Academy Farm & Orchard


Academy Farm & Orchard


Information and photographs related to the Academy Farm which once existed on the property belonging to the Academy of the New Church. The Academy Farm was established in 1914 when Arthur Hallam "Hal" Powell came to Bryn Athyn, PA to run a farm property owned by the Academy of the New Church. The property operated as a farm and then an orchard until 1974, when the last of the orchards were leased to Solly Brothers (located in Bucks County, PA). After Solly Brothers no longer wanted the orchard, the remaining orchards were destroyed to make room for athletic fields. The original farmhouse still stands and is used by Orchard Artworks, a local artists' cooperative. The barn houses the Bryn Athyn Thrift Shop (BATS) a very popular thrift store that helps support Bryn Athyn Church's elementary school.


Academy of the New Church Archives
Vera Powell Glenn

Collection Items

Academy Farm Buildings
In 1913, plans were made to accommodate a New Church farming family from Maryland on that farm, to enable the family’s children to attend Church schools. Sylvanus Alonso Powell, agreed to rent the farm for a one-year trial from the Academy while his…

Spring House
The springhouse stood beside the small stream, which was fed from a different spring several hundred feet to the west. The spring house was divided into a wet side and a dry side. Ironically, the dry side was closest to the little stream and the…

Academy Farmhouse
Even after Solly Brothers ended the business relationship and the Academy reclaimed most of the orchards for athletic fields and abandoned the rest, David and Edith remained. Edith passed away in 1992. David Powell died in 1999, having lived most of…

A.H. Powell, with son David in background.
A.H. Powell continued to operate the farm, joined by his son David when he became old enough. During the depression years, the Academy ended their subsidies to the farm and they ran the operation together as A.H. Powell and Son until Hal’s death. …

Academy Farmhouse 3
Academy Farmhouse from the east, with wagon/carriage shed and chicken house.
In addition to the house and barn, there were several other outbuildings on the property. One was this wagon/carriage shed (on right). The family chickens lived in the left…

David Powell's Farm Truck
David Powell bought out his father’s share of the business partnership from the estate (that went in total to his mother), took over the lease of the house and property from the Academy and shared the house with his mother until her death. David…

Aerial view of Bryn Athyn
In the end of the 19th century, a group of Philadelphians who were members of the Swedenborgian Church (the New Church) moved their church community to the “country” near the area known as Bethayres. Industrialist John Pitcairn purchased more than…

Academy Farm Buildings 2
This view of the house from the west shows (just in foreground on right) the "stone shed" where tools and small machinery were often kept. This structure still stands.

Chicken House
Benjamin Powell (son of A.H. Powell) standing in front of the chicken house.

David Powell
David S. Powell in the doorway of the Academy Farm barn.
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