Borough of Jenkintown, Pennsylvania
One of the oldest boroughs in Montgomery County, Jenkintown brims with historical interest and secret finds. In this residential community, visitors find National Landmarks, an active arts scene, and shops and restaurants that stretch beyond the main drag.
Settled by William Jenkins in 1697, Jenkintown eventually became incorporated in 1874. Among the quirkier holdovers from older days are two 19th-century fire companies. Both continue to serve the roughly 1/2-square-mile area today.
Like many suburbs that surround Philadelphia, Jenkintown had its initial heydays in the 19th and 20th centuries. A downtown revival in the 2000s saw renovation of the central Hiway movie theater and a resurgence of independent businesses and restaurants. The success of its most famous former resident, actor Bradley Cooper, also boosted the town’s profile.
Jenkintown has a number of architecturally interesting sites. Among them, the Jenkins’ Town Lyceum Building (now known as Jenkintown Library) and the Art Deco Strawbridge & Clothier Store both landed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Also on that list, Salem Baptist Church famously hosted Martin Luther King Jr. two months after his legendary “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington.
The 45-acre expanse of Curtis Hall Arboretum in nearby Wyncote features a national landmark building as well as two ponds, 50 different tree species and a Valley of Remembrance honoring World War II veterans.
Visitors to Jenkintown marvel at the community's impressive architecture and buzzing art scene.
Multiple SEPTA regional rail lines stop at the Jenkintown-Wyncote Station. If traveling by auto, inexpensive metered parking is available in the lots off of Leedom Street.
Located a half-mile outside Jenkintown proper, the Abington Art Center at 27-acre Alverthorpe Manor houses galleries exhibiting contemporary works, classroom space and a sculpture garden. Old York Road Historical Society also resides here and catalogues the history of the corridor connecting Jenkintown to Philadelphia and New Hope.
Local art can be found in the collaborative gallery The Art of It. Built in 1913, the Hiway Theater remains a local staple and an unofficial town center through its various incarnations, most recently renovated to include digital projectors.
The Hiway Theater in Jenkintown
— Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia
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