Milestone, Old Gulph 9
The Mile Markers of Lower Merion have stood as quiet witnesses to the development of the township around them – some since the 1740s! These milestones were first placed at the insistence of Benjamin Franklin, colonial Postmaster, to expedite mail delivery by identifying distances. Many inns were erected near the markers, and some early maps described distances from these markers to locate buildings.
Three sets of milestones were erected along three of our most important historical thoroughfares –roads radiating from Philadelphia to the Merion and Radnor Meetinghouses (the Old Lancaster Road, now Montgomery Avenue), to the Mill Creek Valley (Old Gulph Road, an extension of Old Lancaster Road), and to Lancaster (today’s Lancaster Avenue).
We have both luck and the Lower Merion Historical Society to thank for the fact that thirteen of the original fourteen milestones remain. Luck because these local landmarks are privately owned by as part of the land on which they sit, and are not currently protected by our preservation ordinance. And we have the Historical Society to thank for documenting, monitoring, and in some cases restoring them.