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Bryn Athyn is a home rule municipality in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, United States. It was formerly a borough, and its official name remains "Borough of Bryn Athyn". The population was 1,375 at the 2010 census. It was formed for religious reasons from Moreland Township on February 8, 1916. Bryn Athyn is surrounded by Lower Moreland Township.
"Bryn Athyn" was intended to mean "Hill of Unity" by its founders. "Bryn" is Welsh for "hill"; the source of "athyn" is unclear.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 1.9 square miles (4.9 km2), none of which is covered with water.
As of the 2010 census, Bryn Athyn was 92.5% White, 2.7% Black or African American, 2.5% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian, and 1.8% were two or more races. 1.2% of the population were of Hispanic or Latino ancestry .
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,351 individuals, 377 households, and 292 families residing in the borough. The population density was 706.5 people per square mile (273.1/km2). There were 381 housing units at an average density of 199.3 per square mile (77.0/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 96.82% White, 1.04% African American, 0.07% Native American, 1.26% Asian, 0.22% from other races, and 0.59% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.67% of the population. 17.9% were of German, 15.5% English, 11.8% American, 6.7% Scottish and 6.6% Swedish ancestry according to Census 2000.
There were 377 households, out of which 41.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 71.4% were married couples living together, 4.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.5% were non-families. 19.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.21 and the average family size was 3.76.
In the borough the population was spread out, with 30.2% under the age of 18, 13.8% from 18 to 24, 22.4% from 25 to 44, 16.7% from 45 to 64, and 17.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 94.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.0 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $68,646, and the median income for a family was $76,214. Males had a median income of $48,958 versus $35,000 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $32,737. About 2.4% of families and 3.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.2% of those under age 18 and 4.9% of those age 65 or over.
Bryn Athyn has a city manager form of government with a mayor (Kenneth Schauder) and borough council. The borough is part of the Thirteenth Congressional District (represented by Rep. Brendan Boyle), the 152nd State House District (represented by Rep. Tom Murt) and the 12th State Senate District (represented by Sen. Stewart Greenleaf).
The Bryn Athyn Historic District, a National Historic Landmark District, includes four historic buildings:
Bryn Athyn is also the site of the General Church affiliated Academy of the New Church, which is the parent organization of the Academy of the New Church Secondary Schools, Bryn Athyn College, a divinity school, and the Swedenborg Library (which was named in honor of Emanuel Swedenborg, whose writings significantly contributed to the doctrine of the New Church).
Bryn Athyn had commuter train service until January 14, 1983. Service was suspended due to failing train equipment resulting in a lack of ridership. As of 2017, the train station is used as the Bryn Athyn post office.
Though rail service was initially replaced with a Fox Chase-Newtown shuttle bus, patronage remained light. The replacement bus service was far slower and less convenient than the train service it replaced, resulting in the shuttle bus being very unpopular. The travelling public never saw a bus service as a suitable replacement for a rail service.
In the ensuing years, there has been interest in resuming passenger service by Bucks County officials. Neighboring Montgomery County officials are supportive of re-thinking the rail corridor as well, though the belief within SEPTA management is that the section through Lorimer Park and Walnut Hill Station (the only sparsely populated section along the railway) will never generate enough riders to be feasible.
In September 2009, the Southampton-based Pennsylvania Transit Expansion Coalition (PA-TEC) began discussions with township officials along the railway, as well as SEPTA officials, about the realistic possibility of resuming even minimal passenger service to relieve traffic congestion in the region. Plans call for completing the electrification to Newtown, as originally planned in the late 1970s. Both Bucks and Montgomery County officials, as well as state representatives, have been receptive to PA-TEC's efforts, despite SEPTA's overall reservations. However, SEPTA has also confirmed that they are indeed open to revisiting the line if there is strong political support in both counties.
All plans for resuming the train service were dropped in 2014 when Montgomery County officials decided to extend the Pennypack Trail over the derelict rail bed.
Septa also operates the route 24 bus, a bus that goes from Frankford Transportation to Southampton. The 24 bus goes along Huntingdon Pike while in Bryn Athyn.
In Bryn Athyn's railroad history, a devastating accident took place on December 5, 1921. Two Reading Railroad passenger steam trains collided head-on on a blind curve. The impact sent red-hot coals flying forward from each engine, raining down on the wooden passenger cars of the oncoming train. Twenty-seven people were killed and some 70 injured. Most of those killed had burned to death, due in part to the fact that the wooden cars had burned so quickly and the inability of rescue workers to access the trains, given that they were wedged between the rock walls of the cut through hilly and wooded terrain without road access for fire equipment. The incident led to a ban on the use of wooden rail cars in order to prevent future disasters of a similar nature.
The Bryn Athyn borough is within the Bryn Athyn School District, which does not operate any public schools. 90% of school age children attend private schools within the district and the remainder are homeschooled or attend schools in neighboring districts.
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