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Drexel Hill is a census-designated place (CDP) largely located in Upper Darby, with a small section (Pilgrim Gardens) located in Haverford Township Delaware County, Pennsylvania, United States. Drexel Hill is located 7 miles (11 km) west of Center City, Philadelphia, and is part of the Philadelphia metropolitan area. The population was 28,043 at the 2010 census, down from 29,364 at the 2000 census.
Drexel Hill is located in the western part of Upper Darby Township at 39°57′00″N 75°18′7″W (39.949962, -75.301841). The CDP is bordered to the north by Haverford Township, to the east by the Kirklyn, Highland Park, Beverly Hills, and Bywood neighborhoods of Upper Darby, to the southeast by the borough of Lansdowne, to the south by the borough of Clifton Heights and the Westbrook Park neighborhood of Upper Darby, and to the southwest by Springfield Township. Darby Creek forms the southwestern/southern border of the CDP. U.S. Route 1 (Township Line Road) runs through the northwest corner of the CDP and forms most of its northern border with Haverford Township.
The CDP has a total area of 3.2 square miles (8.3 km2), all land.
The Lower Swedish Cabin on Creek Avenue alongside Darby Creek is possibly the oldest log house in North America. The cabin is believed to have been built by early Swedish settlers who were part of the New Sweden colony. The cabin was most likely built between 1638 and 1655, but the exact year is not known. Log cabin architecture was a major contribution of the colonial Swedes. European settlers from other countries copied this style of housing, and the log cabin became popular all across America.
Collen Brook Farm is a historic home and associated buildings located at the end of a lane off Mansion Road at Marvine Avenue in Drexel Hill. The original house and barn were built about 1710 by Abraham Lewis. It was most recently acquired by Upper Darby Township in 1989. It is open to the public on Sundays from May through October.
Thornfield, the estate of famed abolitionist and Quaker Thomas Garrett, lies on Garrett Road (named for his family, who were among the earliest settlers of that part of the township) and Maple Avenue in Drexel Hill. Garrett resided here before 1822 and would later work as a station master in Wilmington, Delaware, the last stop on the Underground Railroad. In 1956, the Thornfield estate was purchased by Caroline and Walter Isard, active Quakers who moved to the area when Walter founded the Regional Science department at the University of Pennsylvania. Caroline went on to found the Fair Housing Council of Suburban Philadelphia together with other concerned citizens in the area. As of 2014, the estate is owned by Randi T. Rioux. It is currently undergoing restoration, along with renovations necessary to preserve its history and allow for modern capabilities.
As of the 2010 census the racial makeup of Drexel Hill was White, 87.06%; Black or African American, 5.45%; American Indian and Alaska Native, 0.11%; Asian, 5.31%; Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, 0.05%; and other, 2.02%.
The largest ethnic groups in Drexel Hill are Irish (41.8%), Italian (24.5%), German (16.7%), English (9.9%), Polish (4.2%), United States (2.8%), Hispanic (2.16%).
There were 11,896 households, out of which 29.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.6% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.9% were non-families. 32.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.19.
In the CDP, the population was distributed with 24.3% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 32.4% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 15.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 90.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.4 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $48,765, and the median income for a family was $65,862 . Males had a median income of $42,841 versus $31,904 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $25,471. About 3.5% of families and 4.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.6% of those under age 18 and 6.0% of those age 65 or over.
SEPTA operates two suburban trolley lines through Drexel Hill: Route 101- a few stops in Drexel Hill are Irvington Rd, Drexel Hill Junction, School Lane, Aronimink, Drexelbrook, Drexel Park, Garrettford, Huey Avenue, School Lane, Anderson Avenue, Drexeline, Drexel Manor, Marshall Road, and Creek Road, stations to Media and Route 102 Sharon Hill. Several bus lines also operate via Drexel Hill, including routes 107, 110, 111, 115 and 122.
The major roads running through Drexel Hill are Township Line Road (US 1), State Road, Burmont Road, Garrett Road, Lansdowne Avenue, Marshall Road, Drexel Avenue, Edmonds Avenue and Shadeland Avenue.
Saint Alice's Elementary School is in Upper Darby not Drexel Hill. (The school closed in 2008, but the parish remains open. Victor Taylor was a student at Saint Alice's from 1974 to 1982.)
Drexel Hill is served by the Upper Darby Police Department, Crozer-Keystone Paramedics (based out of Delaware County Memorial Hospital), and the Upper Darby Township Fire Department, a combination paid/volunteer department which consists of five stations:
Companies 26, 36, 37, and 74 are staffed from 7 am Monday mornings until 7 am Saturday mornings by career personnel from IAFF Local 2493. They are supplemented by volunteers during the weekdays and fully staffed by volunteers on weekends.
Television personality Dick Clark resided here from 1954 to 1956 at the Drexelbrook Apartment complex before moving to Wallingford, while hosting Barr's Diamond Theater and a radio show on WFIL, prior to being selected to host American Bandstand. Television personality Ed McMahon also resided at the Drexelbrook, as Dick Clark's neighbor, prior to teaming up with Johnny Carson on Do You Trust Your Wife?, then The Tonight Show. Well-known children's author Lloyd Alexander also lived in Drexel Hill with his wife and several cats.
1970s folk/pop singer-songwriter Jim Croce grew up in the Bywood and Drexel Hill sections of Upper Darby. He graduated Upper Darby Sr. High in 1960, and attended Villanova University 1961-1965. He married Ingrid Jacobson of Wallingford. Her family is believed to have bought the house Dick Clark sold upon leaving for the west coast when Bandstand left WFIL in the early '60s. Croce's career was cut short in a Louisiana plane crash on September 20, 1973, after a concert at Northwestern State University. Croce was the first to be inducted on Upper Darby High School's "Wall of Fame" in April 1976.
United States Representative Pat Meehan of the Seventh Congressional District of Pennsylvania is a resident of Drexel Hill.
Alan Graham MacDiarmid ONZ (April 14, 1927 – February 7, 2007) was a chemist, and one of three recipients of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2000. In early February 2007, aged 79, he fell down the stairs in his home in Drexel Hill. He died on February 7, 2007. He is buried at Arlington Cemetery in Drexel Hill.
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