Bryn Athyn Boro, Montgomery County, PA

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Glencairn (1001 Papermill Road) was entered onto the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. Text, below, was adapted from a copy of the original nomination document.

Glencairn ... was built between 1929 and 1942. Its architect and builder, Raymond Pitcairn, planned it both as a family home and as an art center for his collection of medieval sculpture and glass.

Raymond Pitcairn, who died in 1966, was the eldest son of John Pitcairn, founder of the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company. In addition to being an industrial and financial leader, he was active throughout his life in civic and political affairs. Through his supervision and design of the Bryn Athyn Cathedral he was elected to the American Institute of Architects.

The style of Glencairn is late Romanesque with rounded arches and battered outer walls whose strength is relieved by the proportions and refinements. The symbolic and ornamental carving found throughout the building was done largely by three men who had learned their craft in their homelands — Attilio Marchiori and Pietro Menghi from Italy, and Benjamin Tweedale from England.

Glencairn is filled with symbolic art in stone, wood, metal, glass, and mosaic, reflective of the family as a center of worship and life. Examples include mosaic medallions in the entrance halls, the mosaic arch at the south end of the great hall, the beautifully carved stone depicting the Creation Story on the arch of the living room fireplace, capitals of sheep and birds, windows symbolizing church and country.

In size and proportions, the unusual method by which it was erected, the artistic care of its hand working of beautiful materials, its housing of an important medieval collection, Glencairn is a unique creation.


Glencairn is located in a park-like setting of 6.2 acres next to Bryn Athy Cathedral. It is approximately 175 feet from east to west and 135 feet from north to south with a seven story towner on the south side.

Late Romanesque in style, Glencairn has rounded arches and battered outer walls. The stonework is a blend of granite and a ruddy colored stone, hand cut and ashlar coursed. The interior support structure is poured concrete. Poured into rough molds and hand tooled, the concrete has the texture and variegation of stone.

Exterior features include carved doorways, pillars and wall insets. The main entrance has an elaborately carved archway. Over the doorway is a carved inset showing a tree and two sheep. The door is made of monel, a natural alloy of nickel and copper and is cast in a honeycomb pattern in the art nouveau style. The door handles have been molded in the shape of stylized lions. Throughout the exterior carved stonework follows a biblical theme. Some of these include lambs, lions, doves and other birds.

Nearby Neighborhoods

Street Names
Cathedral Road • Huntingdon Pike • Route 232

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