Learn About The History Of Glenside PA

Glenside as it stands today

It is a product of 300 years worth of history. The interactions of many generations have given rise to individuals and events that have developed cultural and physical development of the area. As a result, the history of Glenside is filled with local, national and regional heroes and other big names whose individuals have remarkable achievements. The rich history of Glenside can be clearly seen in the character of the locality and buildings of the area. Thanks to the preservation efforts of the Glenside authorities, the rich history, and artifacts relics can be found in the Glenside museum.


Glenside was created in 1683 as part of Cheltenham Township which became part of the County of Philadelphia a year later. On 10th September 1695, Philadelphia County was dissolved and Montgomery County was formed instead. So Glenside came to be identified as part of Montgomery County with Cheltenham becoming the smallest township in the area. Much of the development in Glenside was as a result of the efforts of William Penn when he deeded land grant to a group of 15 fellow Englishmen. Each was given a parcel of land within Philadelphia and its surroundings comprising of 100 to 500 acres. This covered much of the Glenside and Cheltenham Township.

Two of the pioneers

Richard Wall and Toby Leech, settled in Glenside and become influential in the area’s first development. They were actively involved in political, social and religious growth of Glenside. Toby Leech became a great businessman and established several enterprises in the area. He established the area’s first fulling and corn mill at the Tookany Creek. The structure built by Toby Leech to house his enslaved workers in the area still stands today along the church road. Toby Leech was also involved in numerous land transactions in the rest of Philadelphia and Chester Counties.
Richard Wall’s house was built in 1682 and is now considered to be an important historical building in the area. Until 1978, it served as the residence of Pennsylvania Commonwealth. Wall’s name somewhat got lost in the history of Glenside until his granddaughter married another influential figure in the area, George Shoemaker.
In 1691, Humphrey Morrey became the first mayor of Philadelphia, a post he held for two years. He was influential in the area’s politics and social development as well. After his legacy, his only surviving child, Richard Morrey inherited his grant land and placed his name in history books as the first slave owner in Glenside to free his slave workers.

The railroad reached Glenside in 1855 leading to the establishment of the area's first station in 1872.

Several Glenside districts have found their way into National Register of Historical Places. The first is La Mott which was a post-Civil War enclave used to train African-American troops. It was elevated in the National Register of Historical Places on 31st October 1985. Wycote is another district and was placed in the registry on 16th October 1986. The district has a total of 178 units in the registry, one of the largest.Today, Glenside has a population of 10,578.