History of the Bryn Mawr Neighborhood in Minneapolis

The name Bryn Mawr is Welsh and actually means “tall hill.” In the 20th century, Bryn Mawr was a busy neighborhood because it was a railroad yard. It was also surrounded by homes of the railroad workers. These were modest homes back then. However, the Bryn Mawr wasn’t within the borders of Minneapolis.

The neighborhood was outside Minneapolis, but as the city continued to grow and expand, Bryn Mawr became a part of the city. It is located to the west of downtown Minneapolis and has an area of about 1.348 square miles. At least 300 acre is open space housing parks, lakes, ponds, streams and trails.

Bryn Mawr is home to about 2,600 people as of the 2010 census report. It started off as a farmland in the early 1800s and even before. By the mid 1800s, it became a zone rich in amenities or “garden suburb”. This was due to the many parks, lakes and the greenery that calls Minneapolis home.

The city is surrounded by over 650 acres of lakes, parks and trails, explaining where it derived the name “the neighborhood within a park.” The parks include: Theodore Wirth Park to the north and the west of this neighborhood, Cedar Lake Park in the south, Bryn Mawr Meadows to the east and Bassett Creek to the north.

Top 3 Historic Sites in Bryn Mawr

1. The Grand Queen Anne Victorian in Bryn Mawr

The Grand Queen Anne Victorian was constructed in 1888 at a cost of $6000 by Erick Lund. The house changed ownership from Eugene A.L, the original owner that Erick constructed the house for, to Henry Higgins in 1904.

Later, the house was owned by the Viehmann family, owners of the Viehmann Grain Company. They lived in the house from 1908 – 1931.

2. The Bryn Mawr Meadows Park

The name of the park was adopted in 1911. The land where the park sits was once owned by John Oswald, a tobacco farmer. He also used produced fruit wines on his farm. The land was sold to the park in late 1910.

Other pieces of land connecting to make the park were acquired in later years, hence the park that it is today. The first development on Bryn Mawr Meadows park was done in 1953, an-all-in-one building housing a toilet and a storage shed.

3. The Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church

The first meeting in this church was held in 1913, and by 1924 the church had acquired 61 members. Construction of the current church structure took place in 1919. The church was reconstructed in 1941, owing to increased growth of members.

More church remodels followed in later years, with the last one in 2010 that saw the inclusion of an elevator in the church building.

Although Bryn Mawr continues to maintain its stature as a small neighborhood, it has a rich history. The neighborhood oozes modernity, while maintaining its rich history and the greenery it is known for.

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Looking for something fun to do near our Minneapolis office, try paddle boarding on Lake Calhoun.