The township of Lower Merion is bounded by the Schuylkill River, the borough of West Conshohocken, Upper Merion Township, Delaware County, and the city of Philadelphia. The original size was reduced to the present 23.34 square miles when West Conshohocken became a borough in 1874 and Narberth in 1895.
First settlers of what was known as the Welsh Tract arrived in August 1682 aboard the ship Lyon, two months before William Penn. While still in England Penn had sold forty thousand acres to the Welsh Quakers for about ten cents an acre. They named their first settlement Merion, as many had come from Merionethshire. The Merion Friends Meetinghouse they constructed in 1695 is the oldest place of worship in continuous use in Pennsylvania. The meetinghouse and other early buildings, the Owen Roberts house in Wynnewood built in 1695 and the "1690 House" on Mill Creek Road, still stand, as do the house later named Harriton and the General Wayne Inn, both built in 1704.
Following the Welsh settlers came others of English, German, Irish, and Italian origin. The first German-Lutheran church school, erected in 1787, still stands. The site of the Lower Merion Baptist Church was donated to the congregation by Charles Thomson, secretary to the Continental Congress, in 1808. Lower Merion now has forty-seven religious institutions of various faiths actively serving the community.
Source: Montgomery County: The Second Hundred Years, Jean B. Toll & Michael J. Schwager, eds., Norristown PA, 1983
For more information about the Merion Tribute House, click here.