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Willow Grove

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About Willow Grove

Willow Grove is a small community in Philadelphia's northern suburbs, considered one of the edge cities of the metro area. It's made up of some residential districts,and a large portion of the community is dedicated to retail and office space. For many decades, it was known as the home of the beloved amusement park Willow Grove Park.

The History of Willow Grove

The area that's now Willow Grove was originally given as a land grant to William Penn by England's King Charles II. The land changed hands multiple times as it was broken into parcels and sold to settlers. About a day's carriage ride from Philadelphia, it quickly became a busy colonial crossroads. American and British armies both passed through the village during the Revolutionary War, and the 1777 Battle of Edge Hill took place just to the southwest.

By 1850, the village had established itself as a busy stagecoach stop.

In 1896, Willow Grove Park gave new life to the community. It was a popular amusement park that featured carnival-style rides and a large music pavilion that hosted many well-known performers. Willow Grove Park was one of the nation's top amusement parks until modern theme parks like Disneyland opened in the mid-20th century.

In 1976, the park closed to make way for a shopping mall bearing the same name.

The population of Willow Grove boomed after World War II, as it attracted many people who wanted a suburban life within easy reach of the big city.

Living in Willow Grove

Even though it's a relatively quiet suburban community, Willow Grove still offers plenty to see and do. One of the most popular local highlights is the Willow Grove Park Mall, which hosts more than 125 different retail stores. Built on the former site of the Willow Grove Park amusement park, the shopping center features a number of nods to its predecessor, such as the large carousel horses hanging from the ceiling.

Graeme Park is another attraction that highlights the community's history. The 42-acre park includes the historic Keith House and also offers space for picnic lunches, walking trails and wildlife viewing. The Wings of Freedom Museum, constructed on a former airstrip, provides up-close experiences with historical aircraft. Or if you enjoy the outdoors, the Power Line Trail is a 5-mile trail for walking or jogging, connecting several local parks and schools.

Willow Grove Schools

Willow Grove students attend schools within the Upper Moreland School District. You can also enroll your child in one of the community's private schools.

Resources for Moving to Willow Grove

If you're planning a move to Willow Grove, the following information will be useful:

  • Utilities: Utilities services may depend on where your home is located in Willow Grove, as it's part of three different townships (Upper Dublin Township, Upper Moreland Township and Abington Township).
  • Garbage and Recycling: Most of Willow Grove's residential areas receive some form of trash and recycling collection.
  • Transportation: The Willow Grove Station hosts the SEPTA Regional Rail Line and several bus routes, many of which provide easy access to Philadelphia.

Willow Grove Housing

You can find a wide variety of housing options in Willow Grove, including apartments in multi-family homes, townhouses and single-family homes with grassy yards. There are also some auction and foreclosure properties that can offer the opportunity to get a very good deal, especially if you're willing to tackle a fixer-upper.