Statement of Significance (as of designation - October 6, 2008):
The Bryn Athyn Historic District comprises an exceptional and enduring essay of the American Arts and Crafts Movement embodied in three family residences of the John Pitcairn family and the Bryn Athyn Cathedral of the Swedenborgian faith, all built between 1892 and 1938. Under the Pitcairn patronage, resident artists established workshops in the medieval tradition for all arts and crafts of the building trade. The resulting architecture dominates the rural landscape of this faith-based community. The district has national significance equal to contemporaneous Arts and Crafts architecture of such noted educational family-centered institutions as George Booths Cranbrook Academy in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (NHL, 1989) and the individuality of Henry Chapman Mercers Fonthill, Moravian Tile Works, and Mercer Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania (NHL, 1985). The use of craft shops equates with the well-known utopian commercial endeavors at the Roycroft Campus in East Aurora, New York (NHL, 1986), and Gustav Stickleys Craftsman Farms in Parsippany, New Jersey (NHL, 1990). The Bryn Athyn Historic District emerged as a unique architectural composition during a fertile period of Arts and Crafts production in America, thus embodying beliefs in the virtues of nature and natural materials and personal fulfillment through the production and appreciation of handcrafted architecture and art.