Bala Cynwyd is a village in Lower Merion Township which is located on the Main Line in southeastern Pennsylvania, bordering the western edge of Philadelphiaat US-Route-1 (City Avenue). It was originally two separate towns, Bala and Cynwyd, but is commonly treated as a single community. This came about when a single US Post Office was constructed to service both towns (The “Bala Cynwyd” Branch). Bala and Cynwyd are still served by separate stations on SEPTA‘s R6Regional Rail line.
Bala Cynwyd lies in the Welsh Tract of Pennsylvania, and was settled in the 1680s by Welsh Quaker settlers, who named it after the Welsh town of Bala and the Welsh village of Cynwyd. The American “Cynwyd” is, however, now pronounced /’k?nw?d/ KIN-wid, not [‘k?nw?d] as in Welsh. It is often pronounced locally as /’k?nw?d/ KIN-wood.
While Bala Cynwyd has drawn a very large number of Modern Orthodox Jews who have established a network of synagogues, there are churches representing many religions. The town is essentially a mixed residential community with mostly single homes, and is located directly across City Avenue from the City of Philadelphia.
The Neighborhood Club of Bala Cynwyd, established in 1906, works to preserve the residential character of the neighborhood and promote civic welfare and community spirit. It sponsors an annual Independence Day celebration on July 4 which begins in front of the Union Fire Association and ends at the Bala Cynwyd Playground. The parade features neighborhood children riding decorated bicycles, marchers in costumes, clowns, floats, fire trucks, police, and public officials.