The Bryn Athyn Historic District (Images of America)

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9780738574325: The Bryn Athyn Historic District (Images of America)

The Bryn Athyn Historic District, a National Historic Landmark, is home to some of the most remarkable architecture in the Philadelphia area. Bryn Athyn was founded in the late 19th century by members of a Christian denomination known as the New Church, and the buildings in the historic district reflect the religious faith and vision of some of the community’s earliest residents. Cairnwood, an 1895 country house in the Beaux-Arts style, was built for industrialist John Pitcairn. Cairncrest was the residence of Harold Pitcairn, one of the foremost pioneers of early American aviation. Glencairn, a magnificent castle-like mansion, was designed by Raymond Pitcairn as a home for his family and art collections and built throughout the Great Depression. Bryn Athyn Cathedral was dedicated in 1919 and dubbed a masterpiece of architectural art.

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About the Author:

Ed Gyllenhaal is on the faculty at Bryn Athyn College and has been curator of Glencairn Museum since 1987. Kirsten Hansen Gyllenhaal works as an independent historical researcher, writer, and editor. Many of the photographs in The Bryn Athyn Historic District have been reproduced from old glass negatives and are appearing in print for the first time.

Review:

Title: First book to explore Bryn Athyn Historic District buildings published
Publisher: PhillyBurbs.com
Date: 6/22/2011


The first book to explore the renowned and architecturally remarkable buildings of the Bryn Athyn Historic District has just been published.
And now, the public will have an opportunity to meet the authors who will be signing copies of their book from 8 to 11 p.m. Friday at Glencairn Museum in the borough.
"The Bryn Athyn Historic District," distributed by Arcadia Publishing, was written by Ed Gyllenhaal, a historian and Glencairn's curator, and his wife, Kirsten Hansen Gyllenhaal, a researcher and writer.
The 128-page book, with text and photographs, examines Cairnwood (completed in 1895), Bryn Athyn Cathedral (dedicated in 1919), Cairncrest (completed in 1928), and Glencairn (completed in 1939), which comprise a district the U.S. Secretary of the Interior designated a National Historic Landmark in 2008.
The district was one of only 17 sites -- and one of only two in Pennsylvania -- that year to earn the designation, which is awarded to structures significant in American history and culture.
Kirsten Hansen Gyllenhaal says she anticipates that, through the book, more people will visit the venues.
"When I lead tours at Glencairn Museum, visitors often tell me they have driven past the buildings in the historic district for years, but never knew what a treasure was waiting for them until they stepped inside," she says. "I hope our book will raise awareness about these buildings and their remarkable history so that more people will come and enjoy them."
The buildings reflect the vision and religious faith of the community's earliest residents.
Three of them are former homes of the Pitcairn family. Featured are Cairnwood at 1005 Cathedral Road home of John Pitcairn, one of America's leading industrialists and now a venue for weddings, tours and educational programs; Bryn Athyn Cathedral at 900 Cathedral Road, a medieval-style house of worship that has been called "an epoch-making masterwork of architectural art, created with joy, full of artistic conscience" by A. Kingsley Porter in "Beyond Architecture"; Cairncrest, the home of Harold F. Pitcairn, one of the foremost pioneers of early American aviation that now serves as a private office building for the General Church of the New Jerusalem, a world-wide New Church organization; and Glencairn at 1001 Cathedral Road, now the home of a museum of religious history and art and a magnificent castle-like structure built in the Romanesque style during the Great Depression by Raymond Pitcairn as a home for his family and art collections.
A large archive of photographic prints and negatives connected with the Bryn Athyn Historic District, including thousands of glass negatives, is stored in the Glencairn Museum archives. Many have been reproduced and appear in the book.
Philadelphia was one of the earliest centers of New Church activity in the United States and Bryn Athyn, a New Church community, is home to some of the most remarkable architecture in the Philadelphia area.
As the book notes, the origins of the New Church lie in 18th century Sweden with the theological writings of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), a scientist, philosopher and Christian theologian. He believed faith resided not only in belief and knowledge, but in living a useful life related to family, community, nation and church.
Swedenborg called this approach to Christianity the New Church -- a denomination he never sought to establish but which was organized by followers after his death. In 1889, the Pitcairn family of Philadelphia began purchasing enough farmland to establish a New Church community and a campus for the Academy of the New Church. In 1899, residents called their community Bryn Athyn, or "Hill of Unity."
"The Bryn Athyn Historic District" is part of the "Images of America" series by Arcadia Publishing, based in Mount Pleasant, S.C., which says it is the leading local-history publisher in the United States, with a catalog of more than 6,000 titles.
The Gyllenhaals' book is significant to area history, according to David Rowland, president of the Old York Road Historical Society.
"It is the first book to examine the fascinating history of all of the buildings within the historic district," he says. "Ed and Kirsten have done a wonderful job of setting the historical record straight with their great research and fine writing. The book is an excellent introduction to this regional treasure."
Ed Gyllenhaal has been curator of Glencairn Museum since 1987, is on the faculty of Bryn Athyn College and has written and produced two award-winning documentaries, "Cairnwood: A Home in the Country" (2003) and "Embracing the Sacred: The Story of Glencairn Museum" (2007).
Kirsten Hansen Gyllenhaal was researcher and project manager for a new edition of E. Bruce Glenn's 1971 "Bryn Athyn Cathedral: The Building of a Church" (2011), and was publishing coordinator for "Harold F. Pitcairn: Aviator, Inventor and Developer of the Autogiro" (2009). She also is a historical researcher and tour guide at Glencairn.
The Gyllenhaals were married at Bryn Athyn Cathedral in 1985.
The book-signing, open for ages 21 and older, features wine in Glencairn's cloister garden with an opportunity to meet the Gyllenhaals, who have produced a slideshow of some of the most interesting photographs in the book. Visitors also can view the exhibition "From Gutenberg to Kindle: The Art of Bible Making," and see live demonstrations on a working Gutenberg printing press replica and take a cellphone audio tour of Glencairn's first floor. They also can take an elevator ride to the top of the tower for a nighttime view.
Copies of "The Bryn Athyn Historic District" will be on sale. The book retails for $21.99, but will be sold for $20 within the historic district. The authors' royalties and a portion of the profits from books sold at Glencairn Museum go toward the care of historic photographs in the Bryn Athyn Historic District archives. New and renewing members of Glencairn Museum receive a copy of the book for free. The offer is good through May 30, 2012, and applies to individual ($30), family ($40) and frequent visitor ($80) memberships.
Admission: free, but donations are welcome; visits to the tower are $2.
Glencairn is at 1001 Cathedral Road.
Information: 267-502-2600; www.glencairnmuseum.org; www.bahistoricdistrict.org.
Ed and Kirsten Hansen Gyllenhaal were married in Bryn Athyn Cathedral in 1985. Today, they live just down the road from the church with their children -- David, Rebecca and Annika.
Ed's favorite photograph is the one featured on the book's cover which Kirsten discovered on an old glass negative in the archives. It pictures members of the Raymond Pitcairn family around 1919 posing with their nanny, the mason foreman, and eight workmen at the very top of Bryn Athyn Cathedral, beside one of the pinnacles. "To me," Ed says, "all the main themes of the book are encapsulated in that one image: religion, family, old-world craftsmanship, and people from different backgrounds working together toward a common goal."

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Book Description Arcadia Publishing (SC), United States, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Bryn Athyn Historic District, a National Historic Landmark, is home to some of the most remarkable architecture in the Philadelphia area. Bryn Athyn was founded in the late 19th century by members of a Christian denomination known as the New Church, and the buildings in the historic district reflect the religious faith and vision of some of the community s earliest residents. Cairnwood, an 1895 country house in the Beaux-Arts style, was built for industrialist John Pitcairn. Cairncrest was the residence of Harold Pitcairn, one of the foremost pioneers of early American aviation. Glencairn, a magnificent castle-like mansion, was designed by Raymond Pitcairn as a home for his family and art collections and built throughout the Great Depression. Bryn Athyn Cathedral was dedicated in 1919 and dubbed a masterpiece of architectural art. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780738574325

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