Haverford Heritage Trail
Directions from Previous Site: Continue on Olympic Avenue, then right onto Gilmore Road, then right onto West Chester Pike (at Richland Park playground), then proceed up past Kohl’s to Darby Road. Turn left and cross West Chester Pike to “pointy” corner with park.
Physical Address: West Chester Pike and Darby Road
GPS Coordinates: 39.96940, -75.29775
Parking: Along Darby Road north of West Chester Pike
Ownership: Haverford Township
Arcadia Book Page: 28, 34
Description and History: The area around West Chester Pike and Darby Road became a hub of railway activity in Haverford Township. The Philadelphia and Delaware County Railroad (see Site 24) began running its trains to Newtown Square in 1894, crossing “the pike” just west of Darby Road. At the same time, the turnpike owners wanted to construct a newfangled electric railway line along its turnpike, and the railroad objected to the installation of a rail crossing across its track, fearing the competition for passengers. It tried to block the project both in court and physically, by placing a steam locomotive and men on the spot. Eventually the turnpike interests won the “Battle of Llanerch Crossing” and the cross tracks were installed in 1895. The trolley's lower fares and more frequent service to Newtown Square contributed to the quick demise of the railroad’s passenger service. The trolley company located its carbarn and powerhouse facility here and, paradoxically, became an important freight customer of the railroad. In 1902 the trolley company built a branch line to Ardmore. The tracks left the original line (extended to West Chester in 1899) in Llanerch, swinging off alongside Darby Road through the township. Thus the intersection became known as Llanerch Junction (shown below), with Llanerch Crossing just to the west. Today Llanerch Park (shown above), on the corner of the intersection, tells the tale of the days when rails dominated this immediate area.