Bryn Mawr is named after an estate near Dolgellau in Wales that belonged to Rowland Ellis. He was a Welsh Quaker who emigrated in 1686 to Pennsylvania from Dolgellau to escape religious persecution.
Until 1869 and the coming of the Pennsylvania Railroad's Main Line, the town, located in the old Welsh Tract, was known as Crankyville. The town was known as Humphreysville from 1800 to 1869 according to the Lower Marion Historical Society. The town was renamed by railroad agent William H. Wilson after he acquired on behalf of the railroad the 283 acres (1.15 km2) that now compose Bryn Mawr.


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