Edward R. Price, a descendant of Welsh Quaker immigrants, founded the town of Elm (now Narberth) on his hundred-acre farm in 1881. Price’s decision to give up his inherited land to the creation of this Quaker-friendly town came after the nearby Elm Station was constructed – which led to a call for the creation of a town around the rail station. The town’s name was changed from Elm to Narberth in 1893, likely because the name grew traction after a stretch of Old Gulf Road was renamed Narberth Avenue in 1888 and Narberth Park was named in 1889. However, to this day, Narberth still pays tribute to their original name by featuring an elm tree on their corporate seal.
Up until 1895, Narberth had been a part of Lower Merion Township. However, frustrated with the slow pace of community improvements made by the township, a committee was formed in 1893 to determine if the town should pursue obtaining a Borough Charter. After gaining enough support, they petitioned for Montgomery County to incorporate the town as a borough. In 1895, Narberth’s application for borough status was approved – creating the 0.52 square mile Borough of Narberth.
In 1914, the Narberth Civic Association (NCA) was created, which remains a central body in Narberth today. NCA created the local newspaper, Our Town, in 1914, which was a predecessor to today’s Main Line Times. They also played a central role in establishing Narbrook Park – a Garden Cities model community developed in 1915. Also known as Narberth Garden, the Narbrook Park neighborhood features 35 homes that surround an open space of land where the East Branch of the Indian Creek flows through. In 2003, Narbrook Park became a Historic District after being placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Walking through downtown Narberth, you can immediately tell that you’ve entered a different type of neighborhood than those located within the surrounding Lower Merion Township. In the heart of the Borough is Narberth’s “Main Street” – Haverford Avenue – which is lined with restaurants, shops, and much more. Venture off Haverford Ave and you’ll find a movie theater, the post office, the train station, the police and fire departments, and the Narberth Park and Playground – all within a few blocks of each other. One of the many perks of Narberth is just how walkable the neighborhood is.
Aside from its accessible downtown area, Narberth is perhaps best known for its strong sense of community. This tight-knit feeling is strengthened in part by the many Community Groups that exist within the Borough, including the Narberth Civic Association and the Narberth 4th of July Committee. Those who live in the borough are proud of their community and often refer to themselves as “Narbs” – a nickname you are bound to see displayed on a bumper sticker in the area.
Schools and Universities in the Neighborhood
- Located in Narberth is Margaret School – a private school for pre-K to 8th grade.
- The following schools are not located within the Borough of Narberth itself, but they are the public schools that children living in the Borough are districted to:
- Those living on the north side of the railroad are districted to go to Belmont Hills Elementary School, Welsh Valley Middle School, and they have the choice to go to either Lower Merion High School or Harriton High School.
- Those living on the south side of the railroad are districted to go to Merion Elementary School, Bala Cynwyd Middle School, and Lower Merion High School.
Hospitals in the Neighborhood
- There are no general hospitals in Narberth. The closest hospital is Lankenau Medical Center, located on Lancaster Ave – about a 10 minute drive from the center of Narberth. Alternatively, the Bryn Mawr Hospital is about a 15-minute drive from Narberth.
- Located within Narberth is the Philadelphia Surgery Center, which specializes in endoscopic spine surgery.
Libraries in the Neighborhood
Fire stations and Fire Chiefs
- Narberth Fire Company
- Chief: Fran Dixon
− Deputy Chief: W.R. Henderson
− Assistant Chiefs: J.R. Thomas Jr., Thomas Henderson, Edwin Walker, William Thomas
− Chief Safety Officer: W.J. Henderson
− Chief Emeritus: J.R. Thomas Sr.
Police Stations and Police Chief
- Narberth Police Department
- Chief: John Gallagher
Notable Nonprofit Organizations
- Take a Breather Foundation
- New Horizons Senior Center
- Narberth Community Food Bank
- New Leash on Life USA
Parks, Playgrounds, Dog Parks
Main Forms of Transportation
- Car: Narberth is bordered by Montgomery Avenue, one of the central roads of the Main Line. However, no major roads go through the town itself.
- Bus: The Route 44 Septa bus, which goes from 5th & Market to Ardmore, has several stops throughout Narberth. Route 44 Schedule →
- Train: Running through the Narberth Station is the Paoli/Thorndale Line Regional Rail, which goes into Center City. Paoli/Thorndale Line Regional Rail Schedule →
- Airplane: Narberth is also located approximately 15 miles from the Philadelphia International Airport
Alternative Forms of Transportation
- Seniors in need of transportation services may use the Escort Driving service provided by ElderNet of Lower Merion and Narberth
- Taxi, Uber, and Lyft services are available in and near Narberth
Things to Do
There is a diverse group of restaurants and other eateries in the downtown area of Narberth. Walking down Haverford Ave, you will see the Great American Pub, The Greeks, Coco Thai Bistro, and McShea’s Restaurant & Bar– all staples in Narberth. Other longstanding Narberth eateries include Le Petit Mitron (a French bakery serving La Colombe coffee and delicious French pastries and baked goods), American Family Market (a family-owned market with some of the best hoagies on the Main Line), and The Cheese Company (a gourmet cheese shop also featuring a wide selection of breads, pastries, sandwiches, charcuterie, and many more specialty products). Relatively recent additions in Narberth include GET Café (a café from the organization Great Expectations Together, which commits to gainful employment of individuals with disabilities), Pholosophy and Pho-ever Yours (two different Vietnamese pho restaurants), and Village Treats (an ice cream and baked goods shop). Venturing away from the main downtown area, you will also find Ryan Christopher’s BYOB (a family-owned American bistro) and the newly opened Café Lift (a popular brunch spot known to many from its first location in Philadelphia).
Walking through Narberth, you will no doubt find a way to keep yourself entertained. There are a wide variety of shops downtown, including Sweet Mabel (a quirky, handmade art and craft gallery with an art studio open to the public, focusing on using recycled, found, and repurposed materials), the Narberth Bookshop, Character Development (a children’s books and toys store), Wardrobe by Jeanne’s Boutique (a women’s clothing store), Revivals (a consignment boutique featuring designer clothing and accessories), and much more.
Not in the mood to shop? Catch a movie at the local theater, Reel Cinemas Narberth 2, located right on North Narberth Ave. If you’re looking to get a workout in, check out the Uppercut Gym, Cadence Fitness, Pinnacle Training & Fitness, or the Julian Krinsky School of Tennis at the Narberth Tennis Club. Need a way to keep the kids entertained? Consider signing them up at The Little Gym, the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet, or The Handwork Studio.
Places to Stay
There are no hotels located in Narberth, but if you are looking to stay within the Borough, Airbnb’s can be found here. Nearby hotels include the Hilton Philadelphia City Avenue and the Homewood Suits by Hilton Philadelphia-City Avenue.
Local Government Structure
The Borough of Narberth’s government includes a Mayor, a seven-member Borough Council, a Borough Tax Collector, as well as many Boards and Commissions. The Borough Council consists of a Council President, a Council Vice-President, and five other Council Members. Within the Borough Council, there are three Council Committees – the Finance & Administration Committee, the Infrastructure Committee, and the Public Safety Committee. A list of all the Boards and Commissions can be found here.
Narberth is also part of Montgomery County, which has three County Commissioners and nine County departments that are headed by individuals, known as Row Officers, elected directly by the voters of Montgomery County.
Local Elected Officials
- Mayor: Andrea Deutsch (Learn more about Mayor Deutsch here.)
- Borough Council President: Aaron Muderick
- Borough Council Vice-President: Gigi Tevlin-Moffat
- Other Borough Council Members: Jim Nixon, Michelle Paninopoulos, Cyndi Rickards, Bob Weisbord, and Rob McGreevey (Learn more about the Borough Council here.)
- Borough Tax Collector: Regina Watson.
State Elected Officials
- Pennsylvania Governor: Tom Wolf (D)
- Pennsylvania Representative: Mary Jo Daley (D), 148th House District
- Pennsylvania Senator: Daylin Leach (D), 17th Senate District
Federal Elected Officials
In the News
To read about the latest news in Narberth, check out:
- Narberth–Bala Cynwyd Patch
- Narberth Online – News and Notes
- Narberth Online Facebook Page
- Narberth Borough Facebook Page
Last updated: September 5, 2019 at 14:12 pm