Lower Merion/Narberth Building Photographs

View Building Directory

teardown - historic - existing - construction

Most of our programs and records deal with the past - the first settlers in Lower Merion, the 18th century mills, the 19th century mansions. Here we have recorded the present, looking ahead to what will be history in the future. Although we sometimes try, we can't preserve all historic and notable buildings, not even all the ordinary, but we can at least preserve their images.

Our central objective in this section is to record all the buildings that are to be torn down, before the demolition. We started this focus in 2005 when the number of teardowns increased sharply, fueled by low interest rates and a scarcity of empty land for new building. An earlier project began in 2000 with photographs of all the buildings on Rock Hill Road in Bala Cynwyd, well in advance of the area's being designated as the Gateway to Lower Merion and then the Rock Hill Overlay District.

Beside the teardown buildings (and sometimes their replacements), there are many buildings that are not teardowns: historic buildings, buildings pictured before zoning change or substantial renovation, entire sections - all the buildings in the Ardmore Business District, every building on Sibley Ave and on Bala Ave - and other ordinary and special buildings. There are also older photographs of buildings from the Pennsylvania Room Collection at the Gladwyne Free Library and other sources. For historic photos, see our Historic Photo Collection page, or visit us to see our 100 binders full of old photos. We also have 4500 recent photos waiting to be added here as well as images from the Swartz and MacFarlan collections.


The buildings are sorted by street, compass direction (N,E,S,W) and then by address number. We use the street names and abbreviations (Ave/Ln/St/Rd etc) in Montgomery County's Property Records, since it is an definitive site that includes other data: owner, sale prices, taxes, plot size, building size, map, etc. It's indexed by Tax Map ID and Parcel ID as well as address.
   A few old or township-owned properties have no address number, only the street name.

Three of the addresses that the School District of Lower Merion uses are different from the County's system, so here's an index:
SchoolPer School DistrictThese photographs:
Harriton High School600 N Ithan Avesame
Lower Merion HS - old buildings245 E Montgomery Ave same
Lower Merion HS - 2010 building315 E Montgomery Ave 245 E Montgomery Ave
Lower Merion HS - Administration building301 E Montgomery Ave 245 E Montgomery Ave
Bala Cynwyd Middle School510 Bryn Mawr Avesame
Welsh Valley Middle School325 Tower Ln1320 Hagysford Rd
Belmont Hills200 School Stsame
Cynwyd101 W Levering Mill Rdsame
Gladwyne230 Righters Mill Rdsame
Merion549 S Bowman Avesame
Penn Valley301 Righters Mill Rdsame
Penn Wynne250 Haverford Rd same

Year Built on the Montgomery County site isn't reliable. Some very old buildings aren't as old as reported, and other dates seem to be rounded to decade years: 1910, 1920 etc. Sale Dates of 01-01-19xx are correct for the year but not the day.


For each building, we show its post office: Ardmore, Penn Valley, Narberth, etc., based on the Zip Code in the Montgomery County site. For teardowns we show two permit dates if available, pre-inspection and pre-demolition. We also include other information we may have, such as zoning or other board consideration, the reason for including it, our personal knowledge of the site, etc. The date taken is computer-generated as either the date we took the photo or the date we created a new version of the picture from a scan of a film photo or from a different digital photo. For some photos the date taken is included in the comments in a format such as 12.2.99 for December 2, 1999.

To Enlarge a Photograph

* Find the photo you want and click on the image.
* A page will open with a photo that's about 720 x 540 pixels.
* Click on this photo. A page will open with a larger version of the photo, about 1100 x 800 pixels.
* If the cursor has a + in it, you can click on this photo . The photo will enlarge to its full extent, suitable for printing 8 x 10 inches or larger.

Other categories of photographs of "current history" will be added: bridges, street signs, sculpture, dams.

The photos have been taken or scanned by Max Buten or Ted Goldsborough for the Lower Merion Historical Society, which owns the copyright on most of the images.