Radnor Township was founded 1682 as a land grant from William Penn. The township was part of the Welsh Tract and was named for Radnorshire in Wales. In 1717, the Welsh Friends erected a Quaker meetinghouse near what is now the intersection of Conestoga Road and Sproul Road at the geographic center of the township. The new town, "Radnorville", later known as the community of "Ithan" after nearby Ithan Creek, grew around the meetinghouse. The Welsh influence waned in the late 1700s as many left the area due to high taxation. Stone monuments were erected in various locations throughout the township in the late twentieth century to commemorate the township's Welsh heritage.
Like many of the elite communities of Philadelphia's Main Line, Radnor is a picturesque enclave in Radnor Township, Pennsylvania in Delaware County. Part of Radnor is also in Tredyffrin Township, Pennsylvania in Chester County. The unincorporated community is adjacent to Villanova and St. Davids, and is served by the SEPTA R5 and 100 regional train lines.
Once a country retreat for Philadelphia's most prominent families, the community is rich with unique and striking architectural assets, including the estates of Woodcrest (now Cabrini College), Eltonwood (now part of Eastern University), Bolingbroke, Rock Rose, and The Woods.
Villanova University, Cabrini College, the Valley Forge Military Academy and College, and Eastern University are all located within Radnor Township.
Some or all of the communities of Bryn Mawr, Garrett Hill, Rosemont, St. Davids, Villanova, Radnor and Wayne are located in Radnor Township.
Lancaster Pike, the first toll road in the United States, connected the cities of Philadelphia and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, passing through Radnor Township, opened in 1794. That road is now part of the Lincoln Highway (U.S. Route 30 in Pennsylvania). The Columbia Railroad, later part of the Pennsylvania Railroad also passed through in 1832. Thus, Radnor is one of the towns associated with the local moniker "Main Line." A separate railroad passing through Radnor Township, the Philadelphia and Western Railroad, was opened in the early twentieth century. The "Main Line" railroad facilities and a portion of the P&W facilities are still used by SEPTA (the Philadelphia area's transit authority), and the "Main Line" railroad tracks are also used by Amtrak.
In the 1880s, George W. Childs bought property in the community of Louella in the western part of Radnor Township, renamed the area Wayne, Pennsylvania (after American Revolutionary War hero Anthony Wayne) and organized one of the United States's first suburban developments.
The township has a website, touting itself as The Best Place to Live and Work.