While there really isn’t a “capital” of the Main Line, Wayne, Pennsylvania, is probably the closest to such a place. It is the largest of the communities stretching along the train route that gave the Main Line its name. With a population of about 30,000, easy access to the train and commuter roads, highly regarded public schools and a good-sized town at its center, it clearly is a very desirable residential area.
Wayne straddles three townships and three counties: Radnor (Delaware County), Tredyffrin (Chester County) and Upper Merion (Montgomery County). Some of its oldest residential areas just might be one of Pennsylvania’s earliest planned communities. Beginning in about 1880, banker A.J. Drexel and newspaper editor G.W. Childs (“liberal gentlemen of abundant means”) bought more than 300 acres to form “Wayne Estate.” They seemed determined that Wayne should develop in a sensible manner rather than haphazardly as they saw many other communities develop as populations increased. To this day, many of the most popular residential neighborhoods are those considered “walkable” to town and the train station.
In town, there is the c. 1906 Wayne Hotel, a very chic boutique accommodation; the Anthony Wayne first-run movie theater and an array of restaurants and upscale retailers, including the Eagle Village Shops, a collection of unique boutiques and stores at the edge of Wayne.
For those seeking a respite from town, Chanticleer is one of the most highly regarded public gardens in the U.S. Located on what had been the Rosengarten estate (a Rosengarten heir left the entire parcel to be open to the public after his death in 1990), this 47-acre property is now overseen by seven horticulturalists who continue to develop various aspects of the property.
The highly regarded Valley Forge Military Academy & College, an all-male prep school for grades 7 – 12 and a co-ed junior military college composed exclusively of military cadets, is located in Wayne. Enrollment at this highly demanding institution is about 1,200 students.
Commuting from Wayne to Philadelphia via train takes about 30 minutes. The town is also convenient to most of the area’s important commuter routes, another factor that makes it a very popular address.