The Village of Abercynon
The origins of the village of Abercynon lay in its importance as a centre for traffic on the Glamorgan Canal, the Aberdare Canal and the Taff Vale Railway - all passing through the district. The presence of these important communication networks having led to its development on a large scale. Public houses and hotels such as the Junction Hotel, the Swan, the Boatman, the New Inn, the Navigation Hotel and the Traveller's Rest were established to cater for the passing trade and the employees of the canals and railways.
A combined Post Office and general store was opened and houses built alongside the canal to house the workmen. Some of the names by which the village was formally known reflect the importance of these networks to the village. These include Navigation, Y Basin and Aberdare Junction. The name Abercynon was only introduced in 1893 when a public meeting was held to find a permanent name for the village.
The sinking of the collieries in 1889 brought a great influx of people into the village leading to the development of the modern town of Abercynon. Streets began to appear along the sides of the valley in order to accommodate the ever-growing population - some of the earliest being Martin's Terrace, Station Terrace (now Ynysmeurig Road) and Catherine Street (now Herbert Street), with commercial centres being established and other buildings of significance opened, including the new Navigation School (1896) and the Workmens' Hall (1905).
The increase in population brought the followers of many religious denominations into the village, and chapels and churches were established to cater for their religious needs. These include Calfaria chapel opened by the Baptists in 1894, Bethania Chapel opened by the Welsh Independents in 1896 and St Donat's Church by the Church of England in 1908.