Bryn Gweled HistoryIn the late 1930s, many Quakers and others were giving considerable thought to what solutions there might be to the seemingly intractable social problems of the day. One idea to come forth was that "intentional communities" might give some relief to the isolation and marginalization that plagued so many.
The first steps to create Bryn Gweled Homesteads took place in the fall of 1939 when a dozen Philadelphia families began looking for a way to move to the country together. They agreed that their primary purpose would be to establish a democratic community where people of different backgrounds and heritage could develop and maintain homesteads which would not be possible individually. More importantly, the sharing of both responsibility and pleasure cooperatively would create a unique living experience for mutual enrichment. They could work together to resolve issues for the common good, as well as share in community recreational and social activities. In May of 1940, when this tract of land was purchased, the community was incorporated as Bryn Gweled Homesteads, Inc. Bryn Gweled is Welsh, meaning “Hill of Vision.” The founders’ idea was to establish homesteads with enough land for each family to have some degree of self-sufficiency and to be able to enjoy the beauties of nature and participate in outdoor recreation. The area was surveyed and 81 lots of approximately two acres each were identified. The remaining grounds were reserved for everyone’s use as “common land.”The founders also hoped that in a community run cooperatively, the lives of the residents would be enriched by an awareness of the similarities and differences among them in both ideas and lifestyles. Bryn Gweled exists because the struggles and the efforts of so many are making this dream a reality. Bryn Gweled is more than the land, the homesteads, or the families who live here. It is a way of life based on the importance and fundamental dignity of the individual, and the necessity for individuals to work together responsibly to build a community.