Cheltenham Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
Home rule municipality
First Class Township
"Salubritas et Eruditio"
(Health and Education)
Location of Cheltenham Township in Montgomery County
First Class Township
Home Rule Municipality
|• Total||9.03 sq mi (23.4 km2)|
|• Land||9.03 sq mi (23.4 km2)|
|• Water||0.00 sq mi (0 km2)|
|Elevation||157 ft (48 m)|
| • Estimate
|• Density||4,074.5/sq mi (1,573.2/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern Standard Time)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (Eastern Daylight Time)|
|Area code(s)||215, 267 and 445|
|Sister city||Cheltenham, United Kingdom|
Cheltenham Township is a home rule township in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, United States. Cheltenham's population density ranges from over 10,000 per square mile in rowhouses and high-rise apartments along Cheltenham Avenue to historic neighborhoods in Wyncote and Elkins Park. It is the most densely populated township in Montgomery County. The population was 36,793 at the 2010 U.S. Census, making it the third most populous township in Montgomery County and the 27th most populous municipality in Pennsylvania. It was originally part of Philadelphia County, and it became part of Montgomery County upon that county's creation in 1784.
Cheltenham is located 5 miles from Center City, Philadelphia and surrounded by the North and Northeast sections of Philadelphia, Abington, Jenkintown, and Springfield. The SEPTA Main Line passes through Cheltenham via 5 regional rail stations, some of which are the busiest in the SEPTA system. Cheltenham is served by the SEPTA City Transit Division and is adjacent to Fern Rock Transportation Center and the Broad Street Line subway which terminates at the South Philadelphia Sports Complex and also the Frankford Transportation Center and the El, which terminates at 69th Street in Upper Darby Township. The northern terminus of Broad Street is in Cheltenham, at its intersection with Cheltenham Avenue (Pennsylvania Route 309).
- Politics and government
- Other Cheltenhams
- Points of interest
Cheltenham was established in 1682 as part of Philadelphia County by 15 Quakers from Cheltenham, England, including Richard Wall and Tobias Leech, who purchased 4,070 acres (16.5 km2) of land from William Penn. Upon creation of Montgomery County in 1784, Cheltenham became the smallest township in the new county.
The following is the list of the 15 original founders of Cheltenham Township
|Name||Land Size||Date given|
|John West||200 acres||June 29, 1682|
|Nehemiah Mitchell||210 acres||July 1, 1682|
|John Day||210 acres||August 5, 1682|
|William Brown||500 acres||September 10, 1683|
|Everard Bolton||100 acres||September 10, 1683|
|John Ashmead||250 acres||September 10, 1683|
|Tobias Leech||150 acres
|September 10, 1683
September 10, 1683
|Richard Wall Sr.||100 acres
|May 2, 1683
September 10, 1683
|Richard Wall Jr.||100 acres||September 10, 1683|
|Patrick Robinson||200 acres||November 5, 1683|
|John Russell||300 acres||November 5, 1683|
|William Frampton||500 acres||January 13, 1683|
|Mary Jefferson||300 acres||January 13, 1683|
|Thomas Phillips||300 acres||June 13, 1683|
|Humphrey Morrey||250 acres||May 23, 1683|
|Total acreage||4070 acres|
From early in its history, Cheltenham was fueled by the development of various mills along Tookany Creek. Communities and villages grew around these mills and formed what is now modern Cheltenham neighborhoods. The first gristmill was built by Richard Dungworth in 1690. After changing ownership several times, the Rowland family eventually made the mill the second largest producer of shovels in the United States. The site was demolished in 1929.
The USCT (United States Colored Troops) 3rd Regiment were the first to be trained at Camp William Penn. It is tradition that soldiers have a grand parade before leaving for war, but Philadelphia was partially a racist community at that time and the government believed that a parade might cause a riot, so it was cancelled. The leader of the Camp (Colonel Louis Wagner) was furious and made sure the next regiment to come through would have a parade.
Incorporated boroughs and unincorporated districts
Cheltenham Township contains no incorporated areas. Its districts include the communities of Glenside, Laverock, Edge Hill, Wyncote, Cedarbrook, Chelten Hills, La Mott, Elkins Park, Melrose Park, and Cheltenham Village.
As the Gilded Age ended and the depression hit the country, many of the estates and mansions were destroyed and made way for the building of houses in their place. Many of the communities that were formed in the early stages of Cheltenham remained, and still exist to this day. As the 20th century progressed, many people moved out of the city and into the first community over the city line, Cheltenham. With the population increase, the township's identity evolved from being largely a community of prominent Philadelphians and their mansions to several distinct communities. One of the major groups to come to Cheltenham was Koreans. The original Koreatown was located in the Olney section of Philadelphia, but eventually was moved north to Logan. Large pockets of Koreans were eventually established in Cheltenham, and also in Upper Darby Township and West Philadelphia. Many other races and ethnicities migrated to Cheltenham to make it one of the most diverse municipalities in the Delaware Valley. By the 2000 Census, Cheltenham was one of only two (the other being Norristown) municipalities in Montgomery County that was considered "diverse" (20–60% of the population is non-white).
Cheltenham, along with the other earliest communities in the Philadelphia area such as Upper Darby Township, Haverford, Lower Merion, and Jenkintown have retained their distinct identities while being surrounded by suburbia over the middle to late part of the twentieth century. Cheltenham and Lower Merion are of the few townships in Montgomery County who had a large population prior to the postwar population boom and thus whose majority of houses, communities, and streets have remained virtually unchanged since the early 20th century. Cheltenham has 13 listings on the National Register of Historic Places, the most of any municipality in Montgomery County. Cheltenham became a township of the first class in 1900. In 1976, it passed a home rule charter that took effect in 1977.
There are many books about Cheltenham Township's history.
- A History of Cheltenham Township by Elaine Rothschild
- Images of America Cheltenham Township by Old York Road Historical Society
- Remembering Cheltenham Township by Donald Scott Sr.
- Making Marathon: A History of Early Wyncote by Thomas J. Wieckowski
Cheltenham was the former home of Cradle of Liberty Council Breyer Training Area. Henry W. Breyer, Jr. used property formerly owned by Cheltenham resident John Wanamaker. It closed in 1990 and is now the home of Salus University.
Cheltenham has been honored with many distinctions over its long history. It was named a Preserve America community, a US Government program established to preserve historic communities throughout the United States. It is also a Tree City USA member, a program dedicated to forestry management. Most recently in 2013, Cheltenham was named a "Classic Town of Greater Philadelphia," for being "one of the most diverse, unique, and livable communities in our region" and "truly at the center of it all."
The seal of Cheltenham was adopted from the seal of the namesake and sister city, Cheltenham, England. It appears on all formal documents, resolutions, proclamations, and all legal records or documents. The pigeon on top of a blue sphere represents the founding of the fountain spa which made Cheltenham famous. They are placed above a wreath of Oak leaves. The two books represent Education, in particular, the Pates Grammar School and the Cheltenham College. The silver cross in the middle represents religion. The two pigeons represent the flock that would gather at the spas. Finally, the Oak tree represents the many Oak trees that line the streets of Cheltenham and promenades.
Cheltenham is a residential township in the most southeastern part of Montgomery County, which is in Southeastern Pennsylvania (locally known as the Delaware Valley). It is one of six municipalities in Montgomery County that borders Philadelphia and is 5 miles northeast of the Center City. It also borders Abington Township and Jenkintown on the north side and Springfield Township on the west side.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 9.0 square miles (23 km2). The area consists of rolling hills and also has a few streams running through it, most notably the Tookany Creek. The highest elevation is 411 feet, at the intersection of Sunset and Lindley Roads. The lowest elevation is 63 feet, in the southeasternmost part of the township where Tookany Creek flows into Philadelphia. It includes the census-designated places of Arcadia University, Glenside, and Wyncote. Other communities include Cheltenham, Elkins Park, Melrose Park, La Mott and Laverock, Edge Hill, and Cedarbrook. All of the communities form a border with Philadelphia along Cheltenham Avenue.
Communities in Cheltenham
|Arcadia University||CDP||0.057 sq. mi.||595||10,438.6||19038|
|Cheltenham (Cheltenham Village)||CDP||0.43 sq. mi.||4,810||5,705||19012|
|Elkins Park||CDP||2.1 sq. mi.||9,260||4,630||19027|
|Glenside||CDP||1.3 sq. mi.||8,384||6,449.2||19038|
|La Mott||Unincorporated community||.261 sq. mi.||3554||13,616.7||19027|
|Melrose Park||Unincorporated community||0.660 sq. mi.||3,006||4,554.5||19027|
|Wyncote||CDP||0.8 sq. mi.||3,044||3,805||19095|
Edge Hill, Laverock, and Cedarbrook's exact populations and land area are uncertain.
As of the 2010 census, Cheltenham Township was 56.6% White, 32.8% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 7.7% Asian, and 2.5% were two or more races. 3.9% of the population were of Hispanic or Latino ancestry. The median income for a family in Cheltenham in the 2010 Census was $72,584, which was a little below the Montgomery County average of $76,380. Cheltenham ranked 37 out of 62 municipalities in terms of highest median income in Montgomery County.
30.4% of the townships households had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.4% were headed by married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.8% were non-families. 27.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.05. The age distribution was 22.8% under 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 25.9% from 25 to 44, 24.1% from 45 to 64, and 18.6% who were 65 or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 86.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.0 males.
The median income for a household in the township was $61,713, and the median income for a family was $76,792. Males had a median income of $50,564 versus $36,439 for females. The per capita income for the township was $31,424. About 3.0% of families and 8.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.5% of those under age 18 and 3.2% of those age 65 or over.
Cheltenham is located on the borderline of the humid subtropical climate (Cfa) and the hot-summer humid continental climate (Dfa) zones. As with most Northeast townships, Cheltenham has four distinct seasons. Summers are warm and have occasional heat waves. Autumn is cool and comfortable. Winters are cold, most days hovering around the freezing mark with nights dipping to the teens. Spring is pleasant with often not too much precipitation. The hardiness zone is 7a.
The largest snowstorm as of late was in 2010, when the first storm came on February 5–6 and nearly 30 inches of snow fell. Just two days later, a second storm came and dropped another 20 inches.
|Climate data for Elkins Park, Cheltenham Township|
|Average high °F (°C)||38
|Average low °F (°C)||21
|Precipitation inches (mm)||3.44
|Source: The Weather Channel|
|Climate data for Cheltenham (Elevation: 125 ft (38 m)) 1981 - 2010 Averages|
|Average high °F (°C)||40.6
|Daily mean °F (°C)||33.2
|Average low °F (°C)||25.8
|Precipitation inches (mm)||3.46
Politics and government
|2020||13.9% 3,201||85.3% 19,635|
|2016||13.9% 2,928||82.8% 17,501|
|2012||18.1% 3,783||80.9% 16,873|
|2008||19.3% 4,043||80.0% 16,728|
|2004||22.7% 4,690||77.0% 15,866|
|2000||22.0% 4,106||76.0% 14,169|
|1996||23.2% 4,040||70.1% 12,190|
|1992||24.3% 4,723||65.0% 12,624|
Cheltenham Township does not have a mayor. Rather it is governed by a Board of Commissioners, who are elected one from each of the township's seven wards for a four-year term. A President of the Board is elected by these commissioners for a one-year term to serve as the head of the government. Morton J. Simon. Jr., is the current Board President. A school board is in charge of the school district.
The township is in the Fourth Congressional District (represented by Rep. Madeleine Dean), and Pennsylvania's 154th Representative District (represented by Rep. Napoleon Nelson). It is also in Pennsylvania's 4th Senatorial District (represented by Sen. Arthur L. Haywood III).
Cheltenham is currently a very Democratic heavy community, winning by large margins in each of the past six presidential elections. The only municipality in Montgomery County in the 2012 election that had a higher Democratic voting percentage was Norristown's 82.99%, compared to Cheltenham's 80.85%.
Cheltenham is one of only seven Townships in Pennsylvania, and of 29 municipalities in the entire state, to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity by executive order.
The following is a table of the current commissioners of Cheltenham Township along with their Wards and the areas of the Township they serve.
|Matthew Areman||1||Glenside and Edgehill|
|Baron B. Holland||2||Laverock, Cedarbrook, west Wyncote and Curtis Hills|
|Brad M. Pransky||3||La Mott, west Elkins Park and Wyncote|
|Ann L. Rappoport||4||Lynnewood Gardens, north Wyncote, west Elkins Park and east Glenside|
|Daniel B. Norris||5||Melrose Park|
|Mitchell Zygmund-Felt||6||Elkins Park|
|Irv Brockington||7||Cheltenham Village, Rowland Park and Oak Lane Manor|
The Cheltenham Township School District serves the township. There are seven public schools and a number of private schools. Public schools include Cheltenham Elementary School (k-4), Myers Elementary School (k-4), Glenside Elementary School (k-4), Wyncote Elementary School (k-4), Elkins Park School (5–6), Cedarbrook Middle School (7–8), and Cheltenham High School (9–12).
The largest private high school in Cheltenham Township is Bishop McDevitt High School (9–12) which is under the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Other private schools include Wyncote Academy, Perelman Jewish Day School, Mesivta Yesodei Yisroel of Elkins Park, Ancillae-Assumpta Academy, Presentation B.V.M. School and Gospel of Grace Christian School.
The section of Elkins Park in Cheltenham is the former home of Tyler School of Art, a conceptual fine-arts school that is part of Temple University. Cheltenham is also home to Arcadia University (formerly known as Beaver College), Salus University (formerly known as The Pennsylvania College of Optometry), Westminster Theological Seminary, Gratz College and Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, the only seminary affiliated with Reconstructionist Judaism. Cheltenham was also the former home of the Oak Lane Day School for 44 years until it moved to its current home in Blue Bell.
Cheltenham is a major thoroughfare for SEPTA Regional Rail. All trains going north of Center City (with the exception of the Trenton Line) pass through Cheltenham. This includes the Airport Line, Lansdale/Doylestown Line, West Trenton Line, Warminster Line and the Fox Chase Line. Following Cheltenham, many of the lines split to their respective destinations, which makes Cheltenham stations some of the busiest in Montgomery County. The stations carry the names of the neighborhoods in which they are located: Elkins Park, Glenside, and Melrose Park. Jenkintown-Wyncote and Cheltenham straddle the township's border.
|Station||Lines||Zone||Bus Connections||Weekday Boardings (2013)|
|Cheltenham||Fox Chase Line||2||70, 18, 24||368|
|Elkins Park||Airport Line Lansdale/Doylestown Line Warminster Line West Trenton Line||2||28||587|
|Jenkintown-Wyncote||Airport Line Lansdale/Doylestown Line Warminster Line West Trenton Line||3||77||1655|
|Melrose Park||Airport Line Lansdale/Doylestown Line Warminster Line West Trenton Line||2||28||505|
|Glenside||Airport Line Lansdale/Doylestown Line Warminster Line||3||22, 77||1230|
Cheltenham is served by many SEPTA City Division buses. Many of the buses originate at the Cheltenham-Ogontz Bus Loop, which is located at the northwest corner of the intersection of Ogontz Avenue (Pennsylvania Route 309) and Cheltenham Avenue. The loop is across the street from the Cheltenham Square Mall, which attracts many shoppers from North Philadelphia. Several other buses run throughout other major streets in the township, as well as residential streets. The following routes are in Cheltenham:
- 6 – connects Cheltenham-Ogontz with Olney Transportation Center via Broad Street.
- 16 – connects Cheltenham-Ogontz with Center City at 15th and Market (Suburban Station) via Broad Street.
- 18 – third busiest bus route in the SEPTA system, connects Cedarbrook Shopping Center with Fox Chase via Olney.
- 22 – connects Willow Grove and Warminster to Olney Transportation Center via Easton Road.
- 24 – connects Rockledge and Southampton with Frankford Transportation Center via Huntingdon Pike.
- 28 – connects Fern Rock Transportation Center with Torresdale-Cottman via Rhawn Street.
- 55 – connects Willow Grove and Doylestown with Olney Transportation Center via Easton and Old York Road.
- 57 – connects Whitman Plaza with Rising Sun/Olney or Fern Rock via 3rd & 4th Street.
- 70 – connects Fern Rock with Frankford-Gregg via Cottman Avenue
- 77 – connects Chestnut Hill with Roosevelt Boulevard via Township Line Road
- 80 – express connect between Horsham and Olney Transportation Center via Limekiln Pike.
- H – connects Cheltenham-Ogontz with Broad-Erie via West Mount Airy
- XH – connects Cheltenham-Ogontz with Broad-Erie via Germantown.
Cheltenham ranked in the top 3 municipalities in Montgomery County for percentage of population that uses Bus/Trolley and Regional Rail.
In addition, Cheltenham Township partners with the Montgomery County-sponsored Suburban Transit Network, Inc. (TransNet) to subsidize free transportation for residents ages 65 and older anywhere in the Township on Mondays through Fridays from 9 am to 3:30 pm.
As of 2016[update] Taiwanese airline EVA Air provides a private bus service to and from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City for customers based in the Philadelphia area. It stops in Cheltenham.
There are several major roads in Cheltenham Township. Cheltenham Avenue is a major roadway and is an easy access point to many of the other roadways like Pennsylvania Route 611 and Pennsylvania Route 309. It is also the border between Cheltenham Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. Cheltenham Avenue ends on the westside at Paper Mill Road in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania which is part of Springfield Township. Pennsylvania Route 73 is one of the major roadways in Cheltenham Township, known as 'Church Road' and 'Township Line Road' because it is the border line between Cheltenham and Abington Townships. Pennsylvania Route 309 starts in Cheltenham Township and serves as a major highway. It goes through multiple counties and ends up in PA 29 in Monroe Township in Wyoming County. Pennsylvania Route 152 starts in Cheltenham Township and is known as 'Limekiln Pike.' It ends on the north end of Pennsylvania Route 309 in Telford. Pennsylvania Route 611 starts in Philadelphia and runs through Cheltenham Township as Old York Road. It is the main access road to Willow Grove in Abington and Upper Moreland Townships.
Many of the roads in Philadelphia continue into Cheltenham such as Old York Road, Willow Grove Avenue, Limekiln Pike, Ogontz Avenue, Washington Lane, 12th Street, Oak Lane, Oak Lane Road, 2nd Street, Hasbrook Avenue, Cottman Avenue, Central Avenue, Ryers Avenue and Church Road.
Cheltenham was one of several communities in Pennsylvania to make the United States Main Street Program. Locations receiving this honor were:
- Glenside – Easton Road from Arcadia University north to Mt. Carmel Avenue, and Glenside Avenue between Limekiln Pike and Keswick Avenue, and Rices Mill Road and Glenside Avenue.
- Cheltenham Village – Central and Ryers Avenues between Cottman Avenue and Old Soldiers Road, and Cottman Avenue between Hasbrook Avenue and the Church Road vicinity.
- East Cheltenham Avenue – East Cheltenham Avenue from the SEPTA train tracks to Bell Mawr Road.
- Elkins Park East – High School Road and Montgomery Avenue area.
- Elkins Park West – Old York Road between Township Line Road and Chelten Hills Drive, and Church Road between Brookside Road and the train tracks.
The Cheltenham Township Fire Department consists of 5 all volunteer fire companies.
- Glenside Fire Company
- La Mott Fire Company
- Elkins Park Fire Company
- Cheltenham Hook & Ladder Company
- Ogontz Fire Company
The Cheltenham Police Department was founded in 1903. In 2008, the department responded to over 25,000 calls. With 73 full-time sworn officers in 2016, the department is the third largest in Montgomery County.
In 2016, a member of canine unit, Odie, was the top-ranked explosives detection dog in the United States.
Cheltenham Township has four libraries which are the East Cheltenham Free Library, Elkins Park Free Library, La Mott Free Library, and the Glenside Free library.
- Cheltenham has its own Public-access television cable TV channel, Channel 42 (Cheltenham School District/Township) on Comcast Cablevision and Channel 1960 on Verizon FiOS.
- The Fox sitcom "'Til Death" is set in Cheltenham.
- The movie "The in Crowd" was filmed partly at Cheltenham High School.
Cheltenham is officially twinned with their namesake, Cheltenham, England. There are also five other places in the world named "Cheltenham."
- Cheltenham, England (Official Twin and Namesake)
- Cheltenham, St. Louis, Missouri, United States
- Cheltenham, Ontario, Canada
- Cheltenham, Auckland, New Zealand
- Cheltenham, New South Wales, Australia
- Cheltenham, Victoria, Australia
Points of interest
|Site name||Image||Location||Year Built||Comment|
|1||Curtis Hall Arboretum||1250 West Church Road||1937||Former home of Cyrus H. K. Curtis|
|2||Camptown Historic District||La Mott||1860s||Major Stop on Underground Railroad, Housed Camp William Penn|
|3||Grey Towers Castle||Glenside||1893||Now part of Arcadia University|
|4||Milmoral||1150 Church Road||1905||Adjacent to Curtis Hall Arboretum|
|5||Wall House||Wall Park Drive, Elkins Park||1682||Oldest House in Pennsylvania, 2nd Oldest Building in Pennsylvania|
|6||Beth Sholom Synagogue||8231 Old York Road||1954||Only Synagogue ever designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright|
|7||St. Paul's Episcopal Church||Old York Road||1861||Conceived and designed by Cheltenham resident Jay Cooke with later additions by Horace Trumbauer|
|8||Rowland House||300 Ashbourne Road||1774||Also known as the Shovel Shop|
|9||Glenside Memorial Hall||185 South Keswick Avenue||1926||Built to Honor World War I Veterans, now honors all Veterans|
|10||Elkins Railroad Station||7879 Spring Avenue||1898||Originally Built by the Reading Railroad|
|11||George K. Heller School||439 Ashbourne Road||1883||Now the Cheltenham Arts Center|
|12||Henry West Breyer Sr. House||8230 Old York Road||1915||Now the Cheltenham Township Building|
|13||Wyncote Historic District||Wyncote||1896||Many homes designed by famed local architect, Frank Furness. The district contains 178 contributing properties.|
|14||Jenkintown-Wyncote Station||Wyncote||1872||Originally built by the North Pennsylvania Railroad, part of the Wyncote Historic District|
Pennsylvania Historic Site
Other points of interest
- Lynnewood Hall
- Elkins Estate
- Holy Sepulchre Cemetery
Cheltenham Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.