James E. Waugh (1840-1895), after whom this avenue was named, married Sarah Victoria McKelden in 1858. He served in the Civil War with the 5th D.C. Infantry and the 71st Pennsylvania Infantry. He was a Washington D.C. merchant, a clerk in the Treasury Department, and later an insurance and real estate entrepreneur.
In 1887 with Edward Graves and Benjamin Charlton, he purchased 433 acres of land east of the Washington branch of the B&O Railroad, the area between what is now Lakeland and Branchville. The town became known as Charlton Heights and later Berwyn Heights. In 1941 Waugh Avenue was renamed Berwyn Road.