get any more French than this restaurant and its delightful menu. Known for hosting private events, The Bercy brings to the fore a sumptuous array of gastronomic treats. Try the tuna tartare Napoleon and escargots in Pernod butter.
- Enoteca Tredici
915 Lancaster Avenue, Bryn Mawr
You will want to eat and be seen in this hip Mediterranean wine bar in Bryn Mawr Village. The wide array of culinary masterpieces here from small plates to meat preparations are sure to tickle your palate. Complement these with their selection of exquisite wines, heady cocktails, and frothy brews.
For a shot of history and culture, drop by at Historic Waynesborough, a house museum in Paoli. Formerly owned by the Wayne family, this house stands as a tribute to one of the family’s outstanding members, Maj. Gen. Anthony Wayne.
Eager for some edgy art? Come to Black Moth – a tattoo parlor and an art gallery in Ardmore. You can opt for the art on your body or the art you can place on your wall. Either way, you come out with unique pieces of beautiful artworks by seasoned artists led by studio owner, Steve Martin.
Another Ardmore attraction is The Living Room at 24 East, a great venue for live music. It is quite literally like a living room complete with couches and chairs where artists perform up close and personal.
Looking for prime real estate in the Main Line?
Main Line Homes For Sale
Sorry we are experiencing system issues. Please try again.