Riverbend and its surroundings have a rich and varied history. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the site was used by the Lenape Native Americans, belonging to a confederation of the Algonquin Nation. Known as the Unami Tribe, these Lenape established their summer station in the bend of the Schuylkill River that gives Riverbend its name. The last written record of Native American activity in Riverbend’s vicinity was an encampment at Black Rocks in 1740.
The 1682 William Penn land grant of 5,000 acres to British settler Joshua Holland included Riverbend. This was eventually transferred to Welsh Quaker Morris Llewellyn, Sr., a farmer with substantial land holdings known at the time as "Indian Fields." Bryn Mawr, Gladwyne, and Bala Cynwyd reflect this period of Welsh influence. At this time, Spring Mill Road was said to lead to a ford and later to a ferry crossing the Schuylkill River; this served as a transport connection to Spring Mill Road on the Conshohocken side of the river. Although remnants of the old road are still visible on Riverbend's property, access to the river was cut off by the construction of the Schuylkill Expressway in the 1950s.
Visitors are curious about the lovely dry masonry stone walls that run through Riverbend and surrounding properties. Wall origins point back to the Civil War era in 1864, when the United States Army leased land from local farmers to establish what became known as Camp Discharge. This camp, with a sentry house still standing at the entrance of Sentry Lane, housed soldiers released from southern prison camps before the soldiers returned to civilian life. One way they employed their time was to construct the many stone walls around Riverbend.